Chapter 70. Grasping the Principles Leads to the Path of Practice
You are born in this modern age and all with some experience and knowledge. You no doubt have a great deal more knowledge than those of the previous generation, and understand more than them as well. In accordance with all the qualifications that modern people possess, you shouldn’t be confused when you do some work in the course of your belief in God, so why are you so unfamiliar with the matter of belief in God? How come it is so hard for you to do the work upon entering God’s family? How come it is so hard for you to act in conformity with principles and with the truth? Did you try to find the reason? You read some of God’s words, and some of you say, “I can pray-read these words for a month, pray-read them every day, and I feel much enjoyment and feel very much the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment.” And some say, “I look at these words every day, I give them a gaze for at least 10 or 20 minutes, and I feel I am face-to-face with God, that I am having a heart-to-heart with God. I feel that God is right there before me and He is inside my heart. Reading these words, I feel much enjoyment in my heart.” Yet you don’t comprehend the true meaning of the words, and you don’t know how to apply them if something happens to you. And yet every time you read them, you feel much enjoyment. Does this count as possessing the reality of the truth? Have you ever had times where you felt like that? You may feel very moved after reading a passage of God’s word and are able to learn it by heart, but you don’t know what God means when He speaks these words, what the truth of them is, what truth they express or which aspects of God’s will and His requirements are being spoken about. Can this count as possessing the reality of the truth? (No, it can’t.) So, what is meant by not possessing the reality of the truth? And what is meant by possessing the reality of the truth?
Some people read God’s words as though they were examining the features of the words and, every time they examine them, they spend 10 or 20 minutes doing this. They feel very moved after pray-reading a certain passage every day; is this feeling of being moved the reality of the truth? Furthermore, they are able to frequently recite these words from memory in order to help others, and use them to spur themselves on, support and provide for themselves; does this count as possessing the reality of the truth? What is this? Tell Me, this feeling of being moved, this feeling in their hearts—what is the situation here? (It is having some perceptual knowledge.) What does perceptual knowledge include? (Being able to understand the meaning these words are expressing, but being unable to grasp the inner meaning and not understanding God’s will.) What is the inner meaning? (Practical experience.) What is practical experience generally applied to? What does practical experience refer to? (Principles.) What generally are the principles? Is it not the reality of the truth? To say it simply, it is the truth of these words. These words have truth and people apply this truth to reality, they experience it and have knowledge of it. This is not a perceptual knowledge, but a practical experience, a practical feeling and a practical knowledge; this is what is meant by the reality of the truth. So, do you now know which truths you have experience of, and with which truths you possess the reality of the truth? Have you ever had that feeling where you take a passage of God’s words, you read the words literally, and you compare them against your own condition, and afterward, you feel incredibly moved and you feel that God’s words are talking about you, that they are aimed at your own condition? And you benefit from these words, you gain enlightenment and illumination, you gain provision, you feel that God’s words are great, you feel happy, and then your condition makes a U-turn. You think, “I’m alright. I understand God’s words. I know what God means when He says these things. Now I am in possession of the reality of the truth.” Have you ever felt like this? Have you often had this kind of feeling? (Yes.) So after you had this kind of feeling, did you feel you had truly gained the truth within this passage of God’s words? (No.) How is this measured? Do you know? Since you did not feel this way afterward, the feeling you had was most certainly a perceptual and temporary feeling of being moved. This was definitely not you gaining the reality of the truth and it was not you entering into the reality of the truth; what were you entering into? It was you entering into the literal level of meaning of those words. Now you all have some stature and you all understand a little. You have some perceptual knowledge of what it is to understand literal meanings and what it is to understand the truth. You all know that the mere understanding of the literal meanings is just letters and doctrines, and that cannot solve any problems. So how can you make these words become your life and change them into your life? That is, how can you have these words of God wrought into you and changed into your life? Have you had this kind of experience? Don’t allow them to be doctrines or literal meanings; instead, regard them as life, as truth, change them into your life, into your reality, and live them out. How do you achieve this? (Bring God’s words into real life and practice them, and practice them in every tiny little thing that happens in life.) This is the very least you should do, and it is the first step you need to achieve. What should you do next? Some of you have believed in God for 20 years and I’m surprised that you don’t know about this. You don’t know how to experience God’s words or how to eat God’s words and take them inside you so that they become your reality and become your own. God’s words and the truth are the life. What problems do you resolve by using them? Resolve your corrupt dispositions—your rebelliousness, your conceptions, imaginations, your arrogant disposition—they are used to resolve these things, aren’t they? Have you ever had an experience whereby some passage of God’s words resolves an aspect of your corrupt disposition, whereby you are experiencing that aspect and are using God’s words to resolve your problem of that aspect? Or have you ever had this experience whereby you feel God’s words can become man’s life, resolve his corrupt dispositions, resolve his rebelliousness, that God’s words can provide for and help man at all times, show him the way and give him direction? (Yes.) Which of your faults and problems did God’s words resolve? Which aspects of your corrupt dispositions did they resolve?
Can reciting God’s words resolve the problems of corrupt disposition? Can problems of corruption be resolved by frequently spreading the words of God and always fellowshiping God’s words with others? Can the problems of corrupt disposition be resolved by always directing God’s words at other people and preaching to them? (No.) Then how can man’s corrupt disposition be resolved? By exercising restraint? By covering it up? By speaking less? By doing nothing? By finding somewhere to hide? (No.) Then what should people do? (Facing our own problems, and knowing ourselves through God’s words.) Knowing yourselves through God’s words and checking yourselves against them, right? So after you’ve checked yourselves against God’s words, how then do you resolve your corrupt disposition? Do you know what the most important thing is when you are practicing the truth? We say it often—isn’t it that you must first of all grasp the principles? What are the principles? Principles are the practical side of the truth. On a literal level, you think God’s words are the truth, but you don’t grasp the principles behind them; you feel the words are correct, but you don’t know anything about their practical side, what they are aimed at, what condition they’re aimed at, and you cannot grasp the paths and principles of practice that they show you. To you, this truth is just a doctrine. But the moment you grasp the principles behind these words, and when you’re willing to pay the price and are able to put them into practice, and when you’re willing to seek the truth and are able to put the truth into practice, then you will gain that truth. And as you are gaining that truth, your corrupt disposition is being resolved little by little, and that truth is being wrought into you. When you are able to put the reality of the truth into your practice, and when you do your duty, do everything, and conduct yourself according to the principle for practicing this truth, are you not then changed? What kind of person have you changed into? Above all, you have changed into someone who is in possession of the reality of the truth. Is someone who is in possession of the reality of the truth someone who acts with principles? And is someone who acts with principles someone who is in possession of the truth? Is someone who is in possession of the truth able to conform to God’s will? (Yes.) This is how it works. Understand? Is it complicated? (No.)
People always say, “I don’t have the truth, I don’t have the truth,” but what does it mean not to have the truth? It means people do not act with principles, they haven’t understood the reality of the truth, nor have they grasped the essence of the truth, or its practical side. You merely understand the literal meaning, but you have no idea about the practical side of the truth, and so you don’t act with principles, you can’t do anything, and your hands are tied without knowing what the situation is. Therefore, despite the fact that you all have some skills and that most of you are good at professional work—in particular there are some who are especially proficient at certain skills or professional work—why is it so hard for you to apply these skills in doing your duties? Is it because you have no capability? Is it because you are uneducated? Is it because you never studied those skills to perfection? This can be said of some people, but it is not the case with others. We can’t lump everyone together and tar them all with the same brush. No matter how educated you are, how knowledgeable, how many professions or techniques you are capable of, what use are these things if you haven’t gained the truth and don’t understand the reality of the truth? They are of no use. Many people are confused and seem stupid when they begin to do things in God’s family. They find it hard to deal with. Why don’t they seem stupid after a year or two has gone by? Because they have gotten used to things? Or they have progressed in certain aspects? What have they gained that has resolved this problem? (They understand a little of the truth, and they can act somewhat with principles.) They can act somewhat with principles and they understand a little of the truth, and don’t they also act somewhat with direction? What is this called? Is it that they have begun to enter the reality of the truth? It is that they have begun to enter the reality of the truth. When you do some things now, don’t you feel surer than you were before? You felt unsure before, saying “Is it right to do this in this way or not?” No one knew, so you did things blindly. And afterward, you were either being dealt with or could not get any approval, always being told you were wrong, and so your hearts felt unhappy. What did you think when you were being dealt with back then? Did you think, “The above are so harsh! We can never get any acceptance. This isn’t right, that isn’t right. This isn’t correct, that isn’t correct. Why are they always regulating us?” You had a sulking fit, and did you feel rebellious? (Yes.) And how do you feel now? Do you now feel a lot better? (Yes.) Haven’t the facts proven that the above’s requirements of you have mostly been suitable? (Yes.) Have they benefited you? (Yes.) Have there been principles behind the requirements of you? (Yes.) You have grasped some principles, haven’t you?
Believing in God is not like learning some skill, where so long as you exert efforts then you can grind an iron pestle into a needle in three years, or five years. Belief in God depends most on one’s sincerity, not merely on one’s efforts. One must use one’s heart, truly practice and really exert oneself. One must not only pay the price, but one must also have belief in one’s heart, and must have the right direction and be on the right path. When people believed in God in the Age of Grace, at first they couldn’t read the majority of the words in the Bible, and didn’t know what they meant; after believing for three or for five years, they were able to recite some of those chapters that they’d often mentioned, and they felt that they had gained something, believing that their belief in God had borne fruit. After believing for another eight or ten years, they were able to recite most of the well-known sentences and chapters, and were able to read them; after another eight or ten years, they became veteran believers who could preach sermons, going passage by passage through most of the stories in the Bible, preaching and reading them aloud to others, and they felt they were qualified, that they were good enough and that entering into the kingdom of heaven was not a problem. Looking now at the way they thought, was it not preposterous? Can people gain anything by believing in God that way? (No.) What do people gain primarily by believing in God? Have you come to any spiritual realization about the significance of believing in God? Have you had any practical insights? What exactly is the point in believing in God? What exactly is the significance of every word God says to man? Do you have any knowledge of this question? Does anyone feel that God goes on too much, and that it would be great if His book was like a child’s picture story book about 10 pages long, that it would be enough to read only that much in one’s whole lifetime, and that it would be acceptable to just read and understand that much? Wouldn’t it be great if it were that easy! You feel that there are too many words and you’re a little sick of reading them. When you read them you get tired and want to go to sleep for a while. And when you wake up you feel that you must make effort to believe in God, and that if you don’t believe, then you won’t gain anything, and so you must keep reading. No matter how much you read, you cannot get into it. Particularly, when young people are at a loose end they desire to go online and look at all manner of games, the news, hot topics, or the current trends, or what clothes are popular on the market and what words are in vogue. After looking at these things they feel disturbed and feel a sense of evil, they feel they have been harmed by the devil, thinking “What can I do? When will I be able to overcome this?”
Young people all have some preferences and they all have these things in their minds. This is normal—don’t think of it as some kind of unpardonable crime, but don’t give it free rein either. Having preferences is okay, playing once in a while to relax is okay, going for a walk or a stroll is okay—just don’t be derelict in your duties. You must often pray, ask God to scrutinize you, to protect you, and you must keep quiet before God, do your duties well. This is the priority of belief in God. No matter how old you are—young, middle-aged, married or unmarried—people hate you when you are derelict in your duties. When you are derelict in your duties, wanting to laze about every day, always wanting to go for a stroll, to loaf about, to play or engage in chit chat, then no one will like you wherever you go. Do parents like children like this? (No, they don’t.) Your dad and your mom don’t like you; does God like you? He certainly doesn’t like you. So, what do you do since He doesn’t like you? (Do our duties.) One aspect is to do your duties; another is that young people must have a program for their lives. What do I mean by “program”? It means to know what you are doing during any time period in your life, to do what you’re supposed to be doing, to do things according to time, according to your plan, to be disciplined, to have rules and not to live free and easy, not to be dissipated. As soon as someone lives free and easy and is dissipated, doing whatever makes them happy, with no rules and no restrictions, then it’s over for them, and that kind of person is not able to accomplish anything. You believe in God, and it is not that God’s family has strict requirements of you. If you were in a company, or a work unit and you acted free and easy, and were always slovenly, taking two hours to do something that should take 10 minutes, going to have a drink of water while you’re supposed to be doing something, or going to the bathroom or going for a stroll, or having a chat with someone, then no one will want to hire you wherever you go, and no one will like you. Isn’t that right? What kind of person do people like normally? (People who work efficiently.) People who are efficient, credible and reliable in their actions, who are willing to pay the price, who get on with the job, who do things carefully, who can be trusted and who can take on responsibility—they are good people, good people who are up to the mark. And if they are people who also understand the truth, who act with principles, who aren’t slipshod in work, who can satisfy God’s will and who conform to the truth—what kind of person do they become? Do they not become a good person who possesses the truth? Doesn’t someone like this live a glorious life?
Therefore, no matter what preferences you young people had before, whether it was going to bed late, getting up late or making wisecracks, some bad habits need to change, and you must become someone with discipline, with humanity, who thinks properly, who speaks and acts with principles. Don’t disregard this matter. Above all, you must have a plan for your daily life, for what you need to do and how to do it every day of the week, what things to do and how to do them during every time period of every day; make a schedule that tells you at what time to rest, what time to do your duties, what time to take care of some personal business, what time to get up in the morning and what you do after you get up. If your work is not normally busy when you get up in the morning and if time is not too pressing, shouldn’t you do your spiritual devotions? This is the number one major issue after you open your eyes. If there is no regularity to your spiritual life then your faith will not be able to progress. Above all, your life must have rules. The first matter of the day is spiritual devotions and your spiritual devotions every day must be guaranteed; pray-read the words of God, pray in silence, sing hymns, contemplate God’s words, eat and drink the words of God more, find people who understand to fellowship with, find brothers and sisters to fellowship with, seek to resolve your difficulties, examine what corrupt dispositions you have revealed during this time, examine the things you’ve done that do not conform with God’s will, the things that have gone against the truth and the things that have no humanity and no morality. You must sum up each and every period of time, write down in your notepad. In this way, your heart will unknowingly become quiet before God and you will come to like the life of believing in God. You will then have no great interest in those things outside concerned with eating, playing or trends, you will see those things less and less frequently, and they will have less and less ability to attract you and lure you. Do you still sometimes want to go looking at this or that? (Yes.) So how do you handle it? Is there a principle you use? Is it okay to do whatever makes you happy? When you want to look at those things then you look at them for longer, and when you don’t want to look at those things, you don’t look at them for so long, and you do your duty for a bit. Is this an acceptable way to go about things? (No.) How come? It’s letting things take their course! (It’s indulgence of the flesh.) If you act like this then your life won’t be able to mature, you won’t be able to do your duty well and you won’t be able to gain the truth. Let Me be frank: If you believe in this way then you won’t be able to gain the truth, and it will be useless for you to spend your days here. Do you want to gain the truth? Do you want to live out a human likeness? (Yes.) So, what must the first step be? You must plan out your own life.
With regard to most of the young people who believe in God, they are following their parents in their belief, or they believe because they are under their families’ influence. If they themselves do not feel especially thirsty, then they’re not too interested in believing in God, and especially in terms of seeking the truth they are never able to get much enthusiasm up. When they come to meetings, their eyelids start fighting to stay open, and when they are not in meetings, they are full of life, they can go without sleep all night. One reason is that this corrupt mankind has no liking for the truth and it is their nature not to like the truth; another reason is that, when people are around 20 years old, they have no concept of doing their duty or not doing their duty, and they are very weak on the concepts of human life, the destination that awaits, belief in God, created beings, the Creator, the heavens and earth and all things, and their awareness is very indistinct and unclear; add to that the great power of seduction that all manner of information in the mortal world of today, and that trends have on people, and people’s hearts find it hard to quiet down. You yourselves have these conditions, and if in this external environment you don’t regulate your own lives, then you will find it hard to carry on. Now in this environment of belief in God and the doing of your duties, you all seem to be here safe and secure, and you are able to do your duties. If you went back home, then some of you may not be able to stand firm. This current environment is of great benefit to you. If you grasp this opportunity, then within two or three years you will be able to stabilize the foundations of your belief in God. When you foster the habit of a normal spiritual life, get interested in the truth, get interested in believing in God, become clear on many visions of belief in God and the way you should walk in your belief in God, and become perfectly clear on these things, then your foundations will be laid and stabilized. Then you will be able to stand firm in whatever environment.
Right now the most important thing is to lay down foundations as soon as possible. How do you lay down foundations? How do you practice, first of all? First of all, make a plan for your everyday life—what time every day you perform your spiritual devotions, what time you pray-read God’s words, what time for your free activities, how to handle things when they arise, what principles to do them with, what principles and standards you need to do your own duties well—all these things must be determined. You must practice in strict accordance with this schedule. When your life has orderliness, you won’t feel so bored, and moreover, primarily you will lay foundations in the aspect of life entry through your belief in God. You will unknowingly come to understand some truths; you won’t be mixed up and understanding nothing about the matter of belief in God, nor will you be uninterested in it. Go practice in strict accordance with your own plan, go live every day, and when you encounter some difficulty or problem, or your condition isn’t right, then you must take hold of it, examine it and not let it slide. Then, search for God’s words that you may check yourself against them, find the path of practice, and strive to resolve it. Sometimes you are in a negative condition, and you should examine why this would be. Is it because you haven’t reached your own aims, or that your own interests have been harmed, or that you have lost your face, or is it because you have extravagant desires? Why become negative? What’s the situation here? Examine yourself and strive to leave that negativity behind as soon as you can. Do you know why people are always so negative? Can people still be negative after they have understood the truth? Can the truth resolve people’s negative conditions? (Yes.) It’s good that you feel this way. Make a plan for what you are doing every day, your life must have orderliness; the first step of normal humanity is that life has orderliness. You cannot live unconstrained and be self-indulgent. If you want to believe well, then the foundations of your belief in God must first be stabilized. First lay down the foundations, and then gradually, little by little, give up your pernicious ways, your misbehavior, your bad habits and the bad ways in which you live, and become someone with humanity and someone who lives with normal humanity. Your spiritual life must become normal, your life with normal humanity must also become normal, and it must be orderly, not slovenly. In this way, you will not only be able to do your duty well and have your duty guaranteed, but you will also be able to progress in the life of believing in God and have orderliness in this life, and this life will become more and more normal. When your spiritual life becomes more and more normal, you will see ever more clearly the matter of believing in God, and will understand more and more the significance of belief in God. Worldly matters, the trends of society, the things that attract you and seduce you—you will become more and more able to relinquish these things. Do you have the resolution to become a genuine person? (Yes!)
Before someone has gained the truth, their stature is too immature and these things outside are able to hook them very easily, and their hearts find it difficult to quiet down, their hearts are not under their own control. If you are unable to gain the truth, your heart is not your own; whose is it then? It’s being controlled by Satan, not by you. Therefore, you must seek for the truth without reserve. The more you practice the more you gain, and the more you gain the more you understand, and the more stature you will have to resist these seductions, environments and all manner of heresies and falsehoods from the outside. When you can discern these things and see through them, then you can resist them; if you cannot discern them or see through them, then you will be unable to resist them. Therefore, when your stature is immature, you must take great pains to exercise restraint and not be debauched with regard to many things, you must cooperate, have resolution. You must learn to restrain yourself, come often before God, let God guide you and discipline you, accept God’s disciplining, accept God’s chastening, and obey from your heart. You will slowly come to know that everything God does is good, that God’s hand has never left you, that God is beside you and, in this way, you will perceive more and more the true existence of God and your heart will become more and more true and ever sturdier in its belief in God. When its belief in God is ever sturdier, does your faith not increase? When your faith increases, does your stature not mature? Maturity of stature does not rest on whether someone is old or young. If you seek in earnest for three or five years, you will attain true faith in God and will understand much of the truth; though you may be young, your stature can still be mature. It’s not necessarily the case that an old person who has believed for many years will have stature, that a young person cannot have stature. This is not how it is with believing in God; God does not show favor to one over another. No matter how young you are, if you have experience, if you always accept the truth, always accept God’s discipline, always accept God’s scrutiny, are able to give up things and relinquish your own interests, your self-regard, and can accept God’s refinement and trials, then you will gain much and your stature will be mature. When your stature is mature, your faith in God will be great and your belief will be true, and there will be much within you that is capable of obeying God, and much of your performance of your duty will be up to par.