Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement
If you believe in God, you must obey God, put the truth into practice, and fulfill all your duties. Additionally, you must understand the things you should experience. If you only experience being dealt with, being disciplined, and judgment, if you are only able to enjoy God, but you are unable to feel when God is disciplining you or dealing with you, this is unacceptable. Perhaps in this instance of refinement you are able to stand your ground. This is still not enough; you must march forward. The lesson of loving God is endless, and there is never an end to it. People see believing in God as too simple, but once they gain some practical experience, they realize that belief in God is not as simple as people imagine. When God works to refine man, man suffers, his love of God becomes greater, and more of God’s might is revealed in him. The less man’s refinement, the less his love of God, and the less God’s might is revealed in him. The greater his refinement and pain and the more his torment, the deeper his true love of God will be, the more genuine his faith in God will be, and the deeper his knowledge of God will be. In your experiences you will see that those who suffer great refinement and pain, and much dealing and discipline have a deep love of God, and a more profound and penetrating knowledge of God. Those who have not experienced being dealt with have but a superficial knowledge, and can only say: “God is so good, He bestows grace upon people so that they can enjoy Him.” If people have experienced being dealt with and disciplined, then they are able to speak the true knowledge of God. So the more wondrous God’s work in man is, the more valuable and significant it is. The more impenetrable it is to you and the more incompatible it is with your notions, the more God’s work is able to conquer you, gain you, and make you perfect. The significance of God’s work is so great! If He did not refine man in this way, if He did not work according to this method, then God’s work would be ineffectual and without significance. This is the reason behind the extraordinary significance of His selection of a group of people during the last days. It was said before that God would select and gain this group. The greater the work He carries out within you, the deeper and purer your love. The greater the work of God, the more man is able to get a taste of His wisdom and the deeper is man’s knowledge of Him. During the last days, 6,000 years of God’s plan for management will come to an end. Can it possibly end just like that, so easily? Once He conquers mankind, will His work be over? Can it be so simple? People imagine that it’s so simple, but what God does is not that simple. No matter what part of God’s work it is, all is unfathomable to man. Were you able to fathom it, then God’s work would be without significance or value. The work done by God is unfathomable; it is too much at odds with your notions, and the more irreconcilable it is with your notions, the more it shows that God’s work is meaningful; were it compatible with your notions, then it would be meaningless. Today, you feel that God’s work is too wondrous, and the more wondrous it is, the more you feel that God is unfathomable, and you see how great God’s deeds are. If He only did some superficial, perfunctory work to conquer man and then that was it, then man would be incapable of beholding the significance of God’s work. Although you are receiving a little refinement now, it is of great benefit to the growth of your life—and so such hardship is of the utmost necessity to you. Today, you are receiving a little refinement, but afterward you will truly be able to behold the deeds of God, and ultimately you will say: “God’s deeds are so wondrous!” These will be the words in your heart. Having experienced God’s refinement for a while (the trial of[a] service-doers and the times of chastisement), some people ultimately said: “Believing in God is really difficult!” This “difficult” shows that God’s deeds are unfathomable, that God’s work is possessed of great significance and value, and is highly worthy of being treasured by man. If, after I have done so much work, you had not the slightest knowledge, then could My work still have value? It will make you say: “Service to God is really difficult, the deeds of God are so wondrous, God truly is wise! He’s so lovely!” If, after undergoing a period of experience, you are able to say such words, then this proves that you have gained God’s work in you. One day, when you’re abroad to spread the gospel and someone asks you: “How is your faith in God?” you will be able to say: “God’s actions are so marvelous!” As soon as they see you say this, they’ll feel that there’s something within you and that God’s actions truly are unfathomable. This is truly bearing witness. You will say that God’s work is full of wisdom, and His work in you has truly convinced you and conquered your heart. You will always love Him because He is more than worthy of mankind’s love! If you can speak to these things, you can move people’s hearts. All of this is bearing witness. If you are able to be a resounding witness, to move people to tears, that shows that you truly are one who loves God. That’s because you are able to act as a witness of love for God and God’s actions can be expressed through you. And through your expression, other people can seek out His actions, experience God, and they’ll be able to stand steady in whatever environment they find themselves in. Only bearing witness this way is genuinely bearing witness, and this is exactly what is required of you now. You should say that God’s actions are extremely valuable and worthy of being treasured by people, that God is so precious and so abundant, He can not only speak, but even more He can refine people’s hearts, bring them enjoyment, and He can gain them, conquer them, and perfect them. From your experience you will see that God is very lovable. So how much do you love God now? Can you really say these things from your heart? When you are able to express these words from the depths of your heart you will be able to bear witness. Once your experience has reached this level you will be capable of being a witness for God, and qualified for it. If you don’t reach this level in your experience, then you will still be too far off. It’s normal for people to have weaknesses in refinement, but after refinement you should be able to say: “God is so wise in His work!” If you are truly able to take in practical recognition of this, it is precious, and your experience is valuable.
What are you pursuing now? What you should be pursuing is whether you are capable of expressing the deeds of God, whether you can become an expression and a manifestation of God, and whether you are fit to be used by Him. How much work has God really done in you? How much have you seen, how much have you touched? How much have you experienced, and tasted? Whether God has tested you, dealt with you, or disciplined you—no matter what, His actions and His work have been carried out on you, but as a believer in God, as someone who is willing to pursue being perfected by Him, are you able to express God’s actions through your own practical experience? Can you live out God through this? Are you able to provide for others through your own practical experience, and expend yourself for the sake of God’s work? In order to bear witness for God’s actions you must be able to express what His actions are, and this is done through your experience, knowledge, and the suffering you have endured. Are you someone who bears witness for God’s actions? Do you have this aspiration? If you are able to bear witness to His name, and even more, His actions, as well as live out the image that He requires of His people, then you are a witness for God. How do you actually bear witness for God? Seeking and longing to live out God, expressing God’s actions through your words, allowing people to know and to see His actions—if you truly seek all of this, God will perfect you. If all you seek is to be perfected by God and be blessed in the very end, then the perspective of your faith in God is not pure. You should be pursuing how to see God’s deeds in real life, how to satisfy Him when He reveals His will to you, seeking how to bear witness to His wondrousness and wisdom, and how to demonstrate His discipline and dealing on you. All of these are things you should be trying to figure out now. If your love for God is solely so that you can share in God’s glory after He perfects you, it is still inadequate and cannot meet God’s requirements. You need to be able to bear witness to God’s actions, satisfy His demands, and experience the work He has done on people in a practical way. Whether it is pain, tears, or sadness, you must experience it all in practice. This is all so you can be a witness of God. Under the dominion of what exactly are you now suffering and seeking perfection? Is it to bear witness for God? Is it for blessings of the flesh or for future prospects? All your intentions, motivations, and personal goals to pursue must be put right and cannot be guided by your own will. If one person seeks perfection to receive blessings and to reign in power, while the other pursues perfection to satisfy God, to truly be a witness of God’s deeds, which of the two means of pursuit would you choose? If you chose the first, then you are still too far off God’s standards. I said before to let My actions be openly known across the entire universe and that I would reign as King in the universe. On the other hand, what you have been entrusted with is to go bear witness for God’s deeds, not for you to be kings and appear to the whole universe. Let the entire cosmos be filled with God’s deeds. Let everyone see them and acknowledge them. This is spoken of in relation to God Himself, and what human beings should do is to bear witness to God. How much of God do you know now? How much of God can you bear witness to? What is the purpose of God perfecting man? Once you understand God’s will, how should you show consideration toward His will? If you are willing to be perfected and are willing to bear witness for God’s deeds through what you live out, if you have this driving force, then nothing is too difficult. What people need now is confidence. If you have this driving force, then it is easy to let go of any negativity, passiveness, laziness and notions of the flesh, philosophies of life, rebellious disposition, emotions, and so forth.
While undergoing trials, it’s normal for people to be weak, or have negativity within them, or to lack clarity on God’s will or their path for practice. But in any case, you must have faith in God’s work, and not deny God, like Job. Although Job was weak and cursed the day of his own birth, he did not deny that all things in human life were bestowed by Jehovah, and that Jehovah is also the One to take it all away. No matter how he was tested, he maintained this belief. No matter what kind of refinement you undergo in your experiences from God’s words, God requires mankind’s faith. This way, what is perfected are people’s faith and aspirations. When you cannot touch or see it, it is under these circumstances that your faith is required. People’s faith is required for when something cannot be seen by the naked eye, and your faith is required for when you cannot let go of your own notions. When you are not clear on God’s work, what is required is your faith and that you take a firm stance and stand witness. When Job reached this point, God appeared to him and spoke to him. That is, it is only from within your faith that you will be able to see God, and when you have faith God will perfect you. Without faith, He cannot do this. God will bestow upon you whatever you hope to gain. If you don’t have faith, you cannot be perfected and you will be unable to see God’s actions, much less see His omnipotence. When you have faith and you can touch His actions in your practical experience, God will appear to you, and He will enlighten and guide you from within. Without that faith, God will be unable to do that. If you have lost hope in God, how will you be able to experience Him? Therefore, only when you have faith and you do not harbor doubts toward God, only when you have true faith in Him no matter what He does will He enlighten and illuminate you in your experiences, and only then will you be able to see His actions. These things are all achieved through faith, and faith is only achieved through refinement—faith cannot develop in the absence of refinement. What does faith refer to? Faith is the genuine belief and the sincere heart that humans should possess when they cannot see or touch something, when God’s work is not in line with human notions, when it is beyond human reach. This is the faith that I speak of. People are in need of faith during times of hardship and refinement, and along with faith comes refinement. These are inextricable. No matter how God works or what kind of environment you are in, you will be able to pursue life, pursue the development of God’s work in you, and pursue the truth. You will have an understanding of God’s actions and you will be able to act according to the truth. This is your genuine faith, and this shows that you have not lost hope in God. You will still seek the truth in refinement, you will be able to truly love God and will not develop doubts of Him. No matter what He does, you will still practice the truth to satisfy Him, and you will be able to deeply seek out His will and be considerate of His will. Only this is true faith in God. Before, when God said that you would reign as a king, you loved Him, and when He openly showed Himself to you, you pursued Him. But now God is hidden, you cannot see Him, and troubles have come upon you. At this time, do you lose hope in God? So at all times you must pursue life and seek to satisfy God’s will. This is called genuine faith, and it is the truest and most beautiful kind of love.
It used to be that people would all make their resolutions in front of God and say: “No matter who doesn’t love God, I must love Him.” But now, you are faced with refinement. It is not in line with your notions, so you lose faith in God. Is this genuine love? You have read many times about the deeds of Job—have you forgotten about them? True love can only take shape from within faith. You develop real love for God through your refinements, in your actual experiences you are considerate of God’s will through your faith, and through faith you forsake your own flesh and pursue life—this is what people should do. If you do this you will be able to see God’s actions, but if you lack faith you will not be able to, and you will not be able to experience His work. If you want to be used and perfected by God, you must be possessed of everything: the will to suffer, faith, endurance, obedience, as well as the ability to experience the work of God, gain a grasp on His will, and be considerate of His sorrow. Perfecting a person is not easy, and every single refinement that you experience requires your faith and love. If you want to be perfected by God, just hitting the streets is not enough, and only expending yourself for God is not enough either. You must possess many things to be able to become someone who is perfected by God. When you face sufferings you must be able to not consider the flesh and not complain against God. When God hides Himself from you, you must be able to have the faith to follow Him, to maintain your previous love without allowing it to falter or disappear. No matter what God does, you must submit to His design, and be more willing to curse your own flesh than to complain against Him. When you are faced with trials you must satisfy God in spite of any reluctance to part with something you love, or bitter weeping. Only this can be called true love and faith. No matter what your actual stature is, you must first possess the will to suffer hardship as well as true faith, and you must have the will to forsake the flesh. You should be willing to personally endure hardships and suffer losses to your personal interests in order to satisfy God’s will. You must also have a heart of regretting yourself, that you weren’t able to satisfy God in the past, and be able to regret yourself now. Not a single one of these can be lacking and God will perfect you through these things. If you lack these conditions, you cannot be perfected.
Now, people have all seen that someone who serves God should not only know how to suffer for His sake, but even more, they should understand that believing in God is for the sake of seeking to love Him. God’s use of you isn’t just to refine you or have you suffer, but it is to have you know His actions, know the true significance of human life, and particularly to have you know that serving God is not an easy task. Experiencing God is not about enjoying grace, but more about suffering because of your love for Him. Since you enjoy God’s grace, you must also enjoy His chastisement—you must experience all of these things. You can experience God’s enlightenment in you, and you can also experience Him dealing with you and His judgment. That way, you experience all sides. God has done judgment work on you, and He has also done chastisement work on you. God’s word has dealt with you, but it has also enlightened you, illuminated you. When you want to run away, God’s hand still tugs at you. All of this work is to let you know that everything about man is at the mercy of God. You may think believing in God is about suffering, or doing many things for Him, or for the peace of your flesh, or for everything to go well for you, for everything to be comfortable—but none of these are purposes people should have for believing in God. If that is what you believe, then your perspective is incorrect and you simply cannot be perfected. God’s actions, God’s righteous disposition, His wisdom, His words, and His wondrousness and unfathomableness are all things people ought to understand. Use this understanding to get rid of the personal requests as well as the individual hopes and notions in your heart. Only by eliminating these can you meet the conditions demanded by God. Only through this can you have life and satisfy God. Believing in God is for the sake of satisfying Him and for living out the disposition He requires, so that His actions and glory may be manifested through this group of unworthy people. That is the correct perspective for believing in God, and also the goal you should seek. You should have the right viewpoint of believing in God and seek to obtain God’s words. You need to eat and drink God’s words, and be able to live out the truth, and especially see His practical deeds, see His wonderful deeds throughout the entire universe, as well as the practical work He does in the flesh. Through their actual experiences, people can appreciate just how God does His work on them and what His will is toward them. All of this is to eliminate their corrupt satanic disposition. Rid yourself of the unclean and unrighteous inside of you, strip away your wrong intentions, and you can develop true faith in God. Only by having true faith can you truly love God. You can only genuinely love God on the foundation of your belief in Him. Can you achieve loving God without believing in Him? Since you believe in God, you cannot be muddle-headed about it. Some people become full of vigor as soon as they see that faith in God will bring them blessings, but lose all energy as soon as they see they have to suffer refinements. Is that believing in God? In the end, faith in God is about complete and utter obedience before Him. You believe in God but still have demands of Him, have many religious notions you cannot put down, personal interests you cannot let go of, and still seek blessings of the flesh and want God to rescue your flesh, to save your soul—these are all expressions of people with the wrong perspective. Even though people with religious beliefs have faith in God, they don’t seek dispositional change, don’t pursue knowledge of God, and only seek the interests of their flesh. Many among you have faiths that belong in the category of religious convictions. That is not true faith in God. To believe in God people must possess a heart to suffer for Him and the will to give themselves up. Unless they meet these two conditions it does not count as faith in God, and they will not be able to achieve dispositional change. Only people who genuinely seek the truth, seek knowledge of God, and pursue life are those who truly believe in God.
When trials come upon you, how will you integrate God’s work to face them? Will you be negative or will you understand God’s refinement of mankind from a positive aspect? What will you gain through your refinements? Will your love for God grow? When you are subject to refinement, will you be able to integrate the trials of Job and treat God’s work in you seriously? Will you be able to see how God tests mankind through the trials of Job? What kind of inspiration can Job’s trials bring to you? Will you be willing to stand witness for God in the midst of your refinements, or will you want to satisfy the flesh in a comfortable environment? What truly is your perspective on faith in God? Is it truly for Him, and not for the flesh? Do you actually have a target for your seeking? Are you willing to undergo refinements to be perfected by God, or would you rather be chastised and cursed by God? How do you really see the matter of bearing witness for God? What should people do in certain environments to truly be a witness for God? Since the practical God has shown so much actual work in you, why do you always have the thought of leaving? Is your belief in God for God? For most of you, it is for individual plans and pursuit of personal benefit. Very few people believe in God for God—isn’t this rebelliousness?
The work of refinement is primarily to perfect people’s faith and in the end reach a state where you want to leave but you cannot, where some people are bereft of a shred of hope but they still have their faith, where people no longer have hope in their own future, and only at this time will God’s refinement conclude. Mankind still has not reached the stage of hovering between life and death—they have not tasted death, so the refinement is not at an end. Even those who were at the step of service-doers had not been refined to the utmost, but Job had been, with nothing to rely on. People must undergo refinements to the point that they have no hope and nothing to rely on—only then are they truly refinements. During the time of the service-doers, your heart was always quiet in front of God. No matter what He did and no matter what His will for you was, you always obeyed His arrangements and at the end of the road, you understood everything. Undergoing the trials of Job is also undergoing the trials of Peter. When Job was tested he stood witness, and in the end Jehovah was revealed to him. Only after he stood witness was he worthy of seeing the face of God. Why is it said: “I hide from the land of filth but show Myself to the holy kingdom”? That means that only when you are holy and stand witness can you have the dignity to see the face of God. If you cannot stand witness for Him, you do not have the dignity to see His face. If you retreat or complain against God in the face of refinements, failing to stand witness for Him and being Satan’s laughing stock, you will not gain the appearance of God. If you are like Job, who in the midst of trials cursed his own flesh and did not complain against God, and was able to detest his own flesh without complaining or sinning through his words, that is standing witness. When you undergo refinements to a certain degree and can still be like Job, utterly obedient in front of God and without other requirements of Him or your own notions, then God will appear to you. Now God does not appear to you because you have so many of your own notions, your personal prejudices, selfish thoughts, individual requirements and fleshly interests, and you are not worthy of seeing His face. If you see God, you will measure Him through your own conceptions—then it is you nailing Him to the cross. If many things come upon you that are not in line with your notions but you are able to put them aside and know God’s actions from these things, and in the midst of refinements you reveal your heart of love for God, this is standing witness. If your home is peaceful, you enjoy comforts of the flesh, no one is persecuting you, and your brothers and sisters in the church obey you, can you display your heart of love for God? Can this refine you? It is only through refinement that your love for God can be shown, and it is only through things occurring that are not in line with your conceptions that you can be perfected. It is through many negative things, many adversities that God perfects you. It is through many of Satan’s actions, accusations, and its expression in many people that God allows you to acquire knowledge, thus perfecting you.
If you touch God’s actions in your actual experience, He will appear to you, and enlighten and guide you from within. If you are not able to obey His words, He will not be able to do this. If you lack faith, if you have lost hope in God, how will you experience? If you have true faith in Him and are without doubts, if you open your heart to Him, He will perfect you. He will enlighten you in your practical experience and in your life. In people’s practical lives, they have many personal difficulties, and on top of that, they cannot clearly see the extent of God’s work, so this requires faith. Faith only comes through refinements—it cannot develop without being refined. If you have notions that you cannot let go of and you develop doubts toward God, you will sink down into refinements, and at these times what you most need is faith.
Your many experiences of failure, of weakness, and times of negativity could be said to be God’s trials of you. This is because everything comes from God, all things and events are in His hands. Whether you fail or whether you are weak and you stumble all rests on God and is within His grasp. From God’s side, this is a trial of you, and if you cannot recognize that, it will become temptation. There are two kinds of states that people should recognize: One comes from the Holy Spirit, and the other likely comes from Satan. One state is that the Holy Spirit illuminates you and allows you to know yourself, to detest and regret yourself and to be able to have genuine love for God, to set your heart on satisfying Him. The other state is that you know yourself, but you are negative and weak. It could be said that that is God’s refinement. It could also be said that it is Satan’s temptation. If you recognize that this is God’s salvation of you and that you are now incredibly in His debt, and if from now on you try to repay Him and no longer fall into such depravity, if you put your effort into eating and drinking His words, and if you always consider yourself to be lacking, and have a heart of longing, then this is God’s trial. After the suffering has ended and you are once again moving forward, God will still lead, illuminate, enlighten, and nourish you. But if you don’t recognize it and you are negative, simply abandoning yourself to despair, if you think this way, then Satan’s temptation has come upon you. When Job underwent trials, God and Satan were betting with each other, and God allowed Satan to afflict Job, to test him. Even though it was God testing Job, it was actually Satan that came upon him. For Satan, it was tempting Job, but Job was on God’s side and if that hadn’t been the case, he would have fallen into temptation. As soon as people fall into temptation they fall into danger. Undergoing refinement can be said to be a trial from God, but if you are not in a good state it can be said to be temptation from Satan. If you are not clear about the vision, Satan will accuse you and confuse you. Before you know it, you will fall into temptation.
If you do not experience the work of God you will never be able to be perfected. In your experience, you must also enter into the little details—how do you develop your notions and so many motives? What kind of suitable practices do you have for these? If you can experience God’s work, this means that you have stature. If you only appear to have vigor, this is not true stature and you absolutely will not be able to take a stand. Only when you are able to experience and ponder God’s work at any time, at any place, you are able to leave the shepherd, live independently by relying on God, and you are able to see God’s actual actions, only then will God’s will be achieved. Right now, most people do not know how to experience it. When they encounter an issue they don’t know how to take care of it, they can’t experience God’s work, and they cannot lead a spiritual life. You must take God’s words and work into your practical life.
Sometimes He gives you a certain type of feeling—you lose your inner enjoyment, you lose God’s presence, and you are in darkness. This is a type of refinement. Whenever you do something it goes awry or you hit a wall. This is God’s discipline. You may do something and not have any particular feeling about it, and others don’t know either, but God knows. He will not let you go, and He will discipline you. The work of the Holy Spirit is very detailed. He very carefully observes people’s every word and action, their every act and move, and their every thought and idea so that people can gain internal awareness of these things. You do something once and it goes awry, you do it again and it still goes awry, and gradually you will come to understand the work of the Holy Spirit. Through many times of being disciplined, you will know what to do to be in line with God’s will and what is not in line with His will. In the end, you will have accurate responses to the Holy Spirit’s guidance from within you. Sometimes you will be rebellious and you will be rebuked by God from within. This all comes from God’s discipline. If you do not treasure God, if you slight His work, He will pay you no mind. The more seriously you take God, the more He will enlighten you. Right now, there are some people in the church who have a muddled and confused faith, and they do a lot of inappropriate things without discipline, and so the work of the Holy Spirit cannot be clearly seen in them. Some people fight, earn money, and conduct business without any discipline, and that kind of person is in even more danger. Not only do they not currently have the work of the Holy Spirit, but in the future they will be difficult to perfect. There are many people in whom the work of the Holy Spirit cannot be seen, in whom God’s discipline cannot be seen. They are those who are not clear on God’s will and who do not know His work. Those who can stand steady in the midst of refinements, who follow God no matter what He does, and at the very least are able to not leave, or achieve 0.1% of what Peter achieved are doing fine, but they have no value for use. Many people understand things quickly, have true love for God, and can exceed Peter’s level. God does this kind of work, and this kind of person can gain His discipline and enlightenment and quickly throw off anything that is not in line with God’s will. This kind of person is like gold—only this kind of person is truly valuable! If God has done many kinds of work but you are still like sand, like a stone, then you are worthless!
God’s work in the country of the great red dragon is marvelous and unfathomable. He will eliminate some people because there are all kinds of people in the church—there are those who spend the church’s money, those who cheat others, and more. If you do not clearly know the work of God you will be negative; this is because God’s work can only be seen in a minority of people. At that time it will become clear who truly loves God and who does not. Those who truly love God have the work of the Holy Spirit, those who do not truly love Him will be revealed through His work, one step at a time. They will become the objects of elimination. These people will be revealed over the course of the work of conquering—they have no value for being perfected. And those who have been perfected have been gained by God in their entirety, and are capable of loving God like Peter. Those who have been conquered do not have spontaneous love, but only passive love, and they are forced to love God. Spontaneous love is developed through understanding gained through practical experience. This love occupies a person’s heart and makes them voluntarily devoted to God; God’s words become their foundation and they are able to suffer for God. Of course these are things possessed by someone who has been perfected by God. If you only seek to be conquered, then you cannot bear witness for God; if God only achieves His goal of salvation through conquering people, then the step of service-doers would be adequate. However, conquering people is not God’s final goal—His final goal is to perfect people. So rather than say that this stage is the work of conquering, say that it is the work of perfecting and eliminating. Some people have not been fully conquered, and in the course of conquering them, a group of people will be perfected. These two pieces of work are carried out in unison. People have not departed throughout such a long period of work; this fact shows that the goal of conquering has been achieved—this is a fact of being conquered. Refinements are not for the sake of being conquered, but they are for the sake of being perfected. Without refinements, people could not be perfected. So refinements are so valuable! Today one group of people is being perfected, one group of people is being gained. The ten blessings mentioned previously were all aimed at those who have been perfected. Everything about changing their image on the earth is aimed at those who have been perfected. Those who have not been perfected cannot achieve this.
a. The original text omits “the trial of.”