How do you feel about this period of communication? Have you been able to keep up? Do you feel a bit of a path opening up inside? Do you have a path into knowing yourself, proper church life, and entering the right track of salvation? Do you have a goal or direction? You should have some ideas, because we’ve communicated quite a bit. See, we’ve communicated a bit about being an honest person, a bit about knowing yourself, a bit about how to eat and drink God’s word, and a bit about how to practice proper church life and how brothers and sisters should coordinate together in harmony. There’s been a bit on every aspect. Do you feel like you have a bit of an idea and understanding in mind regarding every aspect, unlike before, when each aspect would all feel somewhat blurry if someone asked you? Do you still have that feeling? (It now feels more and more clear.) “More and more clear” is right. But now that we’ve communicated these things, do you have a direction on which aspect to practice first? Or do you know which to exercise first in your life? It actually doesn’t matter which aspect you practice, whether it is being an honest person, or exercising obeying God, or how to get along with brothers and sisters in harmony, or how to enter normal humanity—regardless of which aspect you pursue, each aspect exists and is touched upon in everyday life, but every aspect touches upon the question of knowing yourself. You see, doesn’t being an honest person touch upon the question of knowing yourself? Only when you know that you are deceitful and dishonest will you practice being an honest person; when you know you do not obey God, you will practice obeying God or seek how to obey God. If you don’t know yourself, then it doesn’t matter if you’re trying to be an honest person or obey God—it’s just empty words. This is because man has a corrupt disposition and it’s not that easy to practice any aspect of the truth. Each aspect of the truth is being practiced amid this corrupt disposition. When you practice various aspects of the truth, the things inside your corrupt disposition or the various revelations of your corrupt disposition will surely come out, and they will obstruct you from being an honest person, obstruct you from obeying God, and obstruct you from being patient with or tolerant toward brothers and sisters. If you don’t know, don’t dissect, and don’t dig into them, relying only on your imagination to practice the truth, then this practice of the truth is not a genuine practice of the truth. Therefore, no matter which aspect of the truth you are practicing or no matter what you do, you must first know yourself and understand yourself. This knowledge and understanding of yourself is knowing your every word and action, your every move, or your own thoughts, intentions, notions, and imagination. It’s even knowing your own philosophy of life received from the world, or those toxins received from Satan, or the knowledge and culture learned from school. These are the things you have to dissect. See, after people start believing in God, when they don’t understand a lot of things, they feel that they are already living in God’s word, and that they are already obeying God and are already very much satisfying God’s intentions. That is because when nothing has happened to you, you can do whatever you’re told and you can fulfill your duty without hesitation or resistance, or if the house of God gets you to spread the gospel you can do so without any complaint and can accept the suffering, or if you are asked to run around or do whatever job, you’ll be willing to do it. These things make you feel like you are someone who obeys God and someone who is genuinely pursuing the truth. But suppose someone gets serious with you and asks: “Are you an honest person? Are you someone who truly obeys God? Are you someone who has achieved dispositional change?” As soon as this is taken seriously and the truth is used to check each person, it can be said that nobody is qualified and that nobody can genuinely practice in accordance with the truth. That is to say, the source of people’s behavior and actions and the essence and nature of the things they do all becomes condemned when matched against the truth. What is the reason? It’s because man does not know himself and is always using his own methods to believe in God and fulfill his duty. He is also using his own methods to serve God and feels full of confidence and reason, and in the end feels he has gained a lot. Before he knows it, he believes he is acting in accordance with and has completely satisfied God’s intentions, achieved God’s requirements, and is already complying with God’s will. You may feel such feelings or perhaps you have believed for several years and feel you have made some gains, but the more this is the case the more you should return before God to properly introspect: over these past few years, whether your actions before God are completely in compliance with God’s intentions, which things have resisted God and which things have satisfied God, and whether your behavior has satisfied God’s requirements or can satisfy God’s requirements. You should be dissecting these things.
Knowing yourself is: The more you feel you have done well in a certain area, the more you think you have done the right thing in a certain area, the more you think you can satisfy God’s intentions in a certain area, and the more you think you are worthy of boasting in a certain area—the more it is worth for you to know yourself in these areas and the more it is worth for you to dig deep into them to see what impurities there are and what things cannot satisfy God’s intentions. Let’s take Paul as an example. Paul was especially knowledgeable and also held an especially high position in people’s hearts. So what did he think after completing a lot of work? There was already a crown kept for him. If he could have known himself and dissected himself under these circumstances, he would not have said such things. Some of his outward behavior and good conduct, or some things he imagined to be good, had blinded his heart and covered up his true face. But people did not know this, and without God bringing this to light, they still made Paul their goal, their exemplar, regarding him as the one they longed to be like. Paul was the object of their pursuit as well as the object of their imitation. This thing about Paul gives each of us believers today a warning, which is that when we feel we have done especially well, or believe that we are especially gifted in some aspect, or feel we don’t need to change or accept being dealt with in some aspect, we should try to know more of ourselves in that particular regard. This is because you definitely would not dig into areas you already think are good, and would not pay attention to them or dissect them to see whether they contain things that resist God. Suppose you think you are especially kind-hearted—you help out brothers and sisters left and right when they have issues, you advise and encourage them when a brother’s or sister’s family encounters difficulties, you exhort here and exhort there, and you go to help out whenever something happens to anyone’s family, terrified that there are issues others won’t be able to resolve. You’re especially well-intentioned in that you do all you can to help everyone, but what is the outcome of all this helping out? You’ve held up your own life, and yet you still take pride in it, thinking: “Look, I’m so benevolent. I help whoever is in trouble. That’s what a true believer in God does.” You’re very happy with yourself and extremely satisfied with your behavior and everything you have done. You believe that all these things you have done must be able to satisfy God’s heart, because you think you’re very kind-hearted and benevolent, and you never hate or harm anyone. What do you think about this? Such a person’s natural goodness and benevolence have become his capital. These things becoming his capital is seemingly not a problem, but he takes them for granted as the truth. Everything he did was actually human goodness and he did not at all seek the truth, and everything he has done was in vain because it was all done in front of people and not before God, and moreover was not practiced in accordance with God’s requirements and in accordance with the truth. Everything he did was not practicing the truth or God’s word, and moreover was not carrying out God’s will. Rather, he was using man’s kind-heartedness and good behavior to help people. In summation, he did not seek God’s intentions in anything he did, nor did he do it in accordance with God’s requirements. Therefore, in God’s eyes, people’s good behavior is condemned and not commemorated.
Do you understand what I mean by this? Why did I have to say this? Knowing yourself is especially important for everyone. Don’t think it is that simple. It is not about knowing behavior or the way of doing things, but about knowing man’s essence and the source of his disobedience. You see, after people learn some knowledge from school, when they read God’s words after believing in God, or receive God’s word or know the truth—such knowledge, doctrines and theories will often bother them. For people who have been educated under a certain societal or cultural background, these things will also often come out to bother them when practicing the truth in their belief in God. What are Chinese people’s traditional concepts? People should be filial toward their parents as taught by Confucius. If you are not filial toward your parents then you are an unfilial son. Aren’t you all indoctrinated with this from childhood? Nearly every family indoctrinates this and schools are also indoctrinating this: how you should respect the elders and cherish the young, how you should be filial to your parents, as well as some other things. Take filial devotion as an example. After your minds have been indoctrinated with this, you will think: “Being filial to my parents is more important than anything else. If I am not filial to my parents then I am a scoundrel, a bad person, an unfilial son, and I will be condemned for not having a conscience.” Isn’t that what you think? That’s also what society and families teach. When you start believing in God, the truth and God’s words don’t mention these things. What does God’s word require as the principle for treating others? Love what God loves, hate what God hates. That is, the people loved by God who truly pursue the truth and who carry out God’s will, are the people you should love. Those who don’t carry out God’s will, hate God, disobey God, and are despised by God, are people we should despise and reject. That’s what God’s word requires. If our parents don’t believe in God, then they hate God. If they hate God, God will of course despise them. If we are asked to despise them, can we despise them? If they can resist God and can curse God, then they are surely loathed by God and cursed by God. Under these circumstances, if your parents don’t obstruct you from believing in God, or if your parents go to the extent of obstructing you from believing in God, how will you treat them? You should act in accordance with the requirement of God’s word: “Love what God loves, hate what God hates.” Further, during the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus said: “Who are My brothers, My parents and My sisters? Only those who do the will of My Father are My brothers, My sisters, and My parents.” There was already this saying in the Age of Grace, and now God’s words are even more apt: “Love what God loves, hate what God hates.” These words cut straight to the point, but people are often unable to appreciate their true meaning. If a person is cursed by God, but they seem to be quite good from the outside or they are your parents or relatives, you might find yourself unable to hate them, and your dealings with them might be even quite intimate and your relationship quite close. When you hear such words from God you get upset, and you are unable to be cruel-hearted and cannot abandon them. Why is that the case? Because you are bound by traditional concepts inside. You think if you do this you will be punished by Heaven and even incur the wrath of Heaven, be cast aside by society and condemned by public opinion. And the more realistic problem is that it will be on your conscience. Isn’t that so? This “conscience” comes from what your parents taught you from childhood or the influence and infection of the culture of society, planting such a root and way of thinking inside you so that you cannot practice God’s word and love what God loves and hate what God hates. But inside your heart you know that you should hate them and reject them, because your life comes from God and was not given by your parents. Man ought to worship God and return himself to God. Even though you say that and also think that, you just can’t come around and you just can’t put it into practice. Do you know what’s going on here? It’s that these things have deeply and tightly bound you. Satan uses these things to bind your thoughts, your mind and your heart, so that you cannot accept God’s words. These things have filled you up completely and God’s words cannot fit. Plus, if you try to practice God’s words, these things will take effect inside you and conflict with God’s words and His requirements, making you unable to break free from this rope and this bondage. You can’t do anything about it. After a period of useless struggle you will compromise. Some people will break out of the struggle, but others will struggle a little then compromise. They think that it is still traditional concepts and traditional standards of morality that matter most and God’s words can be put aside for now, because they are still living in this world and have to rely on those people. They cannot bear social public opinions or condemnation—they are unable to bear these things—so they would rather choose to sin against God and abandon the truth and God’s words, and to surrender to the bondage of social public opinions or traditional concepts. Aren’t humans pitiful? Doesn’t mankind need God’s salvation?
Some people say: “Our lives actually all come from God. If our parents don’t believe in God, then they actually have nothing to do with us.” Upon hearing this, some others would say: “What you’ve said is not right. What you’ve said goes against morality and filial love! What kind of a person are you? Your humanity is the basest.” That is why we do not dare to break through this bondage and these common customs to truly let our hearts love God and accept everything from God. We don’t have this courage, and we also don’t have this confidence, and moreover we don’t have this resolution. Therefore, when someone takes that first step and says, “My parents don’t believe in God. They are demons,” that is already very remarkable. Some would ask: “When your parents pass away will you bury them?” “Oh, of course, I still have to bury them. Even if I don’t wear traditional mourning clothes, offer incense or kowtow, I still have to bury them and attend the funeral. Otherwise I will be very hard on myself. My parents gave birth to me. I have not been filial toward them. I haven’t given them much enjoyment and they suffered so much through their lives. It’s like I’m already unfilial toward them, and if I don’t bury them or accompany them on the last leg of their journey, I shall be very hard on myself.” Where does this “hard on yourself” come from? Who gave you this thought? Isn’t it Satan? Isn’t it your parents? Isn’t it this society? Isn’t it this humanity? It’s given by this whole corrupt tradition and culture. If it weren’t for the start-to-end education of this corrupt culture, mankind would know they came from God, that their lives were given to them by God, and that their everything was all given by God. They would understand the one they should thank is God, and that if anyone, especially their parents, is kind to them, they should recognize that it comes from God. If you can let go of your parents, or can let go of your own husband, wife, and children, then you are relatively strong and righteous before God. But it is very difficult for each person to break through this layer of education, ideas and concepts, and standards of morality that comes from society and this corrupt world. It is also very difficult to take that step. In order to avoid this pain, or because they can’t seem to put it into practice, some people will evade this fact and not mention this. What does not mentioning this prove? It proves that you are not willing to comply with God’s will, unwilling to practice the truth. If you are not someone who practices the truth and satisfies God, then you are someone who betrays God, abandons God, and opposes God. Will the truth be able to enter if these things and thoughts exist inside a person? Like a container that has been filled up with dirty things, if you then want to put clean things in there, will it be easy to put in? It won’t be easy to put in. Only by digging out the dirty things bit by bit and pouring them all out and then cleaning it up will the new things be able to go in. That is why knowing yourself is especially important. Don’t forget this. If, no matter when or where, or under what environment, we can know ourselves and can dig into and dissect ourselves, and can treat this as the number one most important thing, then we will certainly gain something and gradually deepen our understanding of ourselves. At the same time, we will also practice the truth, hold more and more of the truth, and the reality of God’s word will become our lives more and more. But if you don’t have any entry in knowing yourself, even if you say you are practicing the truth it will be fake, because there are a lot of phenomena on the surface blinding you. You think your behavior is better, that you are more normal than before, more gentle than before, and more considerate than before, that you are more tolerant, more patient, and more forgiving toward others than before, so you believe you are already a very good, perfect, standard, normal person. But from God’s perspective, you are still very far off from the standard required by God. This shows that we still don’t understand when we are truly practicing the truth, and when we are not practicing the truth at all and are only changing our behavior on the outside. A lot of people now think their church life is very normal and that they can be mutually tolerant when getting along with brothers and sisters and get along especially harmoniously. They can interact with anyone and don’t get into fights or arguments, and can be patient for anything and treat things correctly. They can get along very well with brothers and sisters, their spiritual lives are especially normal, they are especially diligent when reading God’s word, and they have a heart that fears God. However, when their viewpoints on many things emerge, these viewpoints will be opposed to and contrary to God. Therefore, we need to seek the truth on every aspect of knowing ourselves and seek deeper knowledge of ourselves. After such communication, do you feel that knowing yourself is quite important? Take filial piety as an example. This is a very important thing that every person has to face. If you can understand this matter, and you can let go of it and break out of this mystery and these traditional ideas and concepts, how long do you think you would have struggled for inside your heart? How much truth do you have to be equipped with and how many things do you have to experience before you can struggle out of this and practice “Love what God loves, hate what God hates” as God said? There must be a process, and perhaps we need God to set up environments to train us and let us see clearly the original image and true face of these people, and see through the true face of every person. Or perhaps we need God to reveal that we are truly weak and corrupt in this regard and that there are indeed things that resist God and are incompatible with God in our minds. God has to do all this. But before God does this, or in circumstances where we do not have any awareness of this matter, we must be prepared and know the toxins inside us and know the things we have received through education, school and society.
What we just talked about was how to treat our parents. Isn’t this one of the most important things in one’s life? Isn’t it a major thing each person must face in their life? This is a major thing. The other thing is: Whether or not you have children, how do you treat your children? What matters in how you treat your children and your parents is not what method you use, but the point of view in your heart, and your point of view and attitude in doing these things. This is what we need to know. Everyone starts planning as soon as they have children: I want my child to receive what kind of education, attend what university, and then find a good job, and have a stable footing and status in society. That is, the first thing to have in life is knowledge, an academic degree, and then one will have status and power in society. That way, they will have living capital throughout their lives and power in the world, making it easy for them to survive and make a steady living. They won’t have to worry about food, clothing and shelter in the future. So when you have children, you will start to make plans for them. Some see their children have musical talents, so they make them learn the piano, violin, and so forth. Some see their children have literary talent, so they make them read more books, write novels, write biographies. Some even go find celebrities to nurture their children, striving to make their children follow the path they have laid out for them. There are also some who think their children are especially pretty and beautiful, and hence they plan for their children to learn dancing and performing, or to be directors or actors, or singers or movie stars. Right now, such people’s status in society and in the world is especially high, their incomes are especially high, and they are especially under the limelight. That is to say, everyone hopes that their children can one day be successful, and have a place in society and in the world, and have a stable income or have power. People all have this point of view. Is hoping that their children can all become the cream of the crop the right viewpoint to have? People all hope that their children can be successful. Everyone hopes their children can go to a famous university, then take up advanced studies, earn a degree, and afterward stand out among others and gain a firm foothold in society. People all have this viewpoint and all want their children to pursue higher education because of the saying: “The worth of other pursuits is small, the study of books excels them all.” Furthermore, competition in this modern society is especially intense. If they don’t have a university degree or have a firm foothold in society, making a living becomes a problem in the future. This is everybody’s thinking and point of view. That is, what you learn and what kind of educational background you can achieve will decide your livelihood, your future. In other words, people intend to rely on this thing to survive throughout life, and they see it as especially important. That’s why everyone sees receiving a high-level education and getting into a top university as the number one most important thing for their children. In reality, these things and education and knowledge accepted by people, these contents and ideas, all go against God and the truth, and are loathed by God and condemned by God. What is mankind’s point of view? They will not be able to survive and have a stable footing in this society and the world if they don’t have such things, and they will be inferior, poor, and base people. That is why, if someone doesn’t have knowledge, is uncultured, or does not have a high level of education in your eyes, you will despise them, look down on them, show contempt for them, and not take them seriously. If you let your children do this and nurture your children to do these things, your point of view and your motive are not right in the first place. If you nurture your children to study and receive an education, you will surely choose the professions and industries that are more lacking in people, because your aim is to give your children a good future and for them to have stable jobs, families and prospects throughout their lives. But did you think about, after they accept such education, how many toxins and how many of Satan’s ideas and theories will be instilled in them? You didn’t. Mankind is silly and doesn’t realize this. All you know is that if your children get into a top university they will be promising and bring glory to their ancestors. Until one day, your children return and you tell them about believing in God, and they show antipathy. After you tell them about the truth, they say you’re foolish and laugh at you, and scoff at what you say. At that time you will think: “Oh, sending my children to those schools to accept such education was the wrong path. I chose the wrong path, but it’s too late for regret.” For human beings, once these ideas and viewpoints are instilled, take root, and take form, they are not something that can be removed overnight, nor can they be changed overnight. You can’t turn around their situation or their thinking, and you can’t remove the things in their ideas and viewpoints. I’ve never seen a person say: When my children go to school it is to simply learn some words, so that they are able to read God’s word and understand what it means. Later, they shall believe in God properly, then learn a useful profession. If they can have a good job, they can look after themselves. It would be even better if they are good caliber people also with good humanity, and God’s household chooses them to be a leader or they can fulfill their duty in the house of God. If God’s household does not use them, then it’s enough that they can make a living out in the world and look after their family. The rest is to let them receive what comes from God in the house of God and not be polluted and influenced by society. People do not have this confidence and courage to bring their children before God. One person asks another: “How old is your child?” They answer: “Eight, already in third grade.” “If you let them believe in God properly along with you, then wouldn’t their future be settled? There’s no need to accept the education of this world.” They ponder for a while: “That won’t do. If they don’t accept education, my daughter (or son) will be finished. They won’t have any prospects in the future!” That is to say, when it comes to their children, no one is willing to bring them before God to completely accept the viewpoints and ideas that God requires, or to be the kind of person God requires. People are unwilling to do this and don’t dare to do this. They are deeply frightened that if they do so, their children won’t be able to make a living or have a future in society. What does this point of view represent? It represents and confirms that mankind has no interest, confidence and moreover no genuine faith in the truth and in God. What mankind’s heart looks up at is still this world, and in their hearts they still worship this world, thinking that people who leave this world won’t be able to survive. They think they can still have food to eat, clothes to wear and houses to live in if they leave God, but without knowledge and this society’s education, they will be finished and be out of tune with this society. And they believe that would be trouble, and that they will not be able to continue living if this world rejects and eliminates them. They do not have the confidence that if they leave this world, they will still be able to survive by just relying on God, and that God will give them a way out, a way out for them to continue living. Do you have this recognition? You don’t have this courage, right? These words are not to ask you to really practice this. It’s just to say that when you are not practicing or handling these things, such ideas and viewpoints are already formed inside and are controlling your every word and action. After they take control of you, they can determine what you do in the future with regard to these things and how you handle them. Why say such things now? It’s to let people know that these ideas and viewpoints are in opposition to God, a betrayal and rejection of God, and incompatible with the truth. Therefore, when you think you have great faith and are especially loyal toward God, and that your love for God is especially strong, you need to dig into the many things inside you that are simply against God and simply loathed by God. Is this not worthy of deep excavation? If we don’t say these things, will people not think they are already holy, that they already have a deep love for God, and that they already have a lot of faith in God? Isn’t that so? But once they are revealed, people will think: “Oh, how come we are like this? Why are there such things within us? Do these things count as resisting God? They don’t quite seem to be resisting God.” Would you say these things are the source of resistance against God?
Your every move, everything you do, the direction you’re doing it in, what your goals are—your ideas and viewpoints have actually already determined your actions and what you’re going to do. Some people have disguised their exterior quite well and don’t do so, or they conceal it quite well, package it up quite well and don’t do so. From the outside they seem quite good and you can’t see any flaws that resist God, and they don’t say anything that resists God, but the things that are deep-rooted in man’s mind are loathed and hated by God. This is what God wants to expose and what we should understand. But what do people often think? That we don’t say anything that resists God, we’re very pure and sensible, and there’s not much to nitpick about our behavior, and the fulfillment of our duty seems from the outside to be very suitable and very appropriate. In other words, there are no problems that can be nitpicked. Then what do we still need to know about ourselves? Do we still need to know ourselves? That’s why I say: The more you feel you are good in a certain area, the more it is worth for you to know yourself in that regard and the more you should get to know yourself and seek the truth. That’s the source of these words. Some people think they are very filial toward their parents, and think filial piety will surely be liked by God because “Filial piety is Heaven’s law and earth’s principle.” Being filial toward one’s parents proves they have a conscience and that they have not forgotten their origins. According to traditional notions, such a person is a good person, a filial son. As soon as we speak of filial sons, everyone would raise their thumbs and no one would curse them. Only unfilial sons get cursed, never filial sons. People like them and parents like them, so you naturally think God would certainly like them, wishfully thinking: God should like them, right? God should like them. God certainly likes them! So the more you do it, the more energized you get, the more you believe that this is a matter of course, and the more you think you are practicing the truth. Unwittingly, you will feel that you already have the capital to satisfy God and receive God’s praise, His joy, and His approval. But when God says that you are resisting Him or that you are betraying Him, or says that you are still a person who has not achieved any change, you will revolt and you will resist God, say God is wrong, and deny God’s word. Therefore, before we have dissected these things, you see that people can all say “Amen” to God’s words on the page, but in real life, no one pays attention to God’s words, no one matches every single thing in their daily lives against God’s words, and no one matches everything they do against God’s words. All they do is just speak of God’s words verbally, talk about them, and that’s it, or find a suitable place and a suitable time, take out God’s words, recite them, read and pray, communicate, and that’s it. Actually, when you do a lot of things, you are not acting in accordance with God’s words or His requirements. So what’s the use of your talking about God’s words? There’s no use at all. God does not receive any enjoyment. All you do is take God’s words out to read, but you don’t absorb them at all and moreover don’t digest them. What a lot of people say is just doctrinal words. That’s all it is. Some people would say: “How could the words of God I talk about be just doctrinal words?” If you don’t know the substance of God’s words and don’t practice them, and moreover are not communicating knowledge of God’s words from your personal experiences, then those few words of God you talk about are just words of doctrine. God’s word is the truth, that’s for sure. But it is the truth only when it becomes your life and when it changes you. If it has not changed you at all, then for you it is doctrine. Can you understand what I just said? After listening to this do you feel it has hit a sore spot? Would you say, “If I do it this way, wouldn’t it be heresy? Aren’t God’s requirements inconsiderate toward mankind?” Tell Me, are the standards of God’s requirements of mankind high? They are actually not high. People think they are high[a] because of their emotions and because their thinking and culture have become their lives and cannot be shaken. Say, is it easier to clean up a bit of dust on someone’s body or clean out a tumor inside them? Dust is easy to clean. What is dust equivalent to here? People sometimes will develop some bad practices or bad habits, which are problems with their behavior and not things inside their thinking. What are the things inside their thinking? It is—in society and even among believers of God—the philosophies they live by, the principles they live by, their method of survival, and even the foundation of their existence. You live by these things and rely on these ideas to live. These ideas control your every word and action, your life, your life goals, your life direction. These are the things worth us getting to know. When we can’t see through certain things we can delay and don’t dig into them first, and don’t force ourselves to think about them, but when there are some things we can’t get to know, we will have some awareness and God will guide us.
What I mean by communicating about these things is that knowing ourselves is especially important. Knowing ourselves is to know what things there are in our ideas and viewpoints that oppose God and are not compatible with the truth at all or don’t have the truth. Like getting to know mankind’s arrogance, self-righteousness, or their lies and deception—these are the aspects inside mankind’s corrupt disposition that are easy to know. For example, if you speak very arrogantly or your disposition is especially arrogant, you just have to be communicated with the truth a few times, or communicated with regularly, or have brothers and sisters point your situation out to you. Once it has been pointed out, you will be able to know a little about it. In addition, everyone possesses arrogance and deceitfulness—it’s just to varying degrees. However, people’s ideas and viewpoints are not easy to know. These are not as easy to know as the disposition part. These are deep-rooted things. Therefore, even when your behavior and outward conduct have achieved a little change, there are still many things against God in your thinking, notions, viewpoints, and the education of traditional culture you have received that you have not yet dug out. These things are the deep-rooted source of what causes your opposition against God. As a result, when God does something that is not compatible with your notions, or is different to the God in your imagination, you will revolt and resist. Of course, in the beginning you will think: “Eh, why would God do this? Ah, everything God does contains the truth, so I should be obedient!” But no matter how you try to obey and no matter what you tell yourself, you are unable to be obedient. Why can you not be obedient? Why can you revolt and resist? It’s because there are some things in your thinking. These ideas and viewpoints oppose God, they oppose the principles of His actions, and they oppose His essence. This part is not easy to know. Regardless of whether these things are easy to know, we are going to start communicating about this aspect now. One day something may suddenly happen to you and you feel that you have notions about God, you feel that God should not have done this, or that if it were God then He wouldn’t have done it this way, or that if it were God then He wouldn’t have said such words, you feel that this was not God’s doing, and that everything God originally did possessed the truth but only this thing does not possess the truth—but later you will think: “That’s not right. In everything I am unable to know there is truth to be sought, and I should get to know myself more. There are certain ideas and viewpoints inside me playing up and controlling me to resist this act of God and this aspect of God’s work.” The purpose of this communication now is to help to establish a foundation, so that when something against your will befalls you, or when God’s work or His word is incompatible with your notions, you will use your knowledge of this aspect to check yourself and practice accordingly.
Just then we discussed how to treat our parents. Suppose one day, you really want to be filial to your parents and you feel that you owe your parents a lot, as they suffered much throughout their lives for you and were pretty good to you. When you realize that your parents have been pretty good to you, you will discover your conscience, or you will suddenly feel that you should stay by their side and be filial to them, so they can enjoy their final years, enjoy a few more days of good life, and make them happier by living with their children and give them some comfort. You feel this should be your responsibility and obligation as a son or daughter. When you are performing this obligation, how will you feel inside if God asks something of you or gives you an unexpected trial, requesting and saying that you should not do this and that you should take your duty, faith in God, and God’s requirements as your principle, or if God asks you directly not to be filial to your parents or use such methods to be filial to and treat your parents? You will use that thing inside your ideas and viewpoints to complain about God. You will think that God acting this way is inconsiderate toward you and unable to satisfy your filial heart. You feel what you are doing is full of filial devotion, full of humanity, and full of conscience, but God would not let you act in accordance with your conscience and your filial heart. At that time, you will revolt and dislike God, loathe the truth, and reject the truth. The purpose of saying all this is to let people understand that the source and substance of mankind’s disobedient nature mainly come from their ideas and viewpoints. These ideas and viewpoints come from the education people receive from society, family, and their various cultures. These things infect people at home, influence them in society, and educate them at school, taking root inside them bit by bit. Once these things are deeply rooted in people, they will rely on these things to survive in society and among other people. Before they know it, they will think it is natural to do this and that they should do this. They will think doing this is blameless, without reproach, and must be done for them to be called a real human being. If they don’t do this, they will feel they are devoid of conscience, betraying human nature, lacking in humanity, and they won’t be able to accept it. Isn’t the distance between mankind’s ideas and viewpoints and the truth especially big? They are two different directions. What mankind wants in their own ideas and viewpoints, mankind’s behavior, and the goals they are chasing are directed at the world, at the things of this mankind, at the fleshly things. What God requires of mankind is directed at the standard of a normal human nature and directed at God. They have two different directions and two different goals. Acting in accordance with God’s goals and requirements will make your humanity more and more normal. But if you act in accordance with your ideas and viewpoints, when you feel you have already done very well, and that you are becoming more and more accomplished in this society, in this world, and in every group of people, when you feel you are living more and more freely, and when you feel more and more that you are already an unequivocal member of humanity—by that time you would have already completely violated the truth.
Every person living in the real world has struggled through this experience. It does not matter if you are cultured. For instance, if a person has no education, will they have fewer things in their ideas and viewpoints? They won’t. What do traditional Chinese women believe in particular? Women must assist their husbands and bring up their children, be an understanding wife and loving mother. What being an understanding wife and loving mother means is that they must expend and devote their whole lives to their husbands and children. Furthermore, every woman believes that they should do this, and if they don’t they are not a good woman and are betraying conscience and the standards of morality. There are even some who can’t do it well or do it up to their own standards who won’t be able to live with themselves and will think they have failed their children and their husbands. Their husbands’ three meals a day, cleaning up here and there, and their duty at home—all of these have to be done well and especially well. This is of course society’s standard of an understanding wife and loving mother. After you believe in God and if you are asked to fulfill your duty, will there be a clash between your duty and you being an understanding wife and loving mother or being a model mother or a standard woman? If you want to be an understanding wife and loving mother, you won’t be able to devote all of your time to fulfilling your duty. Or if being an understanding wife and loving mother conflicts with fulfilling your duty, how will you choose then? If you choose to fulfill your duty properly and be responsible to the house of God, or do whatever you can and be completely loyal to God, you must let go of being an understanding wife and loving mother. What will you think then? What kind of fluctuations will there be in your thoughts? Won’t you really think you owe a debt to your own children? Where does this sense of debt and unease come from? Will you feel uneasy when you don’t fulfill your duty as a created being properly? You are not uneasy, because this thing is not in your ideas and viewpoints. Therefore, when you don’t fulfill your duty properly, you don’t feel any blame because this positive thing is not equipped in your conscience. What are you equipped with then? Being an understanding wife and loving mother. If you are not an understanding wife and loving mother then you are not a good or decent woman. Isn’t that the standard? This standard binds you, causing you to carry this thing when you are fulfilling your duty and believing in God. If being an understanding wife and loving mother conflicts with fulfilling your duty, or when both have to be performed at the same time, you can grudgingly choose to fulfill your duty or be loyal to God, but you will feel uneasy inside and feel more blame. When you are not fulfilling your duty you will stay at home to serve your children or husband, trying more to make it up to them even if your physical body has to suffer more. You being able to do this is driven by a way of thinking. But before God, have we fulfilled our responsibilities and obligations or our duty? Do we feel any blame? Isn’t there no blame? When we perform our duty in a perfunctory manner, or when we don’t even want to fulfill our duty, do we feel any blame or accusation? There is not a shred of accusation. This is because this thing is not inside mankind’s corrupt disposition and their humanity. So even though you can fulfill a bit of your duty, you are actually still very far off from the standards of the truth and the standards of God. What will you do when you recognize these things? Will you still be arrogant? What is the meaning of God’s words “The Almighty is the source of man’s life” in the last few pieces of His utterances? It is to let all of us recognize: Our lives and souls all come from God. They come not from our parents, and moreover not from this mankind or from this society or nature, but from God. Our parents’ lives were also not given by their parents, but given by God. Our being able to believe in God is a chance from God. It’s preordained by God and it is also God’s grace. It’s just that our bodies of flesh relied on their bodies of flesh to be born. Our children relied on our bodies of flesh to be born, but what is their own fate? Who controls their fate? It is controlled by God. That is why there is no need for you to be obligated or responsible to anyone, but you just need to fulfill your duty as a created being toward God. This is what mankind should do above all. This is the number one thing and the most important thing in their lives that mankind should complete. If you do not fulfill your duty properly, then you are not a true created being. Other people might see you as an understanding wife and loving mother, a filial son or daughter, a good citizen of society, a very good housewife, husband or child. But before God, you are a person who disobeys God, a person who does not fulfill their own obligations or duty at all. You are a person who has accepted God’s entrustment but has not completed His entrustment. Tell Me, would you carry weight before God? Such a person is completely worthless before God. No matter how well we do in front of other people, no matter how much praise and approval we receive from them, no matter how high our moral standards are in society, and no matter how high or well-formed our ideas and concepts and the things we learned from society, or how well we have complied with them, it does not represent that we are practicing the truth, and moreover it does not represent that we are worshiping God or that we are a created being with a normal humanity. It only represents that we are someone without God in our hearts at all and that we are someone who does not worship God. Is such a person the object of salvation? How far off is such a person from God’s standards? It’s too far to measure. Isn’t man’s stature right now and the things they have in their hearts too pitiful? Is it worth boasting about? Is it worth being proud of? Every single thing that exists in our hearts opposes God. This includes the things we think are good, even things we already think are positive. We have listed these things as the truth, as normal humanity, and as positive things, but from God’s perspective, these are things that He loathes. Tell Me, how far off are we from the truth that God speaks of? This is immeasurable. Hence, we must know ourselves, from our ideas and viewpoints and our actions to the culture and education we have received. Each thing is worth digging deep into and deeply dissecting. Some are from social environments, some are from families, some are from schools, and some are from books, while some are also from our imaginations and notions. These things are the most frightening because they bind and control our words and actions, control our minds, and control our motives, intentions and goals of doing things. If we don’t dig these things out, we will never fully accept God’s words into us, and we will never accept God’s requirements without reservation and put them into practice. As long as there are your own ideas and viewpoints and things you think are right inside you, you will never fully and unreservedly accept God’s words and practice them in their original form. You will surely process them in your heart and then practice them. You do things in this way and you also help other people in this way, adding a bit of mankind’s things and a bit of God’s things. Then you think: Okay, I’ve practiced the truth. I understand, I have everything. Isn’t mankind’s situation pitiful? Isn’t it scary? These things cannot be explained thoroughly or clearly in just a word or two. Of course, there are more things in life, like those toxins we summed up before—one hundred of them—and everyone has seen them and understood the words. But how do you check them against yourself? How do you practice? Are you affected by the toxins in these aspects too? Do you also think that way? Do you also rely on these principles when you do things? This requires you to dig into and check against your own experiences. Suppose we merely read a bit about these toxins, or just glance over them, or just think about them a little, and after a while put them aside. We just read God’s words without a basis and put into our minds whatever a section of God’s words says, and while practicing we just abide by the letters and doctrines on the page. And we think, “That’s all, I have practiced the truth. It’s that easy!” Is it that easy? Is it so simple? Mankind has life and is a living thing. Things have taken root deep in their minds, and when they act, these things will surely come out because they have become people’s lives. That is to say, whenever you do something, you will have a viewpoint and a principle controlling how you are going to do it and what direction you’re doing it in. When you act, you will know whether you really have these things. Of course, as you sit here now and search your own ideas and viewpoints, you will think you don’t seem to have anything that opposes God. Everything is pretty good, and you’re also very honest, faithful, and loyal. You also willingly perform your duty and do well in expending and abandoning things for God. Not bad! Everything is not bad! But if God is truly being earnest with you, personally asks you to do something or looks at how you treat it when something He does befalls you, your ideas and viewpoints will pour out like water after the floodgates have been opened. You won’t be able to control them and you won’t be able to cover them. You can’t help yourself. Even if you hate them or fight them, they will still pour out, and what pours out are all things that resist God. You say: “How come I can’t help myself? Why am I resisting God when I don’t want to? I don’t want to judge God and I don’t want to have notions about this thing God did, so how come I still have these notions?” At this time, you should get to know yourself. Know what things you have that are resisting God, and what things you have that are opposing or acting contrary to the work God has done and the work God is currently doing. What do you think about knowing things in this way? You can see that when we’re at school, we all receive this kind of education that teaches us where humans come from. Don’t we all know this? Evolved from apes. When did you start to realize that you were not evolved from apes? From when you started believing in God. Are you really certain that you did not evolve from apes after believing in God? Then where are you from? You can’t be certain and you can’t believe in this fact, that is, you have doubts about this fact recorded in the Bible, and you adopt a wait-and-see attitude. Isn’t that the case? You doubt this statement, you think it’s a theory, a doctrine, and you don’t believe it’s a fact. Man was created by God, but some people have doubts in their hearts: Man was created by God, but how did God create man? What did God use to create man? He used dust to form man. But how did He form man? How come I’ve never seen it? If I haven’t seen it then I don’t believe it. Since God says so, I’ll just temporarily believe it for now. They are actually not sure about it in their hearts. When God said man was created by God, that man came from God, and that man’s life was given by God—see how it progresses step by step? At the start, God said man was created by God, that man came from God, and that man’s sins were forgiven, and then at this stage God revealed even deeper mysteries, saying that mankind goes through reincarnation and rebirth, and that man’s life and soul were given by God and from God. This is the truth. But whenever you see this aspect of the truth, as you don’t believe in these words, you will use your ideas and viewpoints to measure these words: “Since mankind did not evolve from apes and came from God, then how did they come from God? How does God give life to mankind? There are so many people among mankind—will God be able to handle it?” See? Isn’t this mankind using their brains and viewpoints and the power within the scope of their capabilities to measure God? They think that, at most, a person just has three heads and six arms, so how great could God’s capabilities possibly be? Capabilities greater than that? Why would He otherwise be called “God”? If you don’t know, then you will think God can’t possibly have that power or have that wisdom and authority to create man, to be able to just blow a breath or say a word and bring mankind into existence. You don’t believe this is a fact and you don’t believe this is the truth. When you doubt this, you will resist these words of God. You say you don’t believe it, but actually, there’s a condition and attitude of resistance inside you. As soon as God says these words, you will be unwilling to listen, you will feel antipathy inside your heart, and you will not say “Amen,” because there are things and stories inside you. If you don’t believe it, you will not say “Amen” to these words of God. But in reality, we don’t need to look into just how God created man, when man was created by God, or who saw it—we only believe it if someone saw it and refuse to believe it if no one saw it or bears witness to it. That’s not the source. What is the source? God has now said so many words. God has, from beginning to end, been performing His work of managing man and His work of saving man among mankind. From beginning to end, there is only one God working, speaking, teaching and guiding mankind. This God exists, and now we have already seen Him face to face, heard Him speak, experienced His work, and eaten and drunk His words, accepting His words into us to become life. And now these words are also changing us. This God indeed exists, and therefore, we have reasons to and should believe that everything God says is true and we should believe, as God said, the fact that God created mankind, and the fact that God initially created Adam and Eve. Since you believe this God exists and you have now come before Him, then do you still need to confirm that the work of Jehovah is the work of this God? If no one can confirm it and no one saw it, will you not believe it? Or regarding the work from the Age of Grace, do you not believe Jesus was God’s incarnation because you’ve never seen Jesus? If you did not personally see this present God speak, work or incarnated in the flesh, then would you not believe it? If you didn’t see these things or there are no witnesses to confirm these things, would you also not believe them? This is because of the false viewpoint people have inside them. It is a mistake so many people all make. They have to personally see everything, and if they don’t, they won’t believe it, but by the time you see it, everything is too late. Now that we’ve seen these words of God and heard His voice, it is enough to make us keep believing and keep walking on, and make us believe everything and every word and all the work that comes from God. There is no need for us to keep looking into things. Isn’t that the kind of rationality that people should have? No one was there to witness when God created mankind, but now God has become flesh to speak and save us, concretely performing His work, walking among the churches and working among mankind. Haven’t a lot of people seen this? Not everyone is able to see it, but we still become His believers. Then why do you believe in Him? Don’t you only believe in Him because you feel this is the true way and the work of God? Then can you still say: “In this stage of God’s work, we heard Him speak, and also felt and saw God’s words. It’s true that these words came from God. But regarding the work of Jesus in being nailed to the cross, we didn’t touch His nail marks so I don’t believe He was crucified”? Or can you say: “Regarding the work of Jehovah God and the laws He enacted during the Age of Law, I did not hear them. Only Moses heard them and wrote the Five Books of Moses, but I don’t know how he wrote them”? What is the mistake made by this kind of people? It’s the same mistake as what the Israelites made back then when they said, “Has Jehovah God spoken only by Moses? Has He not spoken also by us?” or “We won’t listen if God speaks by Moses, we must hear it personally from Jehovah God.” Or it’s like when people said during the Age of Grace that they did not believe because they did not personally see with their own eyes Jesus being crucified or risen from the dead. An apostle named Thomas insisted on touching Jesus’ nail marks. What did the Lord Jesus say to him? (“Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”) Why “blessed”? Did he really see nothing? When people saw a lot of facts already proving that Jesus is God, they should then be able to believe it. Jesus did not need to perform more signs and wonders or speak more words, and people did not need to feel His nail marks to confirm that He was nailed to the cross before they believed He is God. The mistake committed by these people was the same as that of Thomas. A portion of such people do indeed exist in the church. What do they have to see to believe in God’s incarnation? “I will only believe after the incarnate flesh has left, risen to the third heaven, and I have seen His true face and His real person. I won’t believe in Him because of the words He says or when He is in the flesh.” By the time you believe, everything will be too late, and that’s the time you will be condemned by God. You see, the Lord Jesus said: “Thomas, you are a person of little faith. Those who believe only after they have seen are not as blessed as those who believe when they have not seen.” These words imply he has already been condemned: You have followed Me for all this time and yet you do not believe. What kind of a believer are you? This is not about being blessed or not blessed. This is saying that you won’t receive if you don’t believe; only by believing will you receive. You can only believe anything if God personally shows you, lets you see it, and convinces you? As a human being, what qualifications do we have to ask God to personally appear to us? What qualifications do we have to make God personally speak to us corrupt humans? And what qualifications do we have to need God to explain everything clearly to us before we believe? None. Therefore, if you are rational, you will believe after seeing these words God said. If you truly have faith, it does not matter what God does or what God says. Instead, your heart will believe 100% that it was said by God or done by God upon seeing that these words are the truth, and you will already be prepared to follow God to the end, without any doubt. The people who are full of doubts are too deceitful. They just can’t believe. They’re always trying to understand these mysteries and will only believe after they thoroughly understand them. Their precondition to believing in God is: How did God become flesh? When did He come? How long does He stay before He has to leave? Where does He go after He leaves? What is the process of Him leaving? How does the Spirit of God in the flesh work and how does the Spirit leave? … They want to understand some mysteries. They’re here to investigate mysteries, not to seek the truth. They think they won’t be able to believe in God if they don’t understand these mysteries. It’s as though they are obstructed from believing in God and they just cannot believe in Him. The viewpoint of such a person is a problem. Once they want to research mysteries, they won’t bother paying attention to the truth or heeding God’s words. Do you think such a person knows themselves? It is not easy for them to know themselves. If you try to tell them, they will oppose what you say. They will think you are foolish and they are smart. They think: “You’re so foolish. He says a couple of words and you believe in Him? He hasn’t even done anything and you haven’t seen anything, and yet you’ve confirmed that He is God? How can you be so stupid? You should be like me. You should be as smart as me. You are too foolish, as gullible as a three-year-old child, tricked by just a couple of pieces of candy. I am a grown-up. I have societal experience and won’t be tricked by any little thing.” They are full of themselves because of their experience and wit. Is such a person good? What’s wrong with them? We are not determining their end. At present we cannot determine how someone will be in the future or what changes may happen in the middle. At the very least, these ideas and viewpoints will delay their growth in life. These ideas and viewpoints are obstructing them and will affect their knowledge of and entry into the truth. That’s why such a situation is very dangerous. We are not condemning any specific type of people. Rather, we are talking about this situation, what will happen to these people, or what their essence or situation is. Of course, it’s possible that people who don’t understand much now will have such thoughts, and will dig into some words, some mysteries, some little things in nooks and crannies, and some problems people don’t notice. But perhaps one day, God will enlighten them, or brothers and sisters will often help them, and they might turn around. When the day they turn around comes, they will think that their old viewpoints were too absurd and too arrogant. They will think they saw themselves as too great before God, and they will feel ashamed.
a. The original text reads “It is.”