Before, there was a lot of deviation in the way people experienced, and it could even be absurd. Because they simply didn’t understand the standards of God’s requirements, there were many areas in which people’s experience went awry. God’s requirement of man is for them to be able to live out a normal humanity. The ways of modern man with regard to food and clothing, for example. They can wear a suit and a tie and they can learn some about modern art, and in their spare time they can have a somewhat literary and entertaining life. They can take some memorable photos and they can read and gain some knowledge, and have a relatively good living environment. This is the life that befits a normal humanity, and yet people see it as something detested by God. Their practice is just them following a few rules, and this leads them to live a life that is as dull as ditchwater, with no meaning whatsoever. In actual fact, God has never required man to do that. People wish to curtail their own dispositions, praying unceasingly in their spirits to be closer to God, their minds constantly occupied with mulling over godly things, their eyes constantly looking about, observing this matter and that matter, greatly fearing that their connection to God will somehow be severed. These are all things that man has summed up for themselves; they are rules set for man by man themselves. If you do not comprehend your own essence or what level you yourself can reach, then you will have no way to grasp what exactly the standards are of what God requires of man, and you will then have no way to achieve a practice that is performed in appropriate measure. Your mind is always turning this way and that, you think of every way possible to study and feel your way through to how on earth you can be moved and enlightened by the Holy Spirit, with the result that you summarize a set of ways of practice that you think will help you gain entry. When you practice in this way, you do not know exactly what it is that God requires of you; you just practice in your own way, feeling completely at ease, not caring about the outcome and caring even less about whether deviation and errors are present. As you go on in this way, your practice lacks a great many things, such as God’s commendation, corroboration by the Holy Spirit and the outcome obtained by God’s requirements. It even lacks any normal humanity or a normal person’s sense of reason. Your practice is just you following rules, or it is you intentionally increasing your burden in order to restrict yourself, to control yourself. And yet you think that you have your practice down to a T, not knowing that most of what you practice is a process or observance that is unnecessary. There are many who practice like this for many years with basically no change in their dispositions, no new understanding, and no new entry. They unknowingly give full play to their brutish natures, even to the stage where there are many times when they do unreasonable, inhumane things and many times when they do things that give people pause and which are not understood. Is this type of person someone who has changed?
Now, relatively speaking, people pray less than before as now is not the age of searching and feeling one’s way forward. It is now the age of revelation, the Age of Kingdom, it is the life of insights where all things are plainly told to man, and man is no longer left to feel their way through life. Regarding the aspects of marriage, worldly affairs, life, food, clothing and shelter, interpersonal relationships, how one can serve in a way that satisfies God’s will, how one should forsake the flesh…, which of these has not been told to you? Do you still need to go searching? Do you still need to pray? There really is no need! If you still do these things, aren’t you just adding yet another layer of formality? It isn’t necessary! The key is whether or not you have resolve. Some people knowingly commit offense, and they know clearly that walking the worldly path is no good, that it brings loss to one’s life and delays their life progress, yet they insist on doing it, and they do it after praying and searching. Is this not knowingly committing offense? Like those who hanker after carnal pleasures and cling to riches, who then pray to God saying: “God! Do You allow me to cling to carnal pleasures and cling to riches? Is it Your will for me to earn money in this way?” Is this a suitable way to pray? If they know perfectly well that God takes no delight in these things then they should be relinquished, but these things are fixed in their hearts and they pray and search in order to force God to concede to them and to make God give them a response. Then there are those who bring brothers and sisters of the church over to their side and set up their own independent kingdoms. You know very well that these actions defy God, yet you still go searching and praying to God. You are too thick-skinned and, when you do things like this, you are still able to appear undaunted and calmly pray to God. You really are without shame! Concerning walking the worldly path, this has long been preached before. It is loathed by God, yet you still pray, saying: “Oh God! Do You allow me to walk the worldly path? Can I satisfy Your will in this way? Actually, my intentions are right. I am not doing this for the flesh; I do it only so that Your name is not shamed, I do it for Your glory, so that worldly people can see Your glory in me.” Isn’t this way of praying just a load of nonsense? Don’t you feel ashamed? And aren’t you being most foolish to think that this is a valuable thing to do? You are unwilling to experience the life of light, instead going intentionally to taste that life of darkness and suffering. So aren’t you just asking to suffer? You have been told how to live a spiritual life, a life of normal humanity and you have been told of all aspects of the truth. If you don’t understand any of them, then read it directly. Do you still need to close your eyes and pray? If you still go searching by raising your eyes to heaven, aren’t you still believing in a vague God? You previously saw results from your searching and praying and the Holy Spirit moved your spirit somewhat because that time was the Age of Grace. You couldn’t see God so you had no choice but to feel your way forward and go searching that way. Now God has come among man and the Word has appeared in the flesh. You can now see God, and so the Holy Spirit no longer works as He did before. The age has changed and so has the way in which the Holy Spirit works. Though prayer may be performed less than before, because God is on earth man now has an opportunity to love God. Mankind has entered the age of loving God and they have within them a proper closeness to God: “Oh God! You are indeed so good, and I am willing to love You!” Just a few clear and simple words give voice to the love of God within your heart and it is only to deepen the love between you and God. Sometimes you may see yourself expressing some rebelliousness, saying: “Oh God! Why am I so corrupt?” You really want to beat yourself up, with tears in your eyes. At this time, your heart feels regretful and distressed but you have no way to express it. This is the current work of the Holy Spirit, but this is only something that those who seek life can attain. You feel that God has great love for you and you harbor a special feeling, but you don’t have the words to pray clearly. You always feel, however, that God’s love is as deep as the sea but you have no way to express this condition, always feeling it in your heart but never having the right words to express it. This is a condition that often arises in the spirit. This kind of prayer and fellowship within your heart that aims to get closer to God is normal.
Although now the life of feeling one’s way forward and searching is over, this is not to say that people should never pray, nor is it to say that people need not wait for God’s will to reveal itself before going on with the work; these are just the preconceptions of man. God has come amongst man to live with them and be the light of man, the life of man and the way of man, and this is fact. Of course, in God’s coming to earth it is necessary for Him to bring to man a practical way that suits their statures and life for them to enjoy—He has not come to destroy all the ways of man’s practice. Man no longer lives by feeling their way forward and searching because this has been replaced by God’s coming to earth to work and to speak His word. He has come to free man from the obscure dark life and to give them a life of light. The current work is to point things out clearly, speak clearly, tell man directly and define things explicitly, so that man can go put these things into practice. Just as Jehovah led the people of Israel, telling them how to sacrifice and how to build the temple, so you no longer need to live a life of searching like you did after the Lord Jesus left. Is it necessary for you to feel your way for the future work of spreading the gospel? Is it necessary for you to feel your way for you to know how you should live? Is it necessary for you to feel your way for you to know how you should perform your duties? Is it necessary for you to prostrate yourselves on the ground and go searching for you to know how you should bear witness? Is it necessary for you to fast and pray to know how you should dress or live? Is it necessary for you to persevere in your prayers to God in heaven to know how you should accept being conquered? Is it necessary for you to pray unceasingly all day and all night to know how you should obey? There are many among you who say that you are unable to practice because you don’t understand. People really are not paying attention to the work of today! Many of these things I have said long ago, it is just that you simply didn’t pay attention, so it’s no wonder you don’t know. Of course, in today’s age the Holy Spirit still moves people to allow them to feel enjoyment, and He lives together with man. These are some special and pleasurable feelings that often occur in your life. Every once in a while a day comes where you feel that God is so lovable and you cannot help but pray to God: “Oh God! Your love is so beautiful and Your image is so great. I wish to love You more deeply. I wish to devote all that I am to expend my entire life. As long as it is for Your sake, I wish to devote everything to You, just so that I can love You….” This is a feeling of pleasure given you by the Holy Spirit. It is not enlightenment, nor is it illumination; it is a stirring. This kind of experience will happen now and then, such as on your way to work. You will pray and feel close to God, so much so that tears will wet your face, so moved that you cannot control yourself and you will be anxious to find suitable surroundings where you can express all the fervor inside your heart…. At times you will be at a public occasion and will feel that the love you enjoy is too much, that your lot is anything but ordinary, and will more so feel that you are worth more than any other. You will know deeply that God is raising you up, that this is God’s great love for you. In the deepest recesses of your heart you will feel that there is a kind of love about God that is inexpressible and unreadable; it’s like you know it but have no way to express it, always giving you pause for thought but leaving you unable to express it completely. At times like this, you will even forget where you are, to the point where you will speak out: “Oh God! You are so hard to understand, yet You are so beloved!” Sometimes you may even do some strange and eccentric actions that people find inexplicable, and these are all things that can happen frequently…. This kind of life is too much in your experience and these things are the life that the Holy Spirit has given to you today, and the life you should now be living. It is not to stop you from living life, but rather that the way you live is changed. It is a feeling that cannot be described or expressed. It is also the true feeling of man and even more so it is the work of the Holy Spirit. It makes you understand in your heart, but you have no way to express it clearly to anyone at all. Not because you are slow of speech or that you stutter, but because it is a kind of feeling that cannot be described in words. He allows you to enjoy these things today as this is the life you should be living. Of course, your other life is not empty, merely that being moved in this way becomes a kind of joy in your life that makes you always want to enjoy such stirrings of the Holy Spirit. But you should know that being moved in this way is not so you can detach yourself from the flesh and go to the third heaven, or travel the world, but rather it is so that you can experience the love of God today, to experience the significance of God’s work today, to relive God’s care and protection. All these things are for you to have a greater knowledge of the work God does today and to be able to feel and experience more of God’s love that you enjoy today—this is the goal of this work.
The life of searching and feeling one’s way was when God had not yet been incarnated. At that time people couldn’t see God and so had no choice but to search and feel their way through. Today you can see God and He tells you directly how you should practice so you no longer need to feel your way about or search anymore. The path led by Him is the way of truth and what He tells to man, what man receives is the life and the truth. You have the way, the life and the truth, so what need is there to go searching anywhere? The Holy Spirit cannot do two stages of work simultaneously. If, when I have finished speaking My word, people still need to pray and search, wouldn’t that mean that this stage of work I do is being done in vain? Though I may have finished speaking My word, people still don’t completely understand, and this is because they are lacking in quality. This problem can be resolved through the church life and through fellowshiping with each other. Before, God’s incarnate flesh did not start the work, so the Holy Spirit worked that way at the time and maintained the work. At that time the Holy Spirit did the work, but now it is the incarnate God Himself that is doing it, having taken the place of the work of the Holy Spirit. When people prayed before, they experienced peace, joy, reproach and discipline and this all pertained to the work of the Holy Spirit. Now these states are few and far between. Why when Peter prayed did he have feelings of peace or of reproach, and why did Paul and others also feel the same when they prayed? This was because it was during the time when God’s appearance had not been seen, and moreover it was during the Age of Grace when God worked differently. The Holy Spirit can only do one kind of work in any one age. If He did two kinds of work simultaneously, with the flesh doing one kind and the Holy Spirit doing another kind within people, and if what the flesh said was not valid and what the Spirit did was, then Christ would not have any truth, way or life to speak of. This would be a self-contradiction, and would be a mistake at the very source.
People deviated too much and made too many errors in their past experience. There were originally some things that people of normal humanity were meant to have, and meant to do, or there were hard-to-avoid mistakes that were meant to be seen in human life, and when these things were done badly, they put the responsibility for it onto God. There was a sister who had guests over to her home. Her steamed buns were not steamed right, so she thought: “This may be God’s discipline. God is dealing with my vain heart. I am too vain.” Actually, as far as man’s normal way of thinking is concerned, when guests come over you get excited and rush about, not knowing what to do first and not having organized what you’re doing, with the result that if the rice doesn’t end up burnt, then your dishes are too salty. Ordinarily, without guests you are fine, but when people come over it all goes wrong. This situation is created by the feelings of excitement, but people end up putting it down to “God’s discipline.” Actually, this pertains to faults in human life. Wouldn’t you also encounter this kind of thing if you didn’t believe in God? Is this kind of thing not a frequent occurrence? There are many things that pertain to the faults of people; people make mistakes, but they are not done by the Holy Spirit and they have nothing to do with God. Like when you bite your tongue whilst eating—can this be God’s discipline? God’s discipline is principled and is usually seen when you knowingly commit offense. God disciplines man with things that involve His name, or when it concerns His testimony or His work. People understand enough of the truth now to have inner awareness of the things they do, for example: Are you able to feel nothing if you embezzle the church’s money or you spend it recklessly? You will feel something when you do that. It is not possible to do something and then start to feel something afterward. You are clear in your heart about the things you do that go against your conscience. Though they may know the truth clearly, because everyone has their own likes, they simply indulge themselves, so after they do something they have no obvious feeling of reproach. If they are not disciplined at the time they do wrong, what discipline could there be afterward? What discipline could there be after all the money has been squandered? They are completely aware of what they do when they do it and they feel reproach. If you don’t listen then God will not pay attention to you. When the time comes when righteous judgment befalls, retribution will be brought upon each according to their actions. As a normal person with a sense of reason, someone with conscience, you are aware of everything you do, especially when you do something wrong. Are there still few people in the church who embezzle money? Are there still few people who do not keep clear boundaries between men and women? Are there still few people who judge, defy and try to demolish things in secret? Why is all yet well with you? You all have awareness, feelings and reproach in your hearts and because of this you sometimes suffer chastisement and refinement. It is just that people are so shameless! If punishment really were to befall them, would they still dare to practice in this way? When people of conscience do things, they feel disquiet when their conscience is pricked just a little, and so they are then able to forsake their flesh. Like those who commit the sins between men and women. They are aware of what they do at the time, but their lust is too great and they cannot control themselves. Even if the Holy Spirit gives discipline, it will be to no avail, so the Holy Spirit no longer bothers with you. At the time, if the Holy Spirit did not discipline you, reproach you or do anything to your flesh, what reproach could there be afterward? What discipline could there be after the deed is done? It only proves that you are too shameless and degraded. You are a worthless wretch! The Holy Spirit does not work needlessly. If you know the truth very well but do not cooperate and are capable of doing anything at all, then you can only wait until that day comes when you will be punished along with that evil one. This is the best end for you! I have now repeatedly preached about conscience, as this is the lowest standard. Without conscience, people will also lose the discipline of the Holy Spirit, and they can do whatever they wish. If someone truly has conscience, then when the Holy Spirit reproaches them they go through an inner battle, and they are then unlikely to do anything too serious. Regardless of how the Holy Spirit disciplines and chastises, generally speaking people will all have some feeling when they do something wrong. So people now understand all kinds of truth and if they don’t practice it then that is their own business. I do not react to people like this, nor do I hold onto any hope for them. You can do as you please!
Some people get together and place God’s word to one side, always talking about what this person or that person is like. Of course it’s good to be a little discerning, as no matter where you go you will not be easily deceived, nor will you be easily duped or fooled; this is also an aspect that people should possess. But you mustn’t focus solely on this aspect as it pertains to things that are negative. Your eyes must not always be fixed on people. Your knowledge of how the Holy Spirit works is now too little, your belief in God is too superficial, and you have too few positive things. The One you believe in is God, the One you need to understand is God, not Satan. If you only understand how Satan works and have knowledge of all the ways in which evil spirits work, but have no knowledge of God whatsoever, what meaning would this have? Is it not God you believe in today? Why does your knowledge not include these positive things? You simply don’t pay attention to the positive aspect of entry and you have no grasp on it, so what on earth is it you want to gain? Do you not know how you should be seeking? You have many negative “teaching materials” but you draw a blank with the positive aspect of entry, so how can your stature ever grow? If someone only talks about the war with Satan, what future prospects for development will that person have? Isn’t your entry too outdated? What things will you be able to gain from the current work if you carry on this way? What is now key is for you to understand what God wants to do now, how man should cooperate, how they should love God, how they should understand the work of the Holy Spirit, how they should enter into all the words that God says today, how they should read them, understand them and experience them, how they should satisfy God’s will, be completely conquered by God and obey before God…. You should focus on these things as these are things that should be entered into now. Do you understand? What use is it to focus solely on discernment of people? You can discern Satan here, discern evil spirits there, you can discern many things, have a complete understanding of evil spirits and know one as soon as you see one. But if you are unable to say anything about the work of God, can your discernment replace your understanding of God? I have previously fellowshiped concerning the expressions of the work of evil spirits, but this is not a major thing. Of course people should also have a little discernment as this is an aspect that those who serve God should possess in order to avoid doing foolish things and interrupting God’s work. But the most important thing remains having knowledge of God’s work and understanding God’s will. What knowledge do you have of this stage of God’s work? Can you say what it is that God does, what God’s will is, and can you say what your own shortcomings are and what things you should equip yourself with? Can you say what your newest entry is? You should understand which of your previous entries were deviations and errors, and which entries were outdated. You should be able to reap fruit and achieve understanding in your new entries. Don’t feign ignorance; you must make more effort in your new entries to deepen your own experience and knowledge, and even more must get a grip especially on your newest entries and the most correct way of experiencing. You must also know how to cast off your outdated practice methods and enter into new experience. Even more so you should discern your previous outdated and deviated practice from the new work and entry. These are things that you now urgently need to understand and enter into. You must understand the differences and relationship between your old and new entries. If you don’t have a grasp on these things, then you will have no way to progress, as you will be unable to keep pace with the work of the Holy Spirit. Much of your past entry and experience pertained to a deviated and mistaken way of practice, and much of it was a way of experiencing that belonged to a bygone time; you must understand how you should approach these things. Through the proper eating and drinking of God’s word and through proper fellowship, you must be able to change your previous outdated ways of practice and your old traditional conceptions, so that you can enter a new practice, and enter into the new work. These are things you ought to achieve. I’m now not asking you to understand yourself to the minutest degree; I’m not asking you to take this too seriously. Rather I am asking you to take seriously your entry into and understanding of the positive aspect. Though you may be able to know yourself, it does not necessarily follow that this is your true stature. But if you can experience the practice and entry of the new work, to the point where you are able to discern which were your previous personal conceptions or misunderstandings, then this is your true stature and it is something you should possess. These are things that everyone among you should achieve.
There are many things in which you simply don’t know how to practice, much less know how the Holy Spirit works. Sometimes you do something that is clearly not being obedient to the Holy Spirit. You already have a grasp of the principle of the thing through your eating and drinking, so you suffer inside a feeling of reproach and disquiet and of course this is a feeling that one will feel on the basis of knowing the truth. Not cooperating and not doing things in accordance with today’s word obstructs the Holy Spirit’s work and one will necessarily feel disquiet within. You understand the principles of this aspect but you don’t practice accordingly, so you suffer a feeling of reproach within. But if you don’t understand this principle, and simply haven’t eaten or drunk this aspect of the truth, if you don’t know it at all, then you won’t necessarily feel a sense of reproach on this matter. Generating the reproach of the Holy Spirit is conditional. You think that because you haven’t prayed, haven’t cooperated with the Holy Spirit, haven’t released the burden you carry within you, you have delayed the work of the Holy Spirit. In actual fact it cannot be delayed, and if you won’t say something then the Holy Spirit will stir someone else to say it; the Holy Spirit is not restrained by you. You feel sorry to God and this is something you should be feeling. But God thinks nothing of it and then it is past. Whether you can gain anything or not is your own business. Sometimes your conscience feels like it suffers accusations, but this is not the enlightenment or illumination of the Holy Spirit at the time, nor is it the reproach of the Holy Spirit. Instead it is a feeling in your conscience. If it involves the name of God, the testimony of God or the work of God, and you act wildly, then He will not let you off. But it has a limit, and as to things that are hardly worth mentioning, He will not bother with you, He will ignore you, and thus this is something that you should feel in your conscience. Some things are what people of normal humanity are meant to do and some are the matters of normal human life. For example, you don’t steam your buns right and say that God is disciplining you—this is an utterly unreasonable thing to say. Before you came to believe in God, didn’t this kind of thing often happen? Was it Satan disciplining you back then? Actually if you practice more on this matter, you will be unlikely to make mistakes; it is merely your brain that makes mistakes. You feel that it seems to be the Holy Spirit’s discipline when actually this is not the case (some exceptional circumstances aside), because this work is not wholly done by the Holy Spirit, but instead those are just feelings people have. But thinking along those lines is what those who have a proper belief in God should do. You couldn’t have thought like this when you didn’t believe in God. Once you came to believe in God, your heart expended effort in this regard and you unknowingly began to think along these lines. This arises from normal people’s thinking and it also pertains to the effect of their own mentality. But let Me tell you, this is not something that falls under the scope of the work of the Holy Spirit. This aspect pertains to a normal reaction given to man by the Holy Spirit by means of their own thinking; but you must understand that this reaction is not the work of the Holy Spirit. Having this kind of “knowledge” doesn’t prove that you have the work of the Holy Spirit. Your knowledge does not pertain to the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment, much less is it the work of the Holy Spirit. It is merely a reaction of people’s normal thinking and it has nothing at all to do with the enlightenment or illumination of the Holy Spirit. They are two completely different things and it is not wholly done by the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit works to enlighten people, He generally gives them a knowledge of God’s work, and of their true entry and true state, and He also gives them resolve, allows them to understand God’s eager intention and His requirements for man today, He gives them the resolve to open up every way. Even when people undergo bloodshed and sacrifice they must act for God, and even when they meet with persecution and adversity, they must still love God, and have no regrets, and must stand testimony for God. Such resolve is the stirrings of the Holy Spirit, and the work of the Holy Spirit—but know that you are not possessed of such stirrings at every passing moment. Sometimes at meetings you can feel extremely moved and inspired and you give great praise and you dance. You feel that you have an incredible understanding of what others are fellowshiping, you feel brand new inside, and your heart is perfectly clear without any feeling of emptiness—this all pertains to the work of the Holy Spirit. If you are someone who leads, and the Holy Spirit gives you exceptional enlightenment and illumination when you go down to the church to work, making you incredibly earnest, responsible and serious in your work, this pertains to the work of the Holy Spirit.