If you want to do a good job in leading others and serving as God’s witnesses, most importantly, you must have a deeper understanding of God’s purpose in saving people and the purpose of His work. You must understand the will of God and His various requirements of people. You must be practical in your efforts; experience only as much as you understand and communicate only that which you know. Do not boast, do not exaggerate, and do not make irresponsible remarks. If you exaggerate, people will detest you and you will feel reproached afterward; this is just too inappropriate. When you provide the truth to others, you don’t necessarily have to be coercive in order for them to attain the truth. If you yourself don’t have the truth, yet you are coercive toward others, they will fear you. But that doesn’t mean they understand the truth. In some administrative work, it’s fine for you to deal with and prune others and discipline them to a certain degree. But if you cannot provide the truth and know only how to be overbearing and to chide others, your corruption and ugliness will be revealed. With the passage of time, as people are unable to obtain life or practical things from you, they will come to detest you, feel disgust for you. Those who lack discernment will learn negative things from you; they will learn to deal with and prune others, to get angry, to lose their temper. Isn’t that tantamount to sending others on the path of Paul, a path toward perdition? Is that not an evildoing? Your work should focus on communicating the truth and providing life to others. If all you do is blindly deal with and lecture others, how will they ever understand the truth? As time goes by, people will see you for who you really are, and they will abandon you. How can you expect to bring others before God in this way? How is this doing the work? You will bungle all of your assignments if you keep working in this way. Besides, if everyone is avoiding you, what work do you hope to accomplish anyway? In the past, some leaders behaved in exactly this way. They failed to perform positive and practical tasks; when the work arrangements came from the above, they failed to put them into good effect. They did not carry out specific tasks. All they did was communicate their letters and doctrines or blindly deal with and prune others. As a result, people came to fear them and avoid them. They made a mess of the work and then claimed they were just getting their bearings. In the end, they were eliminated, and sent home.
You cannot serve God if your disposition has not changed. Some people make excuses for themselves, saying: “I’m in contact with Chinese people, and the Chinese people are deeply corrupted. As a result, I’ve become corrupted by their influence on me. Therefore, if I have made some transgressions, surely, they are forgivable. If I had contact with foreigners and benefited from their influence, I would become a better person.” This argument is impractical. A transformation of one’s disposition is not something that can be learned from others. Knowledge, integrity, insight, behavior, style of speaking, and all other outward things can be learned from others; but life and the truth can only be obtained from God’s word. When you eat and drink the words of God, you must pursue a proper path in order to comprehend the truth, but this is not the same thing as putting the truth into practice and entering into reality. To understand the truth, one must eat and drink in this a way. Take the eating and drinking of a passage concerning the truth of love for God, for example. God’s word says: “Love is a pure and a flawless emotion. In love, there is no suspicion, no barriers, no distance, where you use your heart to love and to be thoughtful.” This is the definition of love. This is the truth. This is what God says about love. But whom shall you love? Shall you love your husband? Your wife? Your brothers and sisters? No! When God speaks of love, He speaks not of love for your fellow man, but of man’s love of God. This is the form of true love. How to comprehend this truth? It means God wants people not to doubt Him or distance themselves from Him; this love is pure, and is flawless. Flawlessness means that your expectations toward God are not extravagant; it means that your love for God is unconditional and doesn’t require a reason; it means that you love God and no other. Other than God, nothing else can occupy your heart; this emotion is pure and it is flawless. This emotion occupies a certain place in your heart; you are always thinking of Him and missing Him, and remembering Him at each and every moment. To love means to love with your heart. Loving with your heart consists in being thoughtful, caring and remembering with longing. In order to love with your heart, you must first learn to understand. At the present time, while you lack understanding, you should use your heart to yearn for Him, to long for Him, to obey Him, to care for Him, to pray to Him, and to cry out for Him; you should even be able to share in His thoughts and concerns. You must put your heart into these things. Do not pay lip service, saying: “God! I’m doing this for You, and I’m doing that for You!” Only when you love and satisfy God using your heart is it practical. Although you don’t say so aloud, you have God in your heart, in your heart you are thinking of Him. You can give up your husband, your wife, your children, your relatives; but your heart cannot be without God. Without God, you simply cannot live. You cannot leave Him. This is what it means to have love and to have God in your heart. There is so very much to loving and caring for God with your heart. This is the true love that God requires of you; in other words, you must love and care for Him with your heart, and always keep Him in your mind. Use your heart, not your words, to practice. Do not use your actions as a kind of outward display, but rather, primarily, practice with your heart, let your heart govern your behavior, govern all of your actions. There must be no motivation, no adulteration, no suspicion; this is how a pure heart should be. As for suspicion, what does it mean to be suspicious? It means you’re always wondering: “Is it right for God to do this? Why does God say this? If this is what God says, but there’s no reason behind it, I won’t obey it. If God does this, but it is unjust, I won’t obey. I’ll drop it for now.” To not harbor suspicions means recognizing that whatever God says and does is right, and with God there is no right or wrong. Man must obey God, care for God, satisfy God, and share in His thoughts and concerns. Regardless of whether or not everything God does seems meaningful or appropriate to you, whether it is agreeable to your conceptions, and regardless of whether it makes sense to you or whether it conforms to your imaginations, you must always obey and must have a reverent, submissive heart toward all that God does. After all, isn’t practice such as this in conformity with the truth? Isn’t it the manifestation and practice of love? Therefore, if you do not understand God’s will, if you do not understand the intentions of His words, if you do not understand the aim or result which He seeks to achieve, if you do not understand what His words seek to accomplish and perfect in man, then you do not yet comprehend the truth. Why does God say what He says? Why does He speak in that tone? Why is He so earnest and sincere in every word He speaks? Why does He choose to use certain words, and not others? Do you know? If not, it means you don’t understand God’s will or His intentions, you do not understand the context behind His words. If you don’t comprehend this, then how can you attain the truth? Attaining the truth means that you understand His will through every word that He says. Once you understand, you put it into practice. You live out the word of God, and make it your reality. Then and only then, can you say that you really comprehend the truth. Only when you have a thorough understanding of the word of God can you really grasp the truth. You only understand the word of God on a superficial level. For example, you say, “God wants us to be honest and not deceptive; therefore, we must be honest.” But why does God want people to be honest and not deceptive? Why does God want people to love Him? Why does He require that of people? Why does He make such definitions? Everything is said to achieve a certain effect. The truth that God expresses is aimed at those who thirst for the truth, those who seek the truth and those who are fond of the truth. As for those who concern themselves with letters and doctrines and like to give long and pompous speeches, they will never attain the truth. They are fooling themselves. Such people have an incorrect view of reading God’s words; just as their stance is misaligned, so too is their view. Some people only know to research the words of God, studying what God says about being blessed and about man’s final destination. If God’s words don’t fit their conceptions, they become negative and stop seeking. This means that they’re not interested in the truth. All they want is to take the easy way out, to find ways to do good so they can make a great display of themselves and ultimately secure a good destination. This kind of person may eat and drink the words of God, but they haven’t attained the truth. There are still other people who eat and drink the words of God, but just go through the motions; they think they have attained the truth by understanding the literal meaning of God’s words. How unwise they are! Eating and drinking the words of God is not equivalent to comprehending the truth; reading the truth does not necessarily equate to understanding the truth. The word of God is the truth. However, reading the words of God does not mean you will necessarily understand their meaning and attain the truth. Eating and drinking the words of God will either bring you the truth or bring you letters and doctrines. You do not know what it means to attain the truth. You may hold the words of God in the palm of your hand; but after reading them, you still fail to understand God’s will, you only acquire some letters and doctrines. First of all, you should realize that the word of God is not so straightforward; the word of God is utterly profound. Without many years of experience, how could you possibly understand the word of God? Even one sentence will require your lifetime to fully experience. You read the words of God, but you do not understand God’s will; you do not understand the intentions of His words, their origin, the effect they seek to achieve, or what they will accomplish. You understand none of these things, so how can you understand the truth? You may have flipped through the pages of the book many times; you may have read it many times. Perhaps you can recite many of its passages by heart, but you still haven’t changed; you still haven’t made any progress. Your relationship with God is just as distant and estranged as ever. There are still barriers between you and God, as before. You still remain doubtful toward Him. Not only do you not understand God, but you resist Him and even blaspheme Him. You give excuses to God and have conceptions about Him. In this case, how can you say that you have attained the truth? Everyone has a copy of God’s word that they read every day, and they take notes from the communication of the truth, but in the end, different people achieve different outcomes. Some pay attention to the doctrines, while others focus on their practice. Some prefer to study that which is profound and mysterious, while others prefer to learn about man’s future destination. Some prefer to study administrative decrees, while others look for words of consolation. Some prefer to read the prophecies, while others prefer to read the words of the Holy Spirit to the churches. And still others prefer to be “My sons.” But what does that get them in the end? Nowadays, there are some new believers who say: “Look at how comforting the word of God is! ‘My sons, My sons!’ Who else in the world could provide us such consolation?” However, they don’t understand for whom these words are intended, they have not yet understood; and even after accepting God’s new work[a] for one or two years, some people still fail to understand. They say these things without any sense of shame, without reddening or blushing. Is this what it means to understand the truth? They don’t even understand God’s will, but they dare assume the status of God’s sons! What do such people learn from the word of God? All they do is misinterpret and distort the word of God. Those who are averse to the truth will never attain the truth, no matter how much they read the word of God. They are loath to the truth, and even if you communicate it to them, they won’t pay attention. Those who love the truth, after reading the words of God, will seek and grasp God’s will; they will investigate, and communicate the truth with others. Only this kind of person has hope of attaining the truth. There are those who love to research God’s words. They are constantly concerned about how God will be transfigured and when God will ultimately leave. They always concern themselves about God’s day, but they lack any concern for their own lives. These issues over which they are so concerned are actually God’s own business. If you’re always asking these kinds of questions, you’re interfering with the administrative decrees of God, interfering with God’s management plan. This is irrational. This is an offense against the disposition of God. If you really want to ask, if you really want to know, if you really can’t control yourself, then pray to God and say: “Oh God, I do not want to get involved in these things, they relate to Your management plan. They are Your own affairs, and I mustn’t interfere.” How could man understand the affairs of God? God does not speak about His own work or about His management plan. If God doesn’t make something known, it means He doesn’t want people to know. Everything that God wants people to know is contained in the book of God’s word, and you should indeed read it. All that you need to understand is contained within this book; there are many truths that you should understand. You can find them within this book. As for anything that is omitted, you mustn’t delve into these things. If there is something that God doesn’t tell you, then no matter how you delve, it is useless. Everything that you should know, God has already let you know. Anything that you shouldn’t know, God will not say or make known. Today, most of you have not gotten on the right track. You don’t even know how to read the word of God, yet you are negligent in your duties. In order for you to understand the truth, you still have a long way to go. How can you attain the truth if you do not intensively read the word of God and invest yourself in your work?
a. The original text omits “God’s new work.”