The peace and joy I speak of today are not the same as those that you believe in and understand. You used to think that peace and joy meant being happy all day long, the absence of disease or misfortune in your family, always being pleased in your heart, without any feelings of sorrow, and an indescribable joy inside you regardless of the extent of your own life. That was in addition to an increase in your husband’s salary and your son just getting into university. Thinking of these things, you prayed to God, you saw that God’s grace was so great, you were so happy that you smiled from ear to ear, and you couldn’t stop thanking God. Such peace and joy is not true joy and peace, nor is it the peace and joy of having the presence of the Holy Spirit. It is the peace and joy of the satisfaction of your flesh. You should understand what age it is today; now is not the Age of Grace, and is no longer the time when you seek to fill your bellies with bread. You might be overjoyed because all goes well with your family, but your life is gasping its last breath—and thus, regardless of how great your joy, the Holy Spirit is not with you. Having the presence of the Holy Spirit is simple: do what you ought to properly, perform the duty and function of man well, be able to equip yourself with the things you need and make up for your shortcomings. If you are always emburdened by your life, and are happy because you have perceived a truth or understood God’s work of today, this is truly having the presence of the Holy Spirit. You may be seized by anxiety when you encounter something that you don’t know how to experience, or when you are unable to perceive a truth that is communed—this proves that the Holy Spirit is with you; this is a common state in life experience. You must understand the difference between having the presence of the Holy Spirit and not having the presence of the Holy Spirit, and must not be overly simplistic in your view of this.
Previously, it was said that having the presence of the Holy Spirit and the work of the Holy Spirit are different. The ordinary state of having the presence of the Holy Spirit is manifested in having normal thoughts, normal rationality, and normal humanity. A person’s character will remain as it used to be, but within them there will be peace, and externally they will have the decorum of a saint. This will be when the Holy Spirit is with them. When the Holy Spirit is with them, people have normal thoughts. They eat when they’re supposed to, when they’re hungry they want to eat, when they’re thirsty they want to drink water … such manifestations of ordinary humanity are not the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, they are people’s normal thoughts and the normal state of having the presence of the Holy Spirit. Some people wrongly believe that those who have the presence of the Holy Spirit do not feel hungry, that they feel no tiredness, and moreover, give no thought to family, having almost completely divorced themselves from the flesh. In fact, the more the Holy Spirit is with people, the more normal they are. They know to suffer for God, expend themselves for God, and be loyal to God, they know to forsake, and, moreover, they know to eat and wear clothes. In other words, they have lost nothing of the normal humanity that they ought to have and are, instead, especially possessed of rationality. Sometimes, when they are reading books and pondering the work of God, there is faith in their hearts and they are willing to pursue the truth. Naturally, the work of the Holy Spirit is based upon this foundation. If people are without normal thoughts, then they have no rationality, which is not a normal state. When people have normal thoughts and the Holy Spirit is with them, they inevitably possess the rationality of a normal man, meaning they have a normal state. In the experiencing of God’s work, there are certain times for the work of the Holy Spirit, whereas the presence of the Holy Spirit is often at all times. As long as people’s rationality is normal, their states are normal, and the thoughts within them are normal, then the Holy Spirit is surely with them. When people’s rationality and thoughts are not normal, then their humanity is not normal. If, at this moment, the work of the Holy Spirit is in you, then the Holy Spirit will surely also be with you. But if the Holy Spirit is with you, there will not necessarily be the work of the Holy Spirit within you, for the Holy Spirit works at special times. Having the presence of the Holy Spirit can only maintain people’s normal existence, but the Holy Spirit only works at certain times. For example, when you are one of those who work for God, when you go to the churches the Holy Spirit enlightens you with some words, and this is when the Holy Spirit is working. Sometimes you are reading and the Holy Spirit enlightens you with some words, and you find yourself especially able to hold them up against your own experiences, giving you a greater knowledge of your own state; you have been enlightened, and this is also the work of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, as I speak and you listen below, you are able to measure My words against your own states, sometimes you are touched or inspired, and this is the work of the Holy Spirit. Some people say that the Holy Spirit is working in them at all times. This is impossible. If they were to say that the Holy Spirit is always with them, that would be realistic. If they were to say that their thinking and sense are normal at all times, that would also be realistic, and would show that the Holy Spirit is with them. If they say the Holy Spirit is always working within them, that they are enlightened by God and touched by the Holy Spirit at every moment, and gain new knowledge all the time, then this is not normal. It is extremely supernatural! Without a shadow of a doubt, such people are evil spirits! Even when the Spirit of God comes into the flesh, there are times when He must eat, and must rest—to say nothing of man. Those who have been possessed by evil spirits seem to be without emotion and the weakness of the flesh. They are able to forsake and give up everything, they are capable of enduring torment and do not feel the slightest fatigue, as if they have transcended the flesh. Is this not extremely supernatural? The work of the evil spirit is supernatural, and these things are unattainable by man. Those who cannot differentiate are envious when they see such people, and say that their belief in God is so strong and they have great faith, and that they are never weak. In fact, this is the manifestation of the work of the evil spirit. That is because normal people inevitably have human weaknesses; this is the normal state of those who have the presence of the Holy Spirit.
What does it mean to stand firm in one’s testimony? Some people say they just follow like this and don’t concern themselves with whether they are capable of gaining life, and do not pursue life, but they don’t turn back, either. They acknowledge only that this stage of work is carried out by God. In all this, have they not failed in their testimony? They don’t even bear testimony to being conquered. Those who have been conquered follow regardless of all else and are able to pursue life. They not only believe in the practical God, but also know to follow all of God’s arrangements. Such are those who bear testimony. Those who do not bear testimony have never pursued life and are still following by muddling along. You may follow, but this doesn’t mean you have been conquered, for you know nothing of God’s work today. Being conquered is conditional. Not all who follow have been conquered, for in your heart you understand nothing of why you must follow the God of today, nor do you know how you have made it to today, who has supported you up until today. In their belief in God, some people spend all day in confusion; thus, following does not necessarily mean you are bearing testimony. What is exactly true testimony? The testimony spoken of here has two parts: One is testimony to having been conquered, and the other is testimony to having been made perfect (which, naturally, is testimony following the greater trials and the tribulations of the future). In other words, if you are able to stand firm during tribulations and trials, then you have borne the second step of testimony. What’s crucial today is the first step of testimony: being able to stand firm during every instance of the trials of chastisement and judgment. This is testimony to being conquered. That’s because today is the time of conquest. (You should know that today is the time of God’s work on earth; the incarnate God’s main work on earth is the use of judgment and chastisement to conquer this group of people on earth who follow Him.) Whether or not you are capable of testimony to being conquered not only depends on whether you are able to follow to the very end, but, more importantly, on whether, as you experience each step of God’s work, you are capable of the true knowledge of the chastisement and judgment in this work, and on whether you truly see all of this work. It is not the case that you’ll be able to muddle through if you follow to the very end. You must be able to willingly surrender during every instance of chastisement and judgment, must be capable of the true knowledge of each step of work you experience, and must be able to attain the knowledge of, and obedience to God’s disposition. This is the ultimate testimony to being conquered that is required of you. Testimony of being conquered primarily refers to your knowledge of the incarnation of God. Crucially, this step of testimony is to the incarnation of God. It matters not what you do or say before the people of the world or those who wield power; what matters above all is whether you are able to obey all of the words from God’s mouth and all of His work. Therefore, this step of testimony is directed at Satan and all enemies of God—the demons and hostiles who do not believe that God will become flesh a second time and come to do even greater work, and furthermore, don’t believe in the fact of God’s return to the flesh. In other words, it is directed at all the antichrists—all the enemies who don’t believe in the incarnation of God.
Missing God and yearning for God doesn’t prove that you have been conquered by God; that depends on whether you believe that He is the Word become flesh, whether you believe that the Word has become flesh, and whether you believe that the Spirit has become the Word, and the Word has appeared in the flesh. This is the key testimony. It matters not how you follow, nor how you expend yourself; what’s crucial is whether you are able to discover from this normal humanity that the Word has become flesh and the Spirit of truth has been realized in the flesh—that all the truth, the life, and the way has come in the flesh, and the Spirit has really arrived on earth and in the flesh. Although, superficially, this appears different from the conception by the Holy Spirit, in this work you are able to see more clearly that the Spirit has already been realized in the flesh, and, moreover, that the Word has become flesh, and the Word has appeared in the flesh, and you are able to understand the true meaning of the words: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Moreover, you must understand the words of today are God, and you must behold the Word becomes flesh. This is the best testimony you can bear. This proves that you possess the true knowledge of God become flesh—you are not only able to know and dissect Him, but are also aware that the way you walk today is the way of life, and the way of truth. Jesus did a stage of work which only fulfilled the substance of “the Word was with God”: The truth of God was with God, and the Spirit of God was with the flesh and was inseparable from Him, that is, the flesh of God incarnate was with the Spirit of God, which is greater proof that Jesus incarnate was the first incarnation of God. This stage of work fulfilled the inner meaning of “the Word becomes flesh,” lent deeper meaning to “the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” and allows you to firmly believe the words that “In the beginning was the Word.” Which is to say, at the time of creation God was possessed of words, His words were with Him and inseparable from Him, and the final age makes even clearer the power and authority of His words, and allows man to see all of His words—to hear all of His words. Such is the work of the final age. You must come to know these things through and through. It is not a question of knowing the flesh, but of knowing the flesh and the Word. This is that to which you must bear witness, that which everyone must know. Because this is the work of the second incarnation—and the last time that God becomes flesh—it fully completes the significance of the incarnation, thoroughly carries out and issues forth all of God’s work in the flesh, and brings to an end the era of God’s being in the flesh. Thus, you must know the meaning of the incarnation. It matters not how much you run around, or how well you carry out other external matters; what matters is whether you are able to truly submit before God incarnate and devote your entire being to God, and obey all of the words that come from His mouth. This is what you should do, and what you should abide by.
The testimony of the last days is testimony to whether or not you are able to be made perfect—which is to say, the final testimony is that, having accepted all of the words spoken from the mouth of God incarnate, and having come to possess the knowledge of God and be certain about Him, you live out all the words from God’s mouth, and achieve the conditions God asks of you—the style of Peter and faith of Job, such that you can obey unto death, give yourself over entirely to Him, and ultimately achieve an image of man that is up to standard—which means the image of someone who has been conquered, chastised, judged, and made perfect. This is the testimony that ought to be borne by one who is ultimately made perfect. These are the two steps of testimony you should bear, and they are interrelated, each indispensable. But there’s one thing you must know: The testimony I require of you today is not directed at the people of the world, nor any single individual, but at that which I ask of you. It is measured by whether you are able to satisfy Me, and whether you are able to completely meet the standards of My requirements of each one of you. This is what you should understand.