53. The Principles to Be Observed Concerning the Growth of One’s Spiritual Life
1. You must focus on eating and drinking the words of God and accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, so as to truly know and obey God’s work;
2. You must obey all the pruning and dealing, and the trials and refinement that come from God, so as to understand the truth and have true knowledge of God;
3. In your duties, you must always use the truth to resolve your own corruption and transgressions, so as to achieve real results in your duties and gain God’s approval;
4. Pray often to God and have real association with God within God’s words, obtain the guidance and perfection of the work of the Holy Spirit and be able to serve God according to the truth.
Relevant Words of God:
In seeking life, you must pay attention to two basic things: 1) to understand the truth within God’s word, and 2) to understand yourself within God’s word. These two things are most fundamental. There is no life or truth outside of God’s word. If you do not seek the truth within God’s word, where then can you go to seek it? … The most important things in understanding the truth in God’s word include the understanding of God within His word, the understanding of human life within His word and the understanding of all aspects of the truth within His word. For example, the true understanding of oneself and discovering the meaning of man’s existence within God’s word…. All truth is within God’s word. You cannot enter into the truth unless it is done through the word of God. The main outcome you must reach is to know what a real understanding of God’s word is. With a real understanding of God’s word you can then understand the truth: This is the most fundamental thing.
from “Only by Seeking the Truth Can You Obtain Changes in Your Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks
And right now the most critical point is following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. You follow whatever God says; you obey whatever He says. People cannot change their disposition themselves; they must undergo the judgment and chastisement and painful refinement of God’s words, or being dealt with, disciplined, and pruned by His words. Only after that can they achieve obedience and devotion to God, and not try to fool Him and deal with Him perfunctorily. It is under the refinement of God’s words that people have a change in disposition. Only those who undergo the exposure, judgment, disciplining, and dealing with of His words will no longer dare to do things recklessly, and will become calm and collected. The most important point is that they are able to obey God’s current words and obey God’s work, and even if it is not in line with human notions, they can put them aside and intentionally obey.
from “Those Whose Disposition Has Changed Are Those Who Have Entered Into the Reality of God’s Words” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
You are all willing to pursue growing up in your lives and loving God, so have you ridden yourself of your superficial ways? If you only rid yourself of those ways and you do not cause any disruptions or show off yourself, is that really pursuing growing up in your life? If you don’t have any kind of superficial behaviors at all but you do not enter into God’s words, it means that you are a person who doesn’t have any proactive progress. What’s the root of adopting superficial behaviors? Are your actions for the sake of growing up in your life? Are you pursuing being qualified to be one of God’s people? Whatever it is that you focus on is what you live out; if you focus on superficial ways then your heart is focused externally, and you will have no way to pursue growing up in your life. God requires a change in disposition, but you are always pursuing outward things; this type of person will have no way to change their disposition! Everyone has a certain way before they have become mature in their life, which is that they must accept the judgment, the chastisement, and the perfecting of God’s words. If you do not have God’s words but you only rely on your own confidence and will, everything you do is just based on zeal. That is, if you want growth in your life you must eat and drink, and understand God’s words more. All those who are perfected by His words are able to live them out; those who do not undergo the refinement of His words, who do not undergo the judgment of His words cannot be fit for His use. So to what degree do you live out His words? Only if you eat and drink God’s words and are able to compare them to your own state of life, and find a path of practice in light of the issues I bring up will your practice be correct. It will also be after God’s heart. Only someone who has this kind of practice is one who has the will to love God.
from “Genuine Love for God Is Spontaneous” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The truth is not inherently possessed by man, and is not easily understood by those who have been corrupted by Satan; man is devoid of the truth, and devoid of the resolve to put the truth into practice, and if he does not suffer, and is not refined or judged, then his resolve will never be made perfect. For all people, refinement is excruciating, and very difficult to accept—yet it is during refinement that God makes plain His righteous disposition to man, and makes public His requirements for man, and provides more enlightenment, and more actual pruning and dealing; through the comparison between the facts and the truth, He gives man a greater knowledge of himself and the truth, and gives man a greater understanding of God’s will, thus allowing man to have a truer and purer love of God. Such are God’s aims in carrying out refinement. All the work that God does in man has its own aims and significance; God does not do meaningless work, nor does He do work that is without benefit to man. Refinement does not mean removing people from before God, nor does it mean destroying them in hell. It means changing man’s disposition during refinement, changing his motivations, his old views, changing his love for God, and changing his whole life. Refinement is a real test of man, and a form of real training, and only during refinement can his love serve its inherent function.
from “Only by Experiencing Refinement Can Man Truly Love God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
When God works to refine man, man suffers, his love of God becomes greater, and more of God’s might is revealed in him. The less man’s refinement, the less his love of God, and the less God’s might is revealed in him. The greater his refinement and pain and the more his torment, the deeper his true love of God will be, the more genuine his faith in God will be, and the deeper his knowledge of God will be. In your experiences you will see that those who suffer great refinement and pain, and much dealing and discipline have a deep love of God, and a more profound and penetrating knowledge of God. Those who have not experienced being dealt with have but a superficial knowledge, and can only say: “God is so good, He bestows grace upon people so that they can enjoy Him.” If people have experienced being dealt with and disciplined, then they are able to speak the true knowledge of God. So the more wondrous God’s work in man is, the more valuable and significant it is. The more impenetrable it is to you and the more incompatible it is with your notions, the more God’s work is able to conquer you, gain you, and make you perfect.
from “Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
During the process of seeking to enter, every matter must be investigated and compared against God’s word and compared against the truth; they must be thoroughly mulled over to know how to do them in a way that is entirely in conformity with God’s will. Things that arise from your self-will can then be abandoned. You will know how to do things in conformity with God’s will and will then go and do them, as though everything is taking its natural course, and it will feel exceedingly easy. People who have the truth do things in this way. You can then really show others that you have genuinely changed your disposition, others will see that you surely possess some good deeds, and that you do things in a principled way, and do everything right. They will see that this is someone who understands the truth, who certainly has some human likeness and, sure enough, the word of God has reaped results with them. After someone has really understood the truth, they can then discern their own states, understand thoroughly all complicated matters and know how they should do things the right way. If you don’t understand the truth, you will not be able to discern your own states. You will want to rebel against yourself but will not know how to do this or what you are rebelling against; you will want to abandon your self-will but if you think that your self-will conforms to the truth, then how can you abandon it? You perhaps may even think that it is enlightened by the Holy Spirit and so will not abandon it no matter what. Therefore, when someone has no truth, it is very easy for them to think that those things that arise from their own wills, as well as the impurity of man, the good intentions of man, the blind love of man and the conduct of man, are all correct, that they conform to the truth—how then can you rebel against them? If you don’t understand the truth, nor know what putting the truth into practice is, if your eyes are clouded and you don’t know which way to turn so can only do things based on what you think is right, then you will do some things that will be deviated or erroneous, some that will keep rules, some that will arise from enthusiasm and there will be some that have arisen from Satan and that will bring forth disturbances. People who do not have the truth do things in this way: A little to the left, then a little to the right, correct one minute then deviating the next, with no accuracy at all. Those who do not have the truth regard things all wrongly, so how can they then properly handle matters? How can they resolve any problem? Understanding God’s word is not an easy thing to do, and the truth that people are capable of understanding also has its limits. … You must therefore expend effort in understanding God’s word and only by understanding the truth can you have discernment.
from “Only by Seeking the Truth Can You Obtain Changes in Your Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks
So long as our hearts look up to Him at all times and we enter into the spirit and associate with Him, then He will show us all the things we seek and His will is sure to be revealed to us; our hearts will then be in joy and peace, steady with perfect clarity. It is crucial to be able to act according to His words; being able to grasp His will and living in dependence on His words—only this is true experience.
from “The Seventh Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Prayer is of the utmost importance for you. When you pray, you receive the work of the Holy Spirit, your heart is thus touched by God, and the strength of the love for God within you comes forth. If you do not pray with your heart, if you do not open your heart to commune with God, then God will have no way of working within you. If, having prayed, you have spoken all the words within your heart and the Spirit of God has not stirred, if you do not feel inspired inside, then this shows that your heart is not earnest, that your words are not true, and still impure. If, having prayed, you are gratified, then your prayers have been accepted by God and the Spirit of God has worked within you. As someone who serves before God, you cannot be without prayers. If you truly see fellowship with God as something that is meaningful and valuable, could you forsake prayer? No one can be without communion with God. Without prayer, you live in the flesh, you live in the bondage of Satan; without true prayer, you live under the influence of darkness. I hope that the brothers and sisters are able to truly pray each and every day. This is not adherence to doctrine, however, but an effect that must be achieved. Are you willing to forgo a little sleep and gratification, saying morning prayers at dawn and then enjoying the words of God? If you pray and eat and drink the words of God, in this way, with a pure heart, then you will be more accepted by God. If you do every day, practicing giving your heart to God each day and communing with God, then your knowledge of God is sure to increase, and you will be better able to grasp God’s will. You should say: “O God! I wish to fulfill my duty. In order that You may be glorified in us, and may enjoy the testimony in us, this group of people, I can but devote my entire being to You. I beg You to work within us, so that I can truly love and satisfy You, and make You the objective that I pursue.” When you are possessed of this burden, God will surely make you perfect; you should not only pray for the sake of yourself, but also for the sake of carrying out the will of God, and for the sake of loving Him. Such is the truest kind of prayer.
from “Concerning the Practice of Prayer” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Prayer is not a ceremony, there is a lot of significance in it. We can see from people’s prayers that they are directly serving God. If you look at this as a ceremony, then you will certainly not serve God well. It can be said that if your prayers are not earnest or sincere, then God will not count you, He will ignore you. If you are ignored, will you have the Holy Spirit working in you? Therefore, you lose energy in doing your work. From now on, without prayer, you can’t work. It is prayer that brings work and prayer that brings service. You are a leader and a person who serves God, but you have never devoted yourself to prayer and have never been serious in your prayers. In serving this way, you will fail.
from “The Significance and Practice of Prayer” in Records of Christ’s Talks
The Man’s Fellowship:
Remember, it’s nearly impossible for anyone to avoid making errors at work, so if you find transgressions or errors, always seize the opportunity to reflect on yourself. Go before God, check and analyze your actions against God’s word, and try to avoid repeating your transgressions in the future. If you become rash as you serve God, your own ideas will emerge. You will become careless, sloppy, and take reckless, overly ambitious steps. This is dangerous. When you discover this nature in yourself, inspect it and get it under control immediately, especially where ideas concerning money, status, and relations between opposite sexes appear. Control yourself to prevent problems from occurring. Sometimes a certain person doesn’t do a good job and ruins things, and as you deal with him, your temper becomes heated and you speak roughly or become angry. This should not be considered a major problem and does not constitute a transgression. This is simply being quick-tempered, and all you need to do is be careful of it and overcome it. At other times you might make an error and cause harm to God’s house. At times like this, simply absorb what lessons you can, but only so long as no major damage is done. All these things are impossible to avoid. Everyone has problems at work, and no one is immune to making minor transgressions, but don’t make major transgressions. Why do leaders have to meet periodically to receive pruning and dealing? Because this is most helpful and beneficial. But the most important thing is that we must seek more understanding of the truth in God’s word. We must strive to understand the truth, pursue a change in our life disposition. This is positively seeking entry. Doing so will gradually reduce the transgressions you make in your work and produce change within you as you work, making your state more and more normal. This is the most effective way to avoid transgressions.
from “One Must Have Principles in Serving God” in Collection of Sermons—Supply for Life