126. The Principles of Distinguishing Between Pursuing the Truth and Having a Muddleheaded Belief
Whether someone is pursuing the truth or they have a muddleheaded belief depends on:
1. Whether they focus on eating and drinking God’s words, accept God’s judgment and chastisement and have constant life progression, or whether they scheme against other people, cause disturbances and muddle along day by day;
2. Whether they focus on understanding the truth, fulfilling their duty and entering into reality, or whether they focus on external ways of doing things and superficial enthusiasm, and they refuse to acknowledge their mistakes;
3. Whether they focus on seeking the truth to resolve their problems of corruption when they encounter issues, or whether they are muddleheaded, they pay consideration to their flesh and greedily lust after a life of comfort and ease;
4. Whether they practice the truth and obey God in their duties, or whether they are slipshod in their duties, they try to deceive God and obstinately refuse to repent.
Relevant Words of God:
Peter was made perfect through experiencing dealing and refinement. He said, “I must satisfy God’s desire at all times. In all that I do I only seek to satisfy God’s desire, and whether I am chastised, or judged, still I am happy to do so.” Peter gave his all to God, and his work, words, and entire life were all for the sake of loving God. … Peter cared about was the true love within his heart, and that which was practical and could be achieved. He did not care about whether he would receive a reward, but about whether his disposition could be changed. … The experiences of Peter were in order to achieve a true love and a true knowledge. His experiences were in order to gain a closer relationship to God, and to have a practical living out. … Peter experienced many years of the work of the Holy Spirit, and had a practical knowledge of Christ, as well as a profound knowledge of himself. … and his love was an unconditional love, it was a spontaneous love, and he asked for nothing in return, nor did he hope for any benefits. …
… Anything in Peter’s life that did not satisfy God’s desire made him feel uneasy. If it did not satisfy God’s desire, then he would feel remorseful, and would look for a suitable way by which he could strive to satisfy God’s heart. In even the smallest and most inconsequential aspects of his life, still he required himself to satisfy God’s desire. He was no less exacting when it came to his old disposition, ever rigorous in his requirements of himself to progress deeper into the truth. … In his belief in God, Peter sought to satisfy God in everything, and sought to obey all that came from God. Without the slightest complaint, he was able to accept chastisement and judgment, as well as refinement, tribulation and lack in his life, none of which could alter his love of God. Is this not the ultimate love of God? Is this not the fulfillment of the duty of a creature of God? Chastisement, judgment, tribulation—you are capable of achieving obedience unto death, and this is what should be achieved by a creature of God, this is the purity of the love of God.
from “Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Those who do not seek to progress always wish for others to be as negative and indolent as themselves, those who do not practice the truth are jealous of those who do practice the truth. Those who do not practice the truth always want to deceive those who are muddleheaded and who lack discernment. … They do not practice the truth and do not allow others to practice it either. They cherish sin and have no loathing for themselves. They do not know themselves and stop others from knowing themselves, and they stop others from longing for the truth. Those they deceive cannot see the light and fall into darkness; they do not know themselves, are unclear about the truth and become further and further from God. They do not practice the truth and they stop others from practicing the truth, bringing those foolish people before them. Rather than saying they believe in God, it would be better to say they believe in their ancestors, that what they believe in are the idols in their hearts. It would be best for those people who say they follow God to open their eyes and take a good look to see exactly who they believe in: Is it really God that you believe in, or Satan? If you know that what you believe in is not God but your own idols, then you had best not say you are a believer. If you really do not know who you believe in then, again, you had best not say you are a believer. To say that would be blasphemy! No one is forcing you to believe in God. Do not say you believe in Me, as I heard enough of those words long ago and I do not wish to hear them again, because what you believe in are the idols in your hearts and the local villainous snakes among you. Those who shake their heads when they hear the truth, who smile widely when they hear talk of death are the offspring of Satan, and they are all objects to be eliminated. There exist in the church many people who have no discernment, and when something deceptive happens they just stand by Satan’s side. When they are called Satan’s lackeys they feel so wronged. And someone might say they have no discernment, but they always stand on the side without truth. There has not been a single critical time when they have stood on the side of truth, not a single time when they have stood up and argued for the truth, so are they really without discernment? Why do they always stand by Satan’s side? Why do they never say one word that is fair or reasonable for the truth? Is this situation really created by their momentary confusion? The less discernment someone has, the less able they are to stand on the side of truth. What does this show? Does it not show that those without discernment love evil? Does it not show that those without discernment are the loyal offspring of Satan? Why is it that they are always able to stand on the side of Satan and speak the same language as it? Their every word and deed, and their expressions prove amply that they are not any kind of lover of the truth, but rather that they are people who detest the truth. That they can stand on the side of Satan proves amply that Satan really loves these petty devils who fight for Satan’s sake all their lives. Are all these facts not abundantly clear? If you truly are someone who loves the truth, then why can’t you have any regard for those who practice the truth, and why do you immediately follow those who do not practice the truth the minute they have a slight change of countenance? What kind of problem is this?
from “A Warning to Those Who Do Not Practice the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
A man who truly loves God and has the truth is one who is loyal to God, but does not outwardly reveal so. He is willing to practice the truth when matters arise and does not speak or act in a manner going against his conscience. He demonstrates wisdom when matters arise and is principled in his deeds, no matter the circumstances. A man such as this is one who truly serves. There are some who often pay lip service to their indebtedness to God. They spend their days with brows locked in worry, put on an affected air, and feign a wretched countenance. How despicable! And if you were to ask him, “In what ways are you indebted to God? Please tell me!” he would be rendered speechless. If you are loyal to God, then speak not of it in public, but use your actual practice to show your love for God, and pray to Him with a true heart. Those who use only words to deal with God are all hypocrites! … Those who have faith in God in their hearts are not outwardly distinguishable to others, but their actions and deeds are commendable to others. Only such men can be deemed to be living out the word of God. If you preach the gospel every day to this person and that, bringing them to salvation, yet in the end, you are still living in rules and doctrines, then you cannot bring glory to God. Such manner of men are religious people, and hypocrites too.
What do the superficial good deeds of man represent? They represent the flesh, and even the best of outward practices do not represent life, only your own individual temperament. The outward practices of man cannot fulfill the desire of God. You constantly speak of your indebtedness to God, yet you cannot supply the life of others or provoke others to love God. Do you believe that such actions will satisfy God? You believe that this is God’s heart’s desire, that this is of the spirit, but in truth this is absurd! You believe that what pleases you and what you wish is that which God delights in. Can what pleases you represent that of God? Can the character of man represent God? What pleases you is precisely that which God abhors, and your habits are that which God loathes and rejects. If you feel indebted, then go and pray before God. There is no need to speak of it to others. If you do not pray before God and instead constantly draw attention to yourself in the presence of others, can this fulfill the desire of God’s heart? If your actions are always in appearance only, this means that you are the most vain of men. What manner of man is he who only has superficial good deeds but is devoid of reality? Such men are hypocritical Pharisees and religious people! If you do not put off your outward practices and cannot make changes, then the elements of hypocrisy in you will grow even more. The greater the elements of hypocrisy, the more resistance there is to God, and in the end, such manner of men will surely be cast away!
from “Believing in God Should Focus on Reality, Not Religious Rituals” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The things that happen each day, whether big or small, can shake your resolution, occupy your heart, restrict your ability to do your duty, or control your forward progression—these things all need to be treated seriously, should be carefully examined to seek out the truth, and are all things that happen within the realm of experience. Some people quit when negativity befalls them, and are unable to get up after each setback. These people are fools and mediocre people, who spend a lifetime without obtaining truth, so how could they follow to the end? If the same thing happens ten times to you but you gain nothing from it, then you are a mediocre and a useless person. Astute people and those who truly have the inner quality to understand spiritual matters are seekers of the truth, and eight times out of ten they are perhaps able to gain some inspiration, lesson, enlightenment and progress. When the same thing happens to a mediocre person ten times, not once will they gain any life benefit, not once will they make any change and not once will they understand their nature before it is over. They fall each time it happens, each time they need another person to drag or pull them along, and others have to humor them. If no one humors, pulls, hits or drags them then it is game over and they don’t get up. Each time it happens, there is the danger of falling, and each time there is the danger of them degenerating. Isn’t this the end for them? Are there still any grounds for them to be saved? To save someone is to save the part of them that is their will and their resolution, and the part of them within their heart that is their yearning for truth and righteousness. To say someone has resolution means that they yearn for righteousness, goodness and truth, and that they have conscience. God saves this part of you, and through this He changes the aspect of your corrupt disposition. If you don’t have these things, then you cannot be saved. If you don’t yearn for righteousness or rejoice in truth, don’t have the will to cast off evil things or the resolution to suffer hardship, and if your conscience is numb, your faculty for receiving truth is also numb, you aren’t sensitive to truth or the things that happen, aren’t able to distinguish anything, and you have no independent ability to handle or resolve things, then there is no way to be saved. This kind of person has nothing to recommend them, has nothing worth working with. Their conscience is numb, their mind is muddied, they don’t rejoice in truth or yearn for righteousness deep within their heart, and they don’t respond no matter how clearly or transparently God speaks about the truth, as if they are already dead. Isn’t it over for them? Anyone with a breath can be saved by artificial respiration, and their breath can be revived. But if they have already died and their soul has left, then artificial respiration will do nothing. Once something befalls you, you shrink, and you bear no witness, so you can never be saved and you are completely done for.
from “Confused People Cannot Be Saved” in Records of Christ’s Talks
God is willing to perfect each and every one of you. As it stands now, though most have already accepted the work of God for much time, they have limited themselves to merely basking in the grace of God and are only willing to receive some comfort of the flesh from Him. They are unwilling to receive more and higher revelations, showing that the heart of man is still always on the outside. Though the work of man, his service, and his heart of love for God have fewer impurities, as far as the essence of man within and his unenlightened thinking are concerned, man still constantly seeks the peace and enjoyment of the flesh, and cares not what the conditions for and purposes of God perfecting man are. So the lives of most are still vulgar and decadent, without the slightest bit of change. They simply do not regard faith in God as a matter of importance. Rather, it is as if they just have faith for the sake of another, acting without earnestness or dedication, and getting by with the bare minimum, adrift in a purposeless existence. Few are those who seek to enter into the word of God in all things, gaining more enriching things, becoming ones of greater wealth in the house of God this day, and receiving more of God’s blessings. If you seek to be perfected by God in all things and are able to inherit the promises of God on earth; if you seek to be enlightened by God in all things and do not let the years slip idly by, this is the ideal path to actively enter in. Only in this way are you worthy and eligible to be perfected by God.
from “Promises to Those Who Have Been Perfected” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Man doing his duty is, in actuality, the accomplishment of all that is inherent within man, that is, that which is possible for man. It is then that his duty is fulfilled. … If man cannot express what he ought to express during service or achieve what is inherently possible for him, and instead fools about and goes through the motions, he has lost the function that a created being should have. This kind of man is considered a mediocre nonentity and useless waste of space; how can one such as this be dignified with the title of a created being? ... If man is able to do his duty, it means he performs what he ought to do. If man is unable to do his duty, it shows the rebelliousness of man. It is always through the process of doing his duty that man is gradually changed, and it is through this process that he demonstrates his loyalty. As such, the more you are able to do your duty, the more truths you shall receive, and so too shall your expression become more real. Those who merely go through the motions in doing their duty and do not seek the truth shall be eliminated in the end, for such men do not do their duty in the practice of truth, and do not practice truth in the fulfillment of their duty. Such men are those who remain unchanged and will be cursed. Not only are their expressions impure, but what they express is nothing but wickedness.
from “The Difference Between the Ministry of the Incarnate God and the Duty of Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The Man’s Fellowship:
1. By reading God’s words, those who seek the truth can measure their own corrupt condition against God’s words. Their fellowship about God’s words is not done just to talk about understanding God’s words, but to talk also about understanding themselves. No matter what corruption is expressed, they can get it out in the open so that brothers and sisters can achieve something real, whilst at the same time resolving their own corruption. This is also the best method to lead people into God’s words.
2. Those who pursue the truth can accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s words and accept pruning and dealing. They can understand that God’s judgment and chastisement is completely fair and can fully save and change people. It is not easy for those who are not pruned and dealt with to know themselves. Only by accepting pruning and dealing can one truly accept God’s work. Only by more deeply experiencing the judgment and chastisement of God’s words can one gain more truths.
3. When those who pursue the truth have their own conceptions about God, they can seek the truth to resolve them and can use God’s words to deal with their conceptions and thoughts. Even if they cannot fully understand the truth, they still believe that God is the truth and deny their own conceptions and thoughts.
4. Those who pursue the truth fulfill their duties in accordance with God’s requirements and don’t do things perfunctorily. People who pursue the truth are always grateful toward God, want to do a good job of fulfilling their duties to repay God’s love, and hate that they have too much corruption. They think they shouldn’t hurt God or make Him suffer any more. They think that they should fulfill their duties well in order to comfort God’s heart, and can thus summon up the will to fulfill their duties well to satisfy Him. People who pursue the truth willingly fulfill their duties no matter how much suffering they endure. No matter what difficulties they encounter, they don’t get negative, they don’t give up, and they never shy away from them. Rather, they seek to use the truth to resolve problems and rely on God to stand up to them. They can accept pruning and dealing when they reveal corruption to ensure that they can better fulfill their duties to complete God’s entrustment, and mature in life through the fulfillment of their duties. All those who pursue the truth fulfill their duties loyally and are mindful of God’s intentions. Such people are anxious about what God is anxious about, and think about what God thinks about. They treat each of these things seriously and seek to serve God’s will. They are people who are after God’s heart.
from “To Serve God One Must Learn How to Discern All Kinds of People” in Selected Annals of the Work Arrangements of The Church of Almighty God