Chapter 42. Only by Seeking the Truth Can You Obtain Changes in Your Disposition
Only by seeking the truth can you obtain changes in your disposition: This is something you must understand and understand thoroughly. If you do not understand the truth enough, you will easily slip up and go astray. To seek to grow in life you must seek the truth in everything. No matter what issue may arise, you must seek to face it in a way that conforms to the truth, because if you face it in a way that is not entirely pure, then you are going against the truth. Whatever you do, you must always consider its value. You can do those things that have meaning and must not do those things that have no meaning. With regard to things that you can either do or not do, if it can be let go, then let it go. Or if you do these things for some time and should then let them go, then let them go quickly, making a swift decision. This is the principle you should follow when doing anything. Some people raise this question: “Why is seeking the truth and putting the truth into practice so very hard? It’s like rowing a boat against the current; if you stop rowing forward then you drift back again. Why is doing evil things or things that mean nothing like flowing in a boat downstream? It is actually so easily done. What is this all about?” This is because man’s nature is that of betraying God and because it is a reactionary force that has taken up a leading role within man. A nature that rebels against God can of course easily do things that betray God, and positive things are of course difficult for it to do. This is decided entirely by the quality of that nature. When you really understand the truth and you begin to love the truth from within yourself, you become better disposed to do things that conform to the truth and you become energized. It becomes normal, to the point where you can do so in an easy and happy way, and you feel that doing anything negative requires great effort. This is because you have the truth and it has taken a leading role in your heart. If you really understand the truth about the life of man, if you understand the truth of what kind of person to be, how to be an aboveboard and straightforward person, an honest person, how to be someone who bears witness for God and serves Him, then you can never again do evil things that defy God or play the role of an antichrist or a false shepherd. Even if someone were to entice you, you still couldn’t do it; even if they forced you, you still couldn’t act that way. This is because you have the truth inside you, you are able to loathe evil, to feel disgust within for negative things, and it would be difficult to do these things, because your disposition has changed. If you really have the truth within you, the path you walk will naturally be the correct path. Without the truth, it is easy to do evil and you would not be able to help yourself. For example, if you have arrogance and conceit inside you, it will be impossible to not defy God, but instead you would be made to defy Him. You wouldn’t do it on purpose; you would do it under the domination of your arrogant and conceited nature. Your arrogance and conceit would make you look down on God, it would make you see God as being of no account, it would make you exalt yourself, it would make you constantly put yourself on display and finally it would make you sit in God’s place and bear witness for yourself. In the end you would make your own ideas, your own thinking and your own conceptions into truths to be worshiped. See how much evil is done by people under the dominance of their arrogant and conceited nature! To resolve their doing of evil, one must first resolve the problem of their nature. Without a change in disposition, it is not possible to fundamentally resolve this problem. When you have some understanding of God, when you can see man’s corruption and recognize the arrogance and conceit that is contemptible and ugly, you will then feel disgusted, sickened and distressed. You will be able to consciously do some things to satisfy God and in doing this will feel gratification. You will be able to consciously bear witness for God and in doing this will feel enjoyment. You will consciously unmask yourself and expose your own ugliness, and by doing this you will feel well within yourself and your state of mind will be bettered. So the first step to seeking a change in your disposition is to seek to understand God’s word and to enter into the truth. Only by understanding the truth can you have discernment; only with discernment can you understand things thoroughly; only by understanding things thoroughly can you forsake the flesh and, step by step, you will walk the right track of belief in God. This is connected with how resolute man is when seeking the truth. If someone has a true resolution, after six months or a year they will begin to enter onto the right track, they will see results within three or five years, and they will feel that they are making progress in life. If you believe in God but do not seek the truth, then you can believe for 10 years and not experience any change, in the end saying, “Believing in God is like this, there is no great meaning to it; it is pretty much the same as my life in the world before. There is no interest in living.” This really shows that without the truth, life is empty. You may be able to speak some words of doctrine, but you will still feel uncomforted and unsure. If you have some understanding about God, if you know how to live a meaningful life, if you can do some things that satisfy God, then you will feel that this is real life, that only by living in this way does your life have meaning, that one must live in this way to be able to satisfy God a little and to feel gratified. If you can consciously satisfy God, consciously put the truth into practice, consciously forsake yourself, abandon your own ideas, and be obedient and considerate toward God’s will; if you are able to do all these things consciously then this is to accurately put the truth into practice, to truly put the truth into practice and is not like your previous reliance on your imagination and your keeping of doctrines and rules. In actual fact, it is most tiring doing anything when you don’t understand the truth, most tiring to keep doctrines and rules, most tiring to have no goals and to do things blindly. Only with the truth can you be free—this is no lie—and with the truth you can do things in an easy and happy way. People who possess this kind of state are those who have the truth, they are those who have changed their dispositions.
During the process of seeking to enter, every matter must be investigated and compared against God’s word and compared against the truth; they must be thoroughly mulled over to know how to do them in a way that is entirely in conformity with God’s will. Things that arise from your self-will can then be abandoned. You will know how to do things in conformity with God’s will and will then go and do them, as though everything is taking its natural course, and it will feel exceedingly easy. People who have the truth do things in this way. You can then really show others that you have genuinely changed your disposition, others will see that you surely possess some good deeds, and that you do things in a principled way, and do everything right. They will see that this is someone who understands the truth, who certainly has some human likeness and, sure enough, the word of God has reaped results with them. After someone has really understood the truth, they can then discern their own states, understand thoroughly all complicated matters and know how they should do things the right way. If you don’t understand the truth, you will not be able to discern your own states. You will want to rebel against yourself but will not know how to do this or what you are rebelling against; you will want to abandon your self-will but if you think that your self-will conforms to the truth, then how can you abandon it? You perhaps may even think that it is enlightened by the Holy Spirit and so will not abandon it no matter what. Therefore, when someone has no truth, it is very easy for them to think that those things that arise from their own wills, as well as the impurity of man, the good intentions of man, the blind love of man and the conduct of man, are all correct, that they conform to the truth—how then can you rebel against them? If you don’t understand the truth, nor know what putting the truth into practice is, if your eyes are clouded and you don’t know which way to turn so can only do things based on what you think is right, then you will do some things that will be deviated or erroneous, some that will keep rules, some that will arise from enthusiasm and there will be some that have arisen from Satan and that will bring forth disturbances. People who do not have the truth do things in this way: A little to the left, then a little to the right, correct one minute then deviating the next, with no accuracy at all. Those who do not have the truth regard things all wrongly, so how can they then properly handle matters? How can they resolve any problem? Understanding God’s word is not an easy thing to do, and the truth that people are capable of understanding also has its limits. Moreover, people can believe in God for their entire lives, yet their understanding of His word will still be limited. Even those who are relatively experienced can at best avoid doing those things that obviously defy God, avoid those things that are obviously evil, and avoid those things that do not benefit anyone. It is not possible for them to reach a state that contains no mixture of their own self-will. This is because people think normal thoughts, some of people’s thinking conforms to God’s word and belongs to an aspect of understanding that cannot be classified as self-will. But the key is to discern the things of self-will that go against God’s word, against the truth and against the enlightenment by the Holy Spirit. You must therefore expend effort in understanding God’s word and only by understanding the truth can you have discernment.
In seeking to change your disposition, you must reach a certain stage in your understanding of yourself whereby you can discover the poisons that lie within your own nature. You must know what defying God is and what rebelling against God is, and know how to do things in conformity with the truth in all matters. You must also understand somewhat of God’s will and His requirements of man. You must be possessed of conscience and reason before God, and do not boast or cheat God. This amounts to a change in your disposition. Those who have changed their dispositions have a God-fearing heart. They are less likely to rebel against God and they do less things that defy God. In the doing of their duties God doesn’t need to always be worrying about them and the Holy Spirit doesn’t always need to do disciplining work on them. They can basically obey God and the truth is present in their views on things—this amounts to being compatible with God. Suppose someone hands over some work to you, work that doesn’t need anyone to manage you. You just complete this work in accordance with God’s word and through prayer and, during this work, you are capable of not being arrogant and conceited, not doing anything that defies God, not restraining anyone else and are able to help others with compassion. You can patiently pass on your experience in fellowship to others so that everybody can obtain provision, obtain the benefit, and can enter onto the right track of believing in God. Furthermore, during this work you do not seek your own status or interests, not take anything for yourself that you did not earn, not speak up for yourself, and no matter how anyone treats you, you treat them all properly. You would then be someone with a relatively good stature. It is not a simple matter for someone to take up some work and bring everybody into the reality of God’s word. There are many who have great gifts who fall down and crumble. Without the truth people absolutely cannot be relied upon, even less so if they have not changed their dispositions. What is your stature now? How should you treat someone who flatters you? How should you treat someone who has opinions of you, or looks critically at you? Are you able to promote and choose the right people without relying on your emotions? Are you able to really do these things with your stature as it is now? If the majority of people see what you do as being good and appropriate, then that’s fine, and you are fit to be used. If you worked somewhere for several years and the majority of people thought poorly of you, then this shows that you are not qualified and not fit for God to use. It is not possible to reach a stage where you are fit for God to use if you do not have the truth.
In seeking life, you must pay attention to two basic things: 1) to understand the truth within God’s word, and 2) to understand yourself within God’s word. These two things are most fundamental. There is no life or truth outside of God’s word. If you do not seek the truth within God’s word, where then can you go to seek it? Where is there truth in the world? Are not all the books published in the world the theories of the devil Satan? Where is there any truth to speak of? The most important things in understanding the truth in God’s word include the understanding of God within His word, the understanding of human life within His word and the understanding of all aspects of the truth within His word. For example, the true understanding of oneself and discovering the meaning of man’s existence within God’s word…. All truth is within God’s word. You cannot enter into the truth unless it is done through the word of God. The main outcome you must reach is to know what a real understanding of God’s word is. With a real understanding of God’s word you can then understand the truth: This is the most fundamental thing. Some people work and preach sermons and, although on the surface it looks as though they are fellowshiping about God’s word, all they are saying is the literal meaning of God’s word, with the essence of the word left totally unspoken. Their sermons are like teaching from a language textbook, arranged item by item, aspect by aspect, and when they are done everyone sings their praises, saying: “Oh, this preacher is so practical. They preached so well and in such detail.” After they are done preaching, they tell others to put together what has been preached and to hand it out to everybody. By doing this, they deceive others and all that they preach are fallacies. On the surface, it looks as though they are preaching only God’s word and that their words conform to the truth. But if you discern more carefully, you will see that all they say are the words of doctrine and are just false reasoning. Their words also contain some imaginings, conceptions and there are some words that delineate God. Does not preaching in this way interrupt God’s work? It is a way of serving that defies God. A reasonable person must set limits on the scope of their own speech—which aspects of speech they should say and which pertain to the doing of their duties, and which aspects of speech can only be spoken by God. Man must not stand and speak in God’s place. How God works, no one can fathom, so how then can anyone define God? Even less is man qualified to define God and this must be understood to avoid doing anything unreasonable. As someone with reason, you must know your place, know the right things to say and, though you may have come to know something, you know not to say anything you shouldn’t say. Even if God told you something before, you do not repeat it to others; what use would it serve to say it? Would it not be arrogant to always wish to get above your station just by talking? If you don’t understand matters of God then you don’t understand them. Don’t pretend to understand or be a know-it-all. It’s too repulsive! You always want to stand in God’s place to show that you understand everything and to hog the limelight. You also wish to speak more and do more for God. Everyone has this ambition and it is something most shameful. Now foreigners are coming to seek the true way, so how should you bear witness for God? If you have no reason, are arrogant and conceited and do things blindly, aren’t you then defying God and blaspheming against Him? Is this doing your duty? Even less is this bearing witness for God. This is actually you revealing your image of Satan. Those who have truly been conquered must learn how to speak sincerely and bear some actual witness. Sharing your life experiences is better than anything else. Boasting and talking of great theories—what use is this? Having experienced several years of God’s work, man is still not well-behaved, and man is not worthy to bear witness for God, in accordance with their identity. Unreasonable and arrogant, man still wishes to bear witness for God. Are you not really shaming and blaspheming against God? You do not understand God. Moreover, your disposition still defies God. So is there not a whiff of repugnance about your bearing witness? Is there not something noisome about it? So man is not worthy of bearing witness for God. If someone says: “Could you testify for us the work of God on the China mainland?” you say: “I have experienced several years of God’s work, so I think we are qualified to bear witness for God.” Isn’t this a problem? Once again this is unreasonable! Man is not worthy to bear witness for God. You should just say: “We are not worthy to bear witness for God. Yet God has saved us and graced us. We have obtained some grace and have experienced some of God’s work, so we can engage in fellowship, but we cannot really consider bearing witness for God. Speaking of bearing witness for God, we’re not qualified; we can only speak of our own experiences.” It is fine for you to fellowship how you yourself have experienced being conquered by God, how corrupted you were at that time, how arrogant, what kind of outcome resulted in the end after being conquered, and what kind of resolution you had in the end. Actually, this is the way of bearing witness that God requires man to follow, and this way is most in conformity with God’s will. If you say you wish to bear witness for God and wish to take up a position whereby you can bear witness for God, then this is a great mistake—you are without reason and you are arrogant! You can just say: “We will talk of some experiences but we cannot really consider bearing witness to God. I will fellowship something first. Why was God incarnated in China? You probably do not quite understand. We have understood this from God’s work. We Chinese have been corrupted most deeply by Satan, and we’re in the place where the great red dragon lies coiled. We have been corrupted so deeply by Satan, our humanity is most lacking, we have the lowest integrity and do not look human at all. In comparison with God’s chosen people from all other nations and regions, we are the most inferior. So we are too ashamed to bear witness for God. We can only bear a little witness to our own personal experiences. We are the filthiest and the most corrupted of people, and we have been brought into God’s great salvation and have obtained God’s great love, so we must speak of testimonies of our personal experiences, and we cannot stifle God’s grace.”