In the past, there were a lot of deviations and even absurdities in the ways people experienced. They simply didn’t understand the standards of God’s requirements, so there were many areas in which people’s experiences went awry. God’s requirement of man is for them to be able to live out proper humanity. For example, it’s okay to follow modern conventions with regard to food and clothing, to wear a suit and a tie, to learn a bit about modern art, and in their spare time they can have an artistic and entertaining life. They can take some memorable photos, they can read and gain some useful knowledge, and have a relatively good living environment. These are all things that befit a life of normal humanity, and yet people see them as things detested by God and they hold themselves back from doing them. Their practice is just following some rules, leading to a life that is as dull as ditchwater, entirely devoid of meaning. In fact, God has never required that of man. People all wish to curtail their own dispositions, praying unceasingly in their spirits to be closer to God, their minds constantly mulling over what God intends, their eyes constantly observing this matter and that matter, in great fear that their connection to God will somehow be severed. These are all conclusions that people have come to on their own; they are rules set by people for themselves. If you do not know your own nature and essence and you don’t understand what level your own practice can reach, then you will have no way to be certain of what exactly the standards that God requires of man are, and neither will you have any accurate path of practice. Since you cannot put your finger on God’s exact requirements of man, your mind is always churning, and you are thinking of every way possible to analyze God’s intentions and feel your way through to how on earth you can be moved and enlightened by the Holy Spirit. As a result, you come to a conclusion on a set of ways of practice that you believe to be suitable. You have no idea of God’s exact requirements of people; you just blithely carry out your own set of practices, not caring about the outcome and caring even less about whether there are deviations or errors. In this way, your practice naturally lacks accuracy and cannot be principled. What it particularly lacks are proper human reason and conscience, as well as God’s commendation and corroboration by the Holy Spirit. It becomes entirely too easy to simply take your own road. This kind of practice is just following rules or intentionally taking up more of a burden in order to restrict yourself, to control yourself. Yet you think that you have your practice down to a T, not knowing that the majority of your practice is an unnecessary process or observance. 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 recommit the same old mistakes and give full play to their brutish natures; they are sometimes even capable of doing unreasonable, inhumane things, and doing things that give people pause and are baffling. Is this type of person someone who has had a dispositional transformation?
Now, belief in God has entered into the Age of God’s Word. Relatively speaking, people pray a bit less than before; God’s words have explicitly communicated all aspects of the truth and ways of practice, so there is no longer any need for people to search and grope their way along. In the life of the Age of Kingdom, there is the leadership of God’s words, and it is a life of being able to see because God has told all things to man plainly; 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 meets God’s will, how one should forsake the flesh, and so forth, which of these has not been told to you? Do you still need to go praying and searching? There really is no need! If you still do these things, you are just doing something superfluous. It’s ignorant and foolish; it isn’t necessary! Only those who are too lacking in caliber and are unable to understand God’s words continue to pray blindly. The key to practicing the truth is whether or not you have resolve. Some people insist on following their fleshly preferences in their actions, knowing it is not in line with the truth. This then hinders their own progress in life, and even after praying and searching they still want to do things according to the flesh. Is this not knowingly committing sins? Like those who hanker after carnal pleasures and cling to money and then pray to God, saying: “God! Will You allow me to cling to carnal pleasures and money? Is it Your will for me to earn money this way?” Is this a suitable way to pray? They know perfectly well that God takes no delight in these things, so they should relinquish them, but the things they hold in their hearts have already been determined, and their praying and searching are in order to compel God to allow them to behave that way. In their hearts, they may demand that God say something to corroborate this—this is called rebelliousness. There are also 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 oppose God, but when you are determined to do something like that you still go searching and praying to God, undaunted. You really are without shame and too thick-skinned! Issues concerning leaving behind worldly things were spoken of long before. There are some who clearly know that God hates the things of the world, yet still pray, saying: “Oh God! I understand that You would not have me go along with worldly things, but I do this so that Your name is not shamed; I do it so that worldly people can see Your glory in me.” What kind of prayer is that? Do you have discernment on this? It is a prayer to coerce, to put pressure on God. Don’t you feel ashamed of praying that way? This is someone who intentionally opposes God, and this kind of prayer is entirely a problem with motives; it is truly an expression of a satanic disposition. God’s words are crystal-clear, particularly those uttered regarding His will, His disposition, and how He treats all sorts of people. If you don’t understand the truth you should read God’s words more—the results are much better than blindly praying and searching. There are many searches and prayers that should be replaced with reading God’s words more and having fellowship on the truth. At ordinary times, prayers should be reflecting on and knowing yourself from within God’s words more. This is more beneficial for maturation in life. If you are now searching by raising your eyes to heaven, isn’t that still believing in a vague God? Before, you 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 in that way. Now God has come among man, the Word has appeared in the flesh, and you have seen God; thus 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 can properly draw closer to God within themselves: “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 their hearts; this is only for the sake of deepening the love between man and God. Sometimes you may see yourself revealing some rebelliousness, and say: “Oh God! Why am I so corrupt?” You really want to smack yourself, and tears well up in your eyes. At that time you have feelings of regret and distress in your heart, but you have no way to express it. This is the current work of the Holy Spirit, but only those who seek life can attain it. Although you do not pray with words, you feel in your heart that God has great love for you and you have a special kind of feeling—you always feel that God’s love is as deep as the ocean; you have no way to express this state with the right words. This is a state that often arises within the spirit. This kind of prayer and fellowship within your heart to get closer to God is normal.
Although the life of feeling one’s way forward and searching is now a thing of the past, this is not to say that people should never pray, nor is it that people need not wait for God’s will to reveal itself before going on with the work; these are just the misconceptions of man. God has come amongst man to live with them, to be their light, their life, and their way: This is a fact. Of course, in God’s coming to earth He will surely bring mankind a practical path that suits their statures and life for them to enjoy—He has not come to break 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 coming to earth to work and to speak His word. He has come to free man from the obscure dark life and allow them to have a life of light. The current work is to point things out clearly, speak clearly, tell man things directly and define things explicitly, so that people can go put these things into practice, just as Jehovah God led the people of Israel, telling them how to offer sacrifices 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 own 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 by God? Is it necessary for you to pray unceasingly, day and night, to know how you should obey God? There are many among you who say that you are unable to practice; that is because you don’t understand. People really are not paying attention to God’s work of today! Many words I have said long ago, it is just that you didn’t remotely pay attention to reading them, so it’s no wonder you don’t know how to practice. 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, pleasurable feelings that often occur in your life. Every once in a while a day comes where you feel that God is so lovely and you cannot help but pray to Him: “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 of myself 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 to you by the Holy Spirit. It is not enlightenment, nor is it illumination; it is a stirring. Experiences similar to this will happen now and then. Sometimes when you’re on your way to work, you will pray and get close to God, moving you to the point that tears will wet your face and that you cannot control yourself; you will be anxious to find suitable surroundings where you can express all the fervor inside your heart…. At times when you are in a public area, you will feel that you enjoy so much of God’s love, that your lot is anything but ordinary, and even more that you are living your life with more meaning than anyone else. 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 in God that is inexpressible and unfathomable for man, as if you know it but have no way to describe 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, and you will speak out: “Oh God! You are so hard for man to understand, and You are so beloved!” Sometimes you may even engage in some strange, eccentric actions that others find inexplicable. These are all things that can happen frequently. In your experiences, there are so many similar lives, and they are all the lives that the Holy Spirit has given to you today and the lives 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. You may understand it in your heart, but you have no way to express it clearly to anyone at all. This is 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. You are allowed to enjoy these things today, and this is the life you should be living. Of course, your other life is not empty; it’s just that that kind of stirring becomes a sort of joy in your life that makes you always wish to enjoy such stirrings of the Holy Spirit. But you should know that being moved in this way is not so you can transcend the flesh and go to the third heaven or to have you travel all over the world. Rather it is so that you can feel and taste the love of God that you have enjoyed today, experience the significance of God’s work today, and relive God’s care and protection. All these things are for you to have a greater knowledge of the work God does today—this is God’s goal in doing this work.
The life of searching and feeling one’s way along 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 have seen God and He tells you directly how you should practice; this is why you no longer need to feel your way about or search. The path led by Him is the way of truth, and the things He tells to man and that man receives are the life and the truth. You have the way, the life and the truth, so what need is there to go searching everywhere? The Holy Spirit will not do two stages of work simultaneously. If, when I have finished speaking My word, people do not eat and drink God’s words carefully and pursue the truth properly, still as they were in the Age of Grace like the blind finding their way, constantly praying and searching, wouldn’t that mean that this stage of My work of words 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 caliber. This problem can be resolved through the church life and through fellowshiping with each other. Before in the Age of Grace, though God was incarnated, He did not do the work of words, which is why the Holy Spirit worked that way at the time in order to maintain the work. At that time it was primarily the Holy Spirit that 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. Before, as long as people frequently prayed they experienced peace and joy; there was reproach as well as discipline. All this pertained to the work of the Holy Spirit. Now these states are few and far between. 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 did not count and what the Spirit did counted, 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 its very source.
There were too many deviations and errors in people’s past experiences. There were some things that people of proper humanity were meant to have or do, or there were mistakes that were difficult to avoid in human life, and when these things were handled poorly, 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 is probably God’s discipline. God is dealing with my vain heart again; my vanity really is too strong.” Actually, as far as man’s normal way of thinking is concerned, when guests come over you get excited and rush about, disorganized in everything you’re doing. As a result, if the rice doesn’t end up burnt, then your dishes are too salty. This comes about from being too worked up, but people end up putting it down to “God’s discipline.” In fact, this all pertains to mistakes in human life. Wouldn’t you also frequently encounter this kind of thing if you didn’t believe in God? There are many things that pertain to people’s faults, their errors; but they are not done by the Holy Spirit and they have nothing to do with God. Like when you bite your tongue while eating—could that be God’s discipline? God’s discipline has principles and is usually seen when you knowingly commit offense. Only when you do things involving God’s name or concerning His testimony or work will He discipline you. People understand enough of the truth now to have inner awareness of the things they do. For example: Could you possibly feel nothing if you embezzled the church’s money or you spent it recklessly? You would feel something when doing that. It is not possible to do something and then only start to feel something after it’s over. You are clear in your heart on the things you do that go against your conscience. Though they may clearly know how to put the truth into practice, since everyone has their own likes, they simply indulge themselves, so after they do something they have no apparent feeling of reproach or discipline. They knowingly commit offense, so God won’t discipline them; once the time of righteous judgment comes, God’s retribution will be brought upon each according to their actions. There are currently some people in the church who embezzle money, some who do not keep clear boundaries between men and women, and some who judge, defy and try to demolish God’s work in secret. Why is all yet well with them? When doing things they have awareness and reproach in their hearts and because of this sometimes suffer chastisement and refinement. It is just that people are so shameless! Just like when people engage in promiscuity—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 disciplines them, it will be to no avail, so the Holy Spirit will not discipline them. If the Holy Spirit does not discipline them then, if there is no reproach and nothing happens to their flesh, what reproach or discipline could there be afterward? The deed is done—what discipline could there be? It only proves that they are too shameless and lacking in humanity, deserving of curses and punishment! The Holy Spirit does not work needlessly. If you know the truth very well but do not put it into practice, if you are capable of doing anything at all, then all you can await is the coming of that day when you will be punished along with the evil one. This is the best end for you! Now I have repeatedly preached about conscience, which is the lowest standard. If people lack conscience, they won’t have the discipline of the Holy Spirit either, and they can do whatever they wish. God pays them no mind. If someone truly has conscience and reason, they will be aware of it when they do something wrong. They’ll feel uneasy once they feel a bit of reproach in their conscience; they will undergo an inner battle and ultimately forsake the flesh. It won’t get to the point of doing anything opposing God that is too grave. Regardless of whether the Holy Spirit disciplines and chastises, people will all have some feeling when they do something wrong.[a] Therefore, people now understand all kinds of truths and if they don’t practice them then that is a human issue. I do not react to people like this at all, nor do I hold onto any hope for them. You can do as you please!
When some people get together, they 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. It pertains to things of a negative aspect, and you can’t always keep your eyes fixed on other people. Your knowledge of how the Holy Spirit works is now too little, your belief in God is too superficial, and you possess too few positive things. The One you believe in is God, the One you need to understand is God, not Satan. If you only recognize how Satan works and all the ways in which evil spirits work, but have no knowledge of God whatsoever, what significance 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, nor do you have a grasp on it, so what on earth is it you want to gain in your faith? Do you not know how you should be pursuing? You have many “textbooks” of negative things but you draw a blank on the positive aspect of entry, so how can your stature ever grow? What future prospects for development will a person have who talks of nothing but the war with Satan? Isn’t your entry too outdated? This way what things will you be able to gain from the current work? 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 eat and drink, experience, and understand them, how they should satisfy God’s will, be completely conquered by God and submit before God…. You should focus on these things and 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 have a complete understanding of evil spirits, but if you are unable to say anything about the work of God, can that act as a substitute for understanding God? I have previously fellowshiped about the expressions of the work of evil spirits, but this hasn’t been the bulk of it. Of course people should also have a little discernment and this is an aspect that those who serve God should possess in order to avoid doing foolish things and interrupting God’s work. However, the most important thing remains having knowledge of God’s work and understanding God’s will. What knowledge of this stage of God’s work is there within you? Can you talk about what it is that God does, what God’s will is, what your own shortcomings are and what things you should equip yourself with? Can you say what your newest entry is? You should be able to reap fruit and achieve understanding in your new entries. Don’t feign confusion; you must make more effort in your new entries to deepen your own experience and knowledge, and even more must gain a grasp on the newest entries and the most correct way of experiencing. You should also have discernment on your previous outdated and deviated practices from this new work and entry, and seek how to cast off your outdated and deviated ways of practices in order to enter into new experiences. These are things that you now urgently need to understand and enter into. You must understand the differences and the relationship between the 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. You must be able to use the proper eating and drinking of God’s word and proper fellowship to change your previous outdated ways of practice and your old traditional notions so that you can enter a new practice, and enter into God’s new work. These are things you ought to achieve. I’m not just asking you now to figure out whether you’re Tweedledum or Tweedledee; this isn’t the goal. Rather I am asking you to take seriously your practice of the truth and your understanding of entry into life. Being able to know yourself does not represent your true stature. If you can experience God’s work, have experience and understanding of the truths in God’s words, and are able to discern your previous personal notions and errors, then this is your true stature and is something that everyone among you should achieve.
There are many things in which you simply don’t know how to practice, and you know less of 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 eating and drinking God’s words, so you have an inner feeling of reproach and disquiet; of course this is a feeling that one will feel only on the basis of knowing some truth. If people don’t cooperate or practice in accordance with God’s word of today, that is obstructing the Holy Spirit’s work and they will necessarily feel disquiet within. You understand the principle of this aspect but you don’t practice accordingly, so you suffer a feeling of reproach within. If you don’t understand this principle, if you don’t know this aspect of the truth at all, then you won’t necessarily feel a sense of reproach on this matter; the Holy Spirit’s reproach is with context. You think that because you haven’t prayed, haven’t cooperated with the Holy Spirit’s work, you have delayed the work. In actual fact it cannot be delayed. The Holy Spirit will move someone else; the Holy Spirit’s work is constrained by no one. You feel you have let God down, and this is a feeling you should have in your conscience; whether you can gain the truth or not is your own business and is unrelated to God. Sometimes it is your own conscience that feels accused, 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 of human conscience. If it involves the name of God, the testimony of God or the work of God, and you act wildly, then God will not let you off. But it has a limit—God will not bother with you in common, small matters. He will ignore you. If you violate the principles, disrupting and disturbing God’s work, He will express His wrath to you and absolutely will not let you off. Some things are mistakes that occur in human life and are difficult to avoid. For example, you don’t steam your buns right and say it is God 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? You feel that it seems to be the Holy Spirit’s discipline, but in fact this is not the case (some exceptional circumstances aside), because this work does not wholly come from the Holy Spirit. Instead those are human feelings. But it is normal for people of faith to think along those lines. 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 along these lines and then you automatically began to think along these lines. This arises from normal people’s thinking and it also pertains to the function of their own mentality. But let Me tell you, this is not something within 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 absolutely no link to the enlightenment or illumination of the Holy Spirit. They are two completely different things and it does not wholly come from 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. He also allows them to understand God’s eager intentions and His requirements for man today, so that they have the resolve to sacrifice everything to satisfy God, that they must love God even if they meet with persecution and adversity, that they will stand witness for God even if it means shedding their blood or giving their life; they will have no regrets. If you have this kind of resolve it 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 when you pray and eat and drink God’s words, you can feel extremely moved and inspired. It feels so new and fresh when others share some fellowship on their experience and understanding of God’s words, and your heart is perfectly clear and bright. This all pertains to the work of the Holy Spirit. If you are a leader and the Holy Spirit gives you exceptional enlightenment and illumination when you go down to the church to work, allowing you to see into the problems that exist within the church and know how to share fellowship on the truth to resolve them, making you incredibly earnest, responsible and serious in your work, all of this pertains to the work of the Holy Spirit.
a. The original text does not contain the word “wrong.”