Today, when you seek to love and know God, on the one hand you need to go through suffering and refinement, on the other hand you need to pay a certain price. Loving God is a most profound lesson; it can be said that what people learn throughout life in their belief in God is to love Him. That is to say, since you believe in God, you should love God. If you only believe in God but do not love God, fail to know God, and you have never loved God with any real love that comes from the bottom of your heart, your belief in God will be in vain. If you believe in God and yet do not love God, your life will be wasted and it will be the basest. What is the meaning of your life if you have never loved or satisfied God during your life? What is the meaning of your belief in God? Isn’t that a waste of effort? That is to say, to believe in and to love God, people need to pay a price. This price is not paid through outward actions, but rather through having a true insight in the deepest corner of the heart. If you sing hymns and dance with enthusiasm, but fail in your practice of the truth, is this loving God? To love God you must seek God’s will in everything. Whatever you encounter, you need to look to its deepest roots, to find out God’s will and see what He desires for that occasion, what He requires you to achieve and how you can care for His will. For instance, if you encounter a problem that requires you to suffer, you should understand what God’s will is, and how you can care for His will. You cannot satisfy yourself; you should first put yourself aside. The flesh is the basest. Instead, you need to seek to satisfy God and fulfill your duty. When you think like this, God will especially enlighten you on this matter and your heart will be comforted. Whatever you encounter, no matter how big or small, you need to first put yourself aside and treat the flesh as the cheapest of all things. The more you satisfy the flesh, the more it demands; if you satisfy it this time, it will make demands of you the next time as well. If you always act in this way, you will eventually love your own flesh more than ever. The flesh always has extravagant desires and wants you to satisfy it and allow it to enjoy itself, in food, clothing, having a temper or pandering to its weaknesses and laziness…. The more you satisfy it, the greater its desire grows, and the more wanton it becomes. There will come a point where the flesh will have deeper notions and rebel against God; it will exalt itself and doubt God’s work. The more you satisfy the flesh, the more weaknesses it has. You will always feel that nobody sympathizes with your weaknesses, you will always think that God has gone too far and will even say, Why does God have to be so strict? Can’t He give people some leeway? If man satisfies the flesh and treasures it too much, he will ruin himself. If you truly love God and do not satisfy the flesh, you will see that everything God does is most suitable and most perfect, and cursing your disobedience and judging your unrighteousness is the right thing to do. Sometimes, when God chastens and disciplines you, brings on circumstances to temper you, forcing you to come before Him, you will always feel that what He does is so great. This way, you would feel as if you are not suffering too much, and that God is very loveable. If you care for your fleshly weaknesses, and say that God is too harsh on you, you will feel that you are always suffering and sad. Moreover, you will not be clear about all the work God does. You will feel as if God does not sympathize with man’s weaknesses at all and does not know the difficulties man faces. This way you will always feel that you are all alone and mistreated badly and you start to complain. The more you care for the weaknesses of your flesh in this way, the more you will feel that God is too demanding. Eventually it will be so bad that you would deny God’s work and start to oppose God, you would be full of disobedience. This is why you must forsake the flesh and not care for it: Your husband, wife, children, prospects, marriage, family—none of this is important! You need to have this resolution: “I have only God in my heart. I must satisfy God, not my flesh, to the best of my abilities.” With this resolution, when you practice the truth and put yourself aside, all you’ll need is a bit of effort and you will be able to achieve it. It was said that there was a farmer who saw a snake lying frozen by the roadside. He picked it up and kept it near his bosom. When the snake woke up, it bit the farmer and the farmer died. Man’s flesh is like the snake; its basic nature is to harm man’s life. By the time your flesh gets its own way, it is also the time when you lose your life. The flesh is of Satan, it is always full of extravagant desires inside and is always thinking about itself, about comfort and leisure, wallowing in sloth and idleness. If you satisfy the flesh to a certain point, it will eventually consume you. That is to say, if you satisfy it this time, the next time it will want you to satisfy it again. All it has are extravagant desires and new demands. Whenever you care for the flesh, it makes you treasure it even more, and live in the comforts of the flesh. If you never overcome it, eventually you would ruin yourself. Whether you can gain life in front of God and what you will end up in, it depends on how you practice forsaking the flesh. God has saved you, and He has chosen and predestined you, but now if you don’t want to satisfy Him and practice the truth, not forsake your flesh with a heart that truly loves God, you will ruin yourself in the end, and you will suffer greatly. If you always care for the flesh, Satan will slowly consume your insides and you’ll have neither life nor the moving from the Spirit. Eventually one day it will be all darkness inside you. When you live in darkness, Satan will claim you and you will no longer have God. By that point you would deny God’s existence and leave Him. Therefore, to love God, you need to pay the price of suffering, to endure suffering. There is no need for external enthusiasm, or endurance, reading or running more. It is about leaving the things inside: the extravagant thoughts, personal interests, plans, notions and intentions. That is God’s will.
It is part of God’s work to deal with people’s external disposition, such as dealing with people’s external abnormal humanity, ways of living and living habits, cultural practices, as well as external actions, and their zeal. However, by requiring people to practice the truth to change their disposition, He is primarily dealing with their inner intentions and notions. If you just deal with external disposition, that is easy. For example, not letting you eat the things you love, that is easy for you. But when it comes to one’s inner notions, these are not so easy to let go of. That requires forsaking the flesh and people will have to pay a price, to endure some suffering in front of God. This is particularly so with man’s intentions. From the time man starts believing in God till this day, man has a lot of incorrect intentions. When you do not practice the truth, you will always feel that your intentions are correct, but when problems arise you will see that you have lots of wrong intentions inside. Therefore, when God perfects man, man will find that he has lots of notions inside preventing him from knowing God. When you realize that your intentions are wrong, but you don’t act according to your own notions and intentions, and instead bear witness to God in everything and stand firm, then this proves that you have forsaken the flesh. When you forsake the flesh, inevitably there will be a battle inside. Satan wants you to follow it and the notions of the flesh, to protect the interests of the flesh. However, God’s word still enlightens and illuminates you within. At this point, it is up to you whether you follow God, or Satan. When God asks people to practice the truth, it is mainly to deal with what’s inside, their thoughts, and their notions that do not comply with God’s will. The Holy Spirit moves people from within and works from the inside. That’s why it’s said that behind every event is a battle—every time truth is practiced and every time people practice loving God, there is an enormous battle. It may seem that all is well in the flesh, but deep inside there is a battle of life and death. Victory will only be determined after fierce fighting and intense inner struggle; this is both funny and pitiful. Because you have many improper intentions inside, or much of God’s work does not match up with your notions, when you practice the truth, there is always a great battle in the background. How many tears of sadness have been shed by the time truth is practiced, ending up in a resolution to satisfy God. It is because of this battle that you suffer and endure refinement. This is real suffering. If you can truly stand on the side of God when the battle commences, then you can satisfy God. Suffering in the course of practicing the truth is inevitable. If, when man is practicing the truth, everything in him is right and proper, then there would be no need for God to perfect him and there would be no battle, and man would not suffer. It is because there are many things inside man that are not fit for God’s use, many rebellious dispositions of the flesh, that man needs to go deeper to learn the lesson of forsaking the flesh. This is what God calls the “suffering” that He asked man to undergo with Him. When you encounter some difficulty, pray to God at once: “Dear God, I am willing to satisfy You, to undergo all manner of hardships to satisfy Your heart. No matter how great the setbacks, I will still satisfy You—even if it costs my life I will satisfy You!” If you have such a resolution, such a prayer, you would be able to stand witness. Every time man practices the truth, every refinement and every trial, every time God’s work arrives, man will suffer greatly. These are tests for man, and that’s why every person will have a battle inside; this is paying the real price. Reading more of God’s words and running more are also some price; this is what man should do and it is his duty and a responsibility he should fulfill. But man must put aside that which he needs to put aside within him. If you don’t, no matter how much you suffer externally and how much you run, it is all for naught! That is to say, only internal changes determine whether what you suffer externally is worthwhile. If your internal disposition is changed and the truth is practiced, then what you suffer externally will be approved by God; if there is no change to your internal disposition, then no matter how much you suffer externally and how much you run, God will not approve of it. If your suffering is not recognized by God, it will all be in vain. So, whether the price you have paid counts depends on whether you have changed, whether you practice the truth and forsake your intentions and notions, thus satisfying God’s desires, and achieving an understanding of and loyalty to God. You can run a lot, but if you never forsake your own intentions, never focus on life, and instead merely carry on external acts and display outward zeal, then all these hardships are for naught. If a situation arises in which you want to say something, but inside you feel that you shouldn’t, that saying this will not benefit the brothers and sisters but will instead hurt them, then don’t say it. It’s better for you to suffer internally, as these words will not satisfy God’s desire. At such a time there will be a battle inside you, but you’re willing to give up what you love and suffer this hardship to satisfy God. Though you suffer inside, you have not pandered to your flesh; then God’s heart will be satisfied and so you will be comforted within. This is what it means to pay a true price, and that’s the price God wants. If you act in this way, God will bless you; if you don’t, then no matter how much you know and how well you speak, it is all in vain! On the path of loving God, when Satan is waging war against God, if you can stand on God’s side, and not turn back toward Satan, then that is loving God, that is standing witness.
On the outside, every step of God’s work on man looks just like interactions between people. It looks like man’s arrangement or disturbance. However, behind each step and each event is a wager that Satan makes in front of God, and it is required that man stand witness for God. Just as when Job was tried, in the background it was a wager between Satan and God, but what Job faced was man’s acts and disturbances. Every step of work God does on you is a wager between Satan and God in the background; there is always a battle in the background. If you are prejudiced against one of the brothers and sisters, making you want to say something that you feel would not please God, but you still feel uncomfortable inside, this is when the battle starts inside you—to say or not to say? This is the battle. That’s why I say that there is a battle behind everything. When there is a battle in you, God will work on you if you practically coordinate with Him and suffer for Him. Eventually you can let go of this event and your anger will naturally dissipate. This is the effect of your working with God. Everything you do requires a certain effort and price. Without real suffering, you cannot satisfy God. It does not even come close to satisfying God; it is all empty words! Would such empty words satisfy God? When Satan and God battle it out in the spiritual world, how should you satisfy God and stand witness for Him? You need to know that every event that comes to you is a big trial for you, and it is a time when God needs you to bear witness. On the surface it doesn’t look like such a big deal, but these things show whether you truly love God. If you love God you would be able to stand witness for Him; if you don’t practice loving God, it shows that you are not someone who practices the truth, there is no truth in you and no life, you are mere chaff! For every event you encounter, it is an event which God needs you to stand witness for Him. Although you are not facing an important event and bear no great witness, in the nitty-gritty of daily life, it is all a matter of bearing witness for God. When you deserve the respect of your brothers and sisters, your family and the people around you, when an unbeliever comes in and sees that all you do deserves respect, he will see that everything God does is really good—this is when you bear witness. Though you are not knowledgeable and you are of poor caliber, through God’s perfection, you can satisfy Him and care for His desires. People will see that God has worked great things on those who are of the poorest caliber. They have known God and become overcomers in front of Satan, and their loyalty to God has reached a certain point. So they are the group of people with the greatest inner strength. This is the greatest witness. Although you can’t do great work, you can satisfy God. Other people can’t let go of their notions; you can. Other people can’t bear witness to God in real experience; you repay God’s love with your real stature and actions and bear resounding witness to God. This is what true love of God is. If you can’t do this, then you won’t have a witness among your family, your brothers and sisters and in front of other men. If you can’t bear witness before Satan, it will laugh at you, treat you as a joke and toy with you. It will often trick you, making you lose your mind. Perhaps in future some great trials will come, but if at present you have a heart that truly loves God, no matter how big the trials are, no matter what comes to you, you will be able to stand witness and satisfy God. Your heart will then be comforted, and you will have no fear no matter how big your future trials are. You do not know what is to come; you can only satisfy God in your present situation. You can’t do great work; you should concern yourself with experiencing God’s word in real life to satisfy God and giving strong and resounding witness, so as to put Satan to shame. Although the flesh is not satisfied and suffers, you will have satisfied God and put Satan to shame. If you always act in this way, God will clear a path before you. When, one day, a big trial comes, other people will fall but you can stay standing. Because of the price you have paid, God will keep you standing and not falling. If you can practice the truth during normal times, and satisfy God with a heart that truly loves God, then God will definitely keep you during future trials. Although you are ignorant, small in stature, and poor in caliber, God will not mistreat you. It depends on whether your intentions are right. Now you can satisfy God, even in the detailed and small matters. You seek to satisfy God in everything, have a heart which genuinely loves God, and offer a true heart to God. Even though there are some matters which you don’t understand, you come before God and set your intentions right, seek His will, and do everything possible to satisfy God. Perhaps the brothers and sisters abandon you, but your heart is trying to satisfy God instead of hankering for fleshly enjoyments. If you always act like this, then when the big trials come you would be protected.
What internal state of people do trials aim at? They are aimed at their rebellious disposition which cannot satisfy God. People have a lot of adulterated things and hypocritical elements inside. Therefore, God needs to try man, and uses such trials to cleanse man. However, if you can satisfy Him now, then future trials would be a perfection for you. If you can’t satisfy Him now, then future trials would be a temptation for you. You would fall down without knowing. At that point you are not in control of yourself, because you can’t keep up with God’s work and you haven’t any real stature. Therefore, if you want to be able to stay standing in the future, to satisfy God better, to follow God till the end, then you must now build a good foundation. You need to practice the truth on every matter to satisfy God and care for His desires. If you always act like this, a foundation will be laid inside of you. God will fan the love for Him in your heart, and He will strengthen your faith. Then, one day, when a trial really comes, perhaps you would undergo some suffering and be sad to a degree, even to the point of being inconsolable and feeling as if you were dead. But your love for God would not change, it would even deepen. That is God’s blessing. If you can now accept everything God says and does with a heart of obedience, God will surely bless you. You will be someone who receives God’s blessings and promises. But if you don’t practice this now, then one day when a trial comes, you will have no love and no faith. Then at that time, the trial will become a temptation, and you will fall into Satan’s temptation with no way to escape. Perhaps now you can stand up to some small trials, but when a big one comes one day you may not be able to stay standing. Some people are complacent and believe that they are near perfect already. If you don’t go deeper at this point, and even become self-satisfied, you are in danger. God doesn’t bring greater trials now and you think that everything is going well, but when God does try you, you will know you’re far too inadequate, because you are severely deficient in stature and you can’t stand up to any big trial. If you don’t make progress now but stand still, then you will fall once a big gust comes. You must always be aware of your small stature, and only then would you improve. If it is only in a trial that you see that your stature is truly small, your will is truly weak, that you have few real things and you are not up to God’s desires, by that point it is too late for you.
If you don’t understand God’s disposition, you’ll certainly fall down during trials, because you don’t know how God perfects people, or with what methods. When you encounter God’s trial, you won’t be able to remain standing if it is different from your notions. God’s true love is God’s whole disposition, and when God’s whole disposition is made manifest to you, what does this bring to your flesh? When God’s righteous disposition is made manifest to you, your flesh must undergo much suffering. Without this suffering, you cannot be perfected by God, nor can you offer true love to God. For God to perfect you, His whole disposition must be made manifest to you. From the creation of the world until now, God’s disposition has never been entirely revealed to people, but in the last days God reveals His whole disposition to this group of people He has predestined and chosen. Moreover, God reveals His disposition through perfecting people, thereby making complete a group of people. This is God’s true love for man. To experience God’s true love for man requires people to experience enormous suffering and pay a high price before they can finally be gained by God, before they can finally return true love to God, and before God’s heart can be satisfied. To be perfected by God, carry out God’s will, and to completely offer true love to God, people must experience much suffering and many torments from the circumstances, to be taken within an inch of one’s life, before eventually they can all but return their true hearts to God. Whether or not a person has true love for God is revealed during the course of suffering and refinement. God purifies people’s love also through suffering and refinement.