8. The Principles of Accepting Being Pruned and Dealt With
1. You must accept all the judgment and chastisement, and the pruning and dealing of God’s words, and you must take the correct approach to all the pruning and dealing;
2. When you are pruned and dealt with, then no matter how much it accords with facts, you should always accept and obey it, and seek the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit in order to truly know yourself;
3. All the pruning and dealing that is done that targets people’s corrupt dispositions is an effective medicine to treat man’s corruption; you must accept it and obey it, and you will certainly benefit;
4. When you are pruned and dealt with, you must seek the truth, examine yourself and know yourself in order to truly repent—this is God perfecting and saving you.
Relevant Words of God:
In undertaking His work of judgment, God does not simply make clear the nature of man with just a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes it over the long term. These methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth that man does not possess at all. Only methods of this kind are deemed judgment…. If you do not regard these truths with importance and constantly think of avoiding them or of finding a new way out apart from them, then I say you are a grievous sinner. If you have faith in God, yet seek not the truth or the will of God, nor do you love the way that brings you closer to God, then I say that you are one who is trying to evade judgment, and that you are a puppet and traitor who flees from the great white throne. God will not spare any of the rebellious that escape from under His eyes. Such men shall receive even more severe punishment. Those who come before God to be judged, and have moreover been purified, shall forever live in the kingdom of God. Of course, this is something that lies in the future.
from “Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Some people become passive after being pruned and dealt with; they feel too weak to perform their duty and lose their loyalty and devotion. Why is this? This is partly due to people’s lack of awareness of the essence of their actions which results in not accepting being pruned and dealt with. It is also partly due to people not having understood the significance of being dealt with and pruned, believing it to be a sign of the determination of their outcome. As a result, people mistakenly believe that if they have some loyalty and devotion toward God, then they cannot be dealt with and pruned; if they are dealt with, it cannot be the righteousness of God. Such misunderstandings cause many people to not be loyal and devoted to God. In fact, it is all because people are too deceitful; they do not want to suffer hardship—they want to gain blessings the easy way. They are not aware of God’s righteousness. It is not that God has not done anything righteous or that He will not do anything righteous, it is just that people never think that what God does is righteous. In human eyes, if the work of God does not conform to the will of man or if it is not up to what they expected, it means that He is not righteous. People never realize when what they do is not appropriate or does not conform to the truth; they never realize that they are resisting God.
from “The Meaning of People’s Performance Determining Their Outcome” in Records of Christ’s Talks
God can perfect man in both positive and negative aspects. It depends on whether you are able to experience, and on whether you pursue being perfected by God. If you truly seek being perfected by God, then the negative cannot make you suffer loss, but can bring you things that are more real, and can make you more able to know that which is lacking within you, more able to come to grips with your real states, and see that man has nothing, and is nothing; if you do not experience trials, you do not know, and will always feel that you are above others and better than everyone else. Through all this you will see that all that came before was done by God and protected by God. Entry into trials leaves you without love or faith, you lack prayer, and are unable to sing hymns—and, without realizing it, in the midst of this you come to know yourself. God has many means of perfecting man. He employs all manner of environments to deal with the corrupt disposition of man, and uses various things to lay man bare; in one regard He deals with man, in another He lays man bare, and in another He reveals man, digging out and revealing the “mysteries” in the depths of man’s heart, and showing man his nature by revealing many of his states. God perfects man through many methods—through revelation, dealing, refinement, and chastisement—so that man may know that God is practical.
from “Only Those Who Focus on Practice Can Be Perfected” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Some people think that after experiencing judgment and chastisement, pruning and dealing or after revealing their true form, they are done and their outcome has taken shape. The majority of people can’t see this matter clearly, and they are all stopped there, not knowing how to walk the path ahead. Generally, when they don’t undergo dealing and pruning or don’t have any setbacks, they will feel like seeking the truth while believing in God, and they will feel that they should satisfy the will of God. But as soon as they suffer a little setback and some difficulties arise, their betraying natures are exposed, making them look especially detestable, and later, they will also feel their natures are especially detestable. In the end, they determine the outcome for themselves: “I am done for. Am I not finished for doing this thing? God will certainly not save me.” There are many people who are in this kind of condition; you could even say that everyone is like this. Why are people able to delineate themselves this way? It proves that people do not understand God’s intention to save them. Being dealt with just once causes you to go a long time without pursuing truth; making one small mistake causes you to not fulfill your duties; an insignificant environment causes you to be stagnant. It seems people feel that they have to be flawless in order to have energy to seek. If they discover that they are too corrupt, then they will not have the inclination to seek. Many people have said disheartening and negative things like this: “I am finished, I am definitely done for. There is no way I can be saved. Even if God forgave me, I would not be able to forgive myself. I will never change.” People’s misunderstanding of God’s will demonstrates that people don’t understand the work of God. Actually, mankind will occasionally reveal some of their corrupt dispositions as they enter in normally. They are impure in the things they do, they don’t take responsibility, they are not devoted, and they work perfunctorily. This is a very natural thing and it is inevitable. If these things were not revealed, then how could one say that mankind is corrupt? If mankind was not corrupt, then God’s work of salvation would have no significance. The current situation is that people don’t have the truth, and they don’t truly understand themselves and see their conditions clearly. Therefore, their conditions need to be revealed and clarified. Only by revealing these things will they be able to see the light. People are all numb and obtuse. If God doesn’t work this way, then you won’t change.
from “Understanding Commonalities and Differences in Human Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks
What is it to accept truth? It means that no matter which corrupt disposition you have or which venom of the great red dragon poisons your nature, you acknowledge it when it is revealed by God’s word and submit to God’s word with utter conviction. And, you know yourself according to God’s word. This is what it means to accept God’s word. No matter what God says, no matter how piercing to the heart, no matter what words He uses, you can accept it as long as it is truth, and you can acknowledge it as long as it conforms to reality. You can submit to God’s word regardless of how deeply you understand it, and you accept and submit to the light of enlightenment from the Holy Spirit that is communicated by the brothers and sisters. When such a person’s pursuit of truth has reached a certain point, he can obtain truth and achieve the transformation of his disposition.
from “How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks
If people wish to become living beings, and to bear testimony to God, and to be approved of by God, they must accept God’s salvation, they must gladly submit to His judgment and chastisement, and must gladly accept the pruning and dealing of God. Only then will they be able to put all of the truths required by God into practice, and only then will they gain God’s salvation, and truly become living beings.
from “Have You Come Alive?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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
Can you put something into practice once you understand it? You can’t put it into practice immediately. During the time it takes for you to understand, others will prune you and deal with you, and the environment will compel you to do it this way and that way. Sometimes, you are unwilling to go through this, saying, “Why can’t I do it that way? Do I have to do it this way?” Others say, “If you believe in God, then you should do it this way. Doing it this way is in accordance with truth.” In the end, you will reach a certain point where you understand God’s will and understand some truths after experiencing some trials, and you will be somewhat happy and willing to do it. You are initially reluctant to do it. Take fulfilling duties with devotion for example. You have some understanding about fulfilling your duties and being loyal to God, and you also understand the truths, but when will you be completely devoted to God? When will you fulfill your duties in name and in deed? This will require some time. During this process, you might suffer many hardships; people will deal with you, people will prune you, people will regulate you, compel you and force you. Everyone’s eyes will be fixed on you, and ultimately, you will realize: It’s my problem. Is it acceptable to fulfill my duties without devotion? I can’t be careless and perfunctory. The Holy Spirit enlightens you from within and will reproach you when you make a mistake. During this process, you will understand some things about yourself and will know that you are too impure, you have too many personal intentions and too many desires in fulfilling your duties. After you know this, you can gradually get on the right track and you will be able to change your actions. With regard to the substance of fulfilling your duties, how well do you really fulfill your duties? How well do you fulfill your duties in accordance with truth after transforming your dispositions? By reflecting on this, you can know how much your disposition has actually been transformed. … Only those who can accept the truth, who seek and investigate to gain the truth when they don’t understand God’s work have the hope to obtain a transformation in their dispositions.
from “What You Should Know About Transforming Your Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Faced with man’s state and his attitude toward God, God has done new work, allowing man to possess both knowledge of and obedience toward Him, and both love and testimony. Thus, man must experience God’s refinement of him, as well as His judgment, dealing and pruning of him, without which man would never know God, and would never be capable of truly loving and bearing witness to Him. … 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
The Man’s Fellowship:
Accepting the judgment and chastisement of God’s word is not as easy and simple as people think. Sometimes God does not say this to your face and does not come to you Himself to tell you, “I saw your corruptions today. I’m going to utter words of judgment to you,” and then read you a passage of God’s words. That’s not how it is. God may send or move a person, a person who least fits with your notions or who you least look up to, to prune and deal with you. Then what will you do? It is God who sends them. Tell me, do you obey them? How do you approach it when the Holy Spirit moves people who least fit with your notions and who you dislike the most to prune and deal with you? This is a fact. Are you still able to choose? You say, “God, I don’t accept his dealing. It is fine if You deal with me. No matter what You say, I will accept.” This is disobedience. Therefore, there is a practical side in obeying God, a certain degree of difficulty. Not everything agrees with your ideas. It is not easy to obey. Having been in contact with me for a while, some brothers and sisters say that they are willing to accept my pruning and dealing. They say behind me, “When others speak to me, prune and deal with me, it doesn’t work. It only works when that brother does it. I accept what he says to me, but not others.” Do you say people who say this are obedient? What is the mistake in this statement? This is not true obedience. There is no personal choice in true obedience. No matter who reads God’s word to me, no matter what intention he has, I accept it. I accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s word. This is true obedience. No matter which person, leader or worker is dealing with and pruning me, whether or not this matter is completely consistent with the facts, as long as it is partially consistent, I will accept and obey. As long as it is partially consistent, I will accept it completely. I will not give excuses or say how many percent of it I will accept or decline. I don’t make excuses. This is the performance of obeying God’s work. If you do not have such obedience for God’s word and God’s work, you will not easily gain the truth and enter the reality of God’s word. This obedience is a most real issue, which is put in front of people; everyone must choose and put it into practice. You cannot evade the issue.
from the fellowship from the above
When we make no transgressions, we are not submissive. We think of ourselves as doing well, and do not submit to anyone. Only after transgressing and undergoing God’s pruning and dealing can we sincerely reflect. At such times, we use our hearts to contemplate God’s pruning and dealing and apply it to ourselves, and as we contemplate, awareness grows in us, “I really am this kind of person.” And once isn’t enough to give us penetration. We need to experience it several times to gain true penetration and be submissive. Then we will practice in the direction of truth, “How can I enter this reality? How can I be mindful of God’s will? How can I practice the truth?” Only once we understand these things can we achieve change.
from “One Must Have Principles in Serving God” in Collection of Sermons—Supply for Life