Today, as you seek to love and know God, in one respect you must endure hardship and refinement, and in another, you must pay a price. No lesson is more profound than the lesson of loving God, and it can be said that the lesson that people learn from a lifetime of belief is how to love God. Which is to say, if you believe in God you must love God. If you only believe in God but do not love Him, have not attained the knowledge of God, and have never loved God with a true love that comes from within your heart, then your belief in God is futile; if, in your belief in God, you do not love God, then you live in vain, and your entire life is the most lowly of all lives. If, throughout your whole life, you have never loved or satisfied God, then what is the point of you living? And what is the point of your belief in God? Isn’t that a waste of effort? Which is to say, if people are to believe in and love God, then they must pay a price. Rather than trying to act in a certain way externally, they should seek true insight in the depths of their hearts. If you are enthusiastic about singing and dancing, but incapable of putting the truth into practice, can you be said to love God? Loving God requires seeking God’s will in all things, and that you probe deep within when anything happens to you, trying to grasp God’s will, and trying to see what God’s will is in this matter, what He wishes you to achieve, and how you should be mindful of His will. For example: Something happens that requires you to endure hardship, at which time you should understand what God’s will is, and how you should be mindful of His will. You must not satisfy yourself: First put yourself to one side. Nothing is more abject than the flesh. You must seek to satisfy God, and must fulfill your duty. With such thoughts, God will bring especial enlightenment to you in this matter, and your heart will also find comfort. Be it big or small, when something happens to you, you must first put yourself to one side and regard the flesh as the most lowly of all things. The more you satisfy the flesh, the more liberties it takes; if you satisfy it this time, next time it will ask for more, and as this carries on, you come to love the flesh even more. The flesh always has extravagant desires, it always asks that you satisfy it, and that you gratify it within, whether it be in the things you eat, what you wear, or in flying off the handle, or pandering to your own weaknesses and laziness…. The more you satisfy the flesh, the greater its desires become, and the more debauched the flesh becomes, until it gets to the point when people’s flesh harbors even deeper conceptions, and disobeys God, and exalts itself, and becomes doubtful about the work of God. The more you satisfy the flesh, the greater the weaknesses of the flesh; you’ll always feel that no one sympathizes with your weaknesses, you’ll always believe that God has gone too far, and you’ll say: How could God be so harsh? Why won’t He give people a break? When people are too indulgent of the flesh, and cherish it too much, then they forfeit themselves. If you truly love God, and do not satisfy the flesh, then you’ll see that everything God does is so right, and so good, and that His curse of your rebelliousness and judgment of your unrighteousness is justified. There will be times when God chastens and disciplines you, and raises up an environment to temper you, forcing you to come before Him—and you will always feel that what God is doing is wonderful. Thus you will feel as if there isn’t much pain, and that God is so lovely. If you pander to the weaknesses of the flesh, and say that God goes too far, then you’ll always feel in pain, and will always be depressed, and you will be unclear about all of the work of God, and it will seem as if God is not sympathetic to man’s weakness at all, and unaware of man’s difficulties. And thus you will feel miserable and alone, as if you have suffered great injustice, and at this time you will begin to complain. The more you pander to the weaknesses of the flesh in this way, the more you will feel that God goes too far, until it gets so bad that you deny the work of God, and begin to oppose God, and become full of disobedience. Thus, you must rebel against the flesh, and not pander to it: Your husband, wife, children, prospects, marriage, family—none of them matter! You need to have this resolve: “In my heart there is only God, and I must try my best to satisfy God, and not satisfy the flesh.” If you are always possessed of such resolve, then when you put the truth into practice, and put yourself aside, you will be able to do so with but a little effort. It is said that there was once a farmer who saw a snake on the road that was frozen stiff. The farmer picked it up and held it to his breast, and after the snake was revived it bit the farmer to death. Man’s flesh is like the snake: Its essence is to harm their lives—and when it completely gets its own way, your life becomes forfeit. The flesh belongs to Satan. Within it are extravagant desires, it thinks only for itself, it wants to enjoy comfort, and revel in leisure, wallowing in sloth and idleness, and having satisfied it to a certain point you will ultimately be eaten up by it. Which is to say, if you satisfy it this time, next time it will come asking for more. It always has extravagant desires and new demands, and takes advantage of your pandering to the flesh to make you cherish it even more and live among its comforts—and if you don’t overcome it, you will ultimately forfeit yourself. Whether you can gain life before God, and what your ultimate end will be, depends on how you carry out your rebellion against the flesh. God has saved you, and chosen and predestined you, yet if today you are unwilling to satisfy Him, you are unwilling to put the truth into practice, you are unwilling to rebel against your own flesh with a heart that truly loves God, ultimately you will ruin yourself, and will thus endure extreme pain. If you always pander to the flesh, Satan will gradually gobble you up inside, and leave you without life, or the touch of the Spirit, until the day comes when you are completely dark inside. When you live in darkness, you will have been taken captive by Satan, you will no longer have God, and at that time you will deny God’s existence and leave Him. Thus, if you wish to love God, you must pay the price of pain and endure hardship. There is no need for external fervency and hardship, reading more and running about more; instead, you should put aside the things within you: the extravagant thoughts, personal interests, and your own considerations, conceptions, and motivations. Such is God’s will.
God’s dealing of people’s external disposition is also one part of His work; dealing with people’s external, abnormal humanity, for example, or their lifestyle and habits, their ways and customs, as well as their external practices, and their fervency. But when He asks that people put the truth into practice and change their dispositions, what is primarily being dealt with are the motivations and conceptions within them. Only dealing with your external disposition isn’t hard; it’s like asking you not to eat the things you love, which is easy. That which touches upon the conceptions inside you, however, isn’t easy to let go of: It requires you to rebel against the flesh, and pay a price, and suffer before God. This is particularly so with people’s motivations. From the time of their belief in God until today, people have harbored many incorrect motivations. When you’re not putting the truth into practice, you feel that all your motivations are correct, but when something happens to you, you will see that there are many incorrect motivations within you. Thus, when God makes people perfect, He causes them to realize that there are many conceptions within them that are obstructing their knowledge of God. When you recognize that your motivations are wrong, if you are able to stop practicing according to your conceptions and motivations, and are able to bear testimony to God and stand firm in your position in all that happens to you, this proves that you have rebelled against the flesh. When you rebel against the flesh, there will inevitably be a battle within you. Satan will try and make you follow it, will try and make you follow the conceptions of the flesh and uphold the interests of the flesh—but God’s words will enlighten and illuminate you within, and at this time it is up to you whether you follow God or follow Satan. God asks people to put the truth into practice primarily to deal with the things inside them, to deal with their thoughts, and their conceptions that aren’t after God’s heart. The Holy Spirit touches people inside, and carries out His work within them, and so behind everything that happens is a battle: Every time people put the truth into practice, or put the love of God into practice, there is a great battle, and though all may seem well with their flesh, in the depths of their hearts a life-and-death battle will, in fact, be going on—and only after this intense battle, after a tremendous amount of reflection, can victory or defeat be decided. One does not know whether to laugh or cry. Because many of the motivations within people are wrong, or else because much of God’s work is at odds with their conceptions, when people put the truth into practice a great battle is waged behind the scenes. Having put this truth into practice, behind the scenes people will have shed countless tears of sadness before finally making up their mind to satisfy God. It is because of this battle that people endure suffering and refinement; this is true suffering. When the battle comes upon you, if you are able to truly stand on the side of God, you will be able to satisfy God. Suffering in the course of practicing the truth is inevitable; if, when they put the truth into practice, everything within them were right, then they would not need to be made perfect by God, and there would be no battle, and they would not suffer. It is because there are many things within people that are not fit for use by God, and much of the rebellious disposition of the flesh, that people need to learn the lesson of rebelling against the flesh more profoundly. This is what God calls the suffering that He asked man to undergo with Him. When you encounter difficulties, hurry up and pray to God: “O God! I wish to satisfy You, I wish to endure the final hardship to satisfy Your heart, and regardless of how great the setbacks I encounter, still I must satisfy You. Even if I have to give up my whole life, still I must satisfy You!” With this resolve, when you pray thus you will be able to stand firm in your testimony. Each time they put the truth into practice, each time they undergo refinement, each time they are tried, and each time God’s work comes upon them, people endure extreme pain. All of this is a test for people, and so within all of them there is a battle. This is the actual price that they pay. Reading more of God’s words and running about more is somewhat of a price. It is what people ought to do, it is their duty, and the responsibility that they should fulfill, but people must put aside that within them which needs to be put aside. If you don’t, then no matter how great your external suffering, and how much you run around, all will be in vain! Which is to say, only the changes within you can determine whether your external hardship is of value. When your internal disposition has changed and you have put the truth into practice, then all your external suffering will gain God’s approval; if there has been no change in your internal disposition, then no matter how much suffering you endure or how much you run about on the outside, there will be no approval from God—and hardship that is not confirmed by God is in vain. Thus, whether the price you have paid counts is determined by whether or not there has been a change in you, and by whether or not you put the truth into practice and rebel against your own motivations and conceptions to attain the satisfaction of God’s will, the knowledge of God, and loyalty to God. No matter how much you run about, if you have never rebelled against your own motivations, only seek external actions and fervency, and never pay any attention to your life, then your hardship will have been in vain. If, in a certain environment, you have something you want to say, but inside you don’t feel it’s right, that it does not benefit your brothers and sisters, and may hurt them, then you won’t say it, preferring to be pained within, for these words are incapable of satisfying God’s will. At this time, there will be a battle inside you, but you will be willing to suffer pain and give up that which you love, you will be willing to endure this hardship to satisfy God, and although you will suffer pain inside, you will not pander to the flesh, and God’s heart shall have been satisfied, and so you will also be comforted inside. This is truly paying a price, and is the price desired by God. If you practice in this way, God will surely bless you; if you can’t achieve this, then no matter how much you understand, or how well you can speak, it will all be for nothing! If, on the road to loving God, you are able to stand on the side of God when He does battle with Satan, and you do not turn back to Satan, then you will have achieved the love of God, and you will have stood firm in your testimony.
In every step of work that God does within people, externally it appears to be interactions between people, as if born of human arrangements, or from human interference. But behind the scenes, every step of work, and everything that happens, is a wager made by Satan before God, and requires people to stand firm in their testimony to God. Take when Job was tried, for example: Behind the scenes, Satan was making a bet with God, and what happened to Job was the deeds of men, and the interference of men. Behind every step that God does in you is Satan’s wager with God—behind it all is a battle. For example, if you are prejudiced toward your brothers and sisters, you will have words that you want to say—words that you feel may be displeasing to God—but it will be hard for you inside, and at this moment, a battle will commence within you: Do I speak or not? This is the battle. Thus, in everything there is a battle, and when there is a battle within you, thanks to your actual cooperation and actual suffering God works within you. Ultimately, inside you are able to put the matter aside and the anger is naturally extinguished. Such is the effect of your cooperation with God. Everything you do requires you to pay a certain price in your efforts. Without actual hardship, you can’t satisfy God, it does not even come close to satisfying God, and you are just saying empty slogans! Can these empty slogans satisfy God? When God and Satan do battle in the spiritual realm, how should you satisfy God, and how should you stand firm in your testimony to Him? You should know that everything that happens to you is a great trial and the time when God needs you to bear testimony. Externally, they might not seem like a big deal, but when these things happen they show whether or not you love God. If you do, you will be able to stand firm in your testimony to Him, and if you have not put the love of Him into practice, this shows you are not someone who puts the truth into practice, that you are without the truth, and without life, that you are chaff! Everything that happens to people is when God needs them to stand firm in their testimony to Him. Nothing major has happened to you at the moment, and you do not bear great testimony, but every detail of your daily life relates to the testimony to God. If you can win the admiration of your brothers and sisters, your family members, and everyone around you; if, one day, the unbelievers come, and admire all that you do, and see that all that God does is wonderful, then you will have borne testimony. Although you have no insight and your caliber is poor, through God’s perfection of you, you are able to satisfy Him and be mindful of His will. Others will see what great work He has done in people of the poorest caliber. People come to know God, and become overcomers before Satan and loyal to God to an extent. So none will have more backbone than this group of people. This will be the greatest testimony. Although you are incapable of doing great work, you are able to satisfy God. Others can’t put aside their conceptions, but you can; others can’t bear testimony to God during their actual experiences, but you can use your actual stature and actions to repay God’s love and bear resounding testimony to Him. Only this counts as actually loving God. If you are incapable of this, then you do not bear testimony among your family members, among your brothers and sisters, or before the people of the world. If you can’t bear testimony before Satan, Satan will laugh at you, it will treat you as a joke, as a plaything, it will often make a fool of you, and drive you insane. In the future, great trials may befall you—but today, if you love God with a true heart, and if regardless of how great the trials ahead, irrespective of what happens to you, you are able to stand firm in your testimony, and able to satisfy God, then your heart will be comforted, and you will be unafraid no matter how great the trials you encounter in the future. You can’t see what will happen in the future; you can only satisfy God during today’s circumstances. You are incapable of doing any great work, and should focus on satisfying God by experiencing His words in real life, and bearing strong and resounding testimony that brings shame upon Satan. Although your flesh will remain unsatisfied and have suffered, you will have satisfied God and brought shame upon Satan. If you always practice in this way, God will open up a path before you. When, one day, a great trial comes, others will fall down, but you will still be able to stand firm: Because of the price you have paid, God will protect you so you can stand firm and not fall down. If, ordinarily, you are able to put the truth into practice and satisfy God with a heart that truly loves Him, then God will surely protect you during future trials. Though you are foolish and of little stature and poor caliber, God will not discriminate against you. It depends on whether your motivations are right. Today, you are able to satisfy God, in which you are attentive to the smallest detail, you satisfy God in all things, you have a heart that truly loves God, you give your true heart to God, and although there are some things that you can’t understand, you can come before God to rectify your motivations, and seek God’s will, and you do everything needed to satisfy God. Perhaps, your brothers and sisters will abandon you, but your heart will be satisfying God, and you will not covet the pleasures of the flesh. If you always practice in this way, you will be protected when great trials come upon you.
What internal state in people are these trials aimed at? They are targeted at the rebellious disposition in people that is incapable of satisfying God. There is much that is impure within people, and much that is hypocritical, and so God subjects them to trials in order to purify them. But if, today, you are able to satisfy Him, then the trials of the future will be a perfection for you. If, today, you are unable to satisfy Him, then trials of the future will tempt you, and you will unwittingly fall down, and at that time you won’t be able to help yourself, for you can’t keep up with God’s work, and are not possessed of real stature. And so, if you wish to be able to stand firm in the future, better satisfy God, and follow Him to the very end, today you must build a strong foundation, you must satisfy God by putting the truth into practice in all things, and be mindful of His will. If you always practice in this way, there will be a foundation within you, and God will inspire in you a heart that loves Him, and He will give you faith. One day, when a trial truly befalls you, you may well suffer some pain, and feel aggrieved to a certain point, and suffer crushing grief, as if you’d died—but your love of God will not change, and will become even deeper. Such are the blessings of God. If you are able to accept all that God says and does today with a heart of obedience, then you will surely be blessed by God, and so you will be someone who is blessed by God, and receives His promise. If, today, you do not practice, when trials befall you one day you will be without faith or a loving heart, and at that time the trial will become temptation; you will be plunged amid Satan’s temptation and will have no means of escape. Today, you may be able to stand firm when a small trial befalls you, but you won’t necessarily be able to stand firm when a major trial befalls you one day. Some people are conceited, and think that they’re near perfect already. If you don’t go deeper at such times, and remain complacent, then you’ll be in danger. Today, God does not do the work of greater trials, in appearance everything seems fine, but when God tries you, you will discover that you are too lacking, for your stature is too small, and you are incapable of enduring great trials. If, today, you do not forge ahead, if you stay in the same place, then when the great wind comes you will fall. You should often look at how small your stature is; only in this way will you make progress. If it is only during trials that you see that your stature is so small, that your willpower is so weak, that too little within you is real, and that you are inadequate for God’s will—and if you only realize these things then, it will be too late.
If you do not know God’s disposition, then you will inevitably fall during trials, because you are unaware of how God makes people perfect, and by what means He makes them perfect, and when God’s trials come upon you and they don’t match your conceptions, you will be unable to stand firm. God’s true love is His entire disposition, and when God’s entire disposition is shown to you, what does this bring to your flesh? When God’s righteous disposition is shown to you, your flesh will inevitably suffer much pain. If you don’t suffer this pain, then you cannot be made perfect by God, nor will you be able to devote true love to God. If God makes you perfect, He will surely show His entire disposition to you. From the time of creation until today, God has never shown His entire disposition—but during the last days He reveals it to this group of people whom He has predestined and selected, and by making people perfect He lays bare His dispositions, through which He makes complete a group of people. Such is God’s true love for people. Experiencing God’s true love for them requires that people endure extreme pain, and pay a high price. Only after this will they be gained by God and be able to give their true love back to God, and only then will God’s heart be satisfied. If people wish to be made perfect by God, and if they wish to carry out His will, and fully give their true love to God, then they must experience much suffering and many torments from the circumstances, to suffer pain worse than death, ultimately they will be forced to give their true heart back to God. Whether or not someone truly loves God is revealed during hardship and refinement. God purifies people’s love, and this is also only achieved amid hardship and refinement.