Chapter 21. You Must Regard All Things From the Perspective of the Truth
People are still incapable of seeing through worldly food and clothing. Can these things fulfill their real needs? When it comes to the depths of people’s spirits, these things are incapable of nourishing the needs within their hearts. In the world, no one has higher status than the president—but there are still times when he feels empty, that there is no point in living. Isn’t this even more true for a couple of pieces of clothing? Isn’t it beneath you to fight for such things? How degrading that is! There are times when people are with Me, and when I give something to someone else, they start nitpicking: How come God bought him that? How come He didn’t take care of me? I lack this and that…. What do you lack? You want for nothing. All you do is fight for things, you’re greedy! You want for nothing, your belly is full, your clothes are nice, you don’t lack anything. Could I look out for, and attend to every single person? This isn’t My obligation! You yourself must grasp principles—don’t fight, and when you fight you become disgusting. Sometimes people understand this, and are aware that these things are mere worldly possessions and can’t replace the things within them, that no matter how good their clothes are, their spirits are completely empty. When these words are spoken, people all understand them. But when something truly happens, they can’t help themselves. People don’t know these things clearly. Many officials eat in restaurants every day, they drink and have meat with each meal. The whole table is filled with slabs of fish and meat, they never have enough of them. That’s what they are, a starving ghost reborn; in their previous life they starved to death, and in this life they’re making up for it. Many people have money and power, but when you dissect their life, what kind of life is it? They spend the whole day thinking about going to restaurants or hotels—they don’t have any work to do. After they’ve finished eating, they go and buy expensive clothes and leather shoes, and give each other gifts, that’s all they do the whole day long. What is their life? They have no life. What are their values? Every day they drink and eat their fill, every day they go to hotels and restaurants, and wear famous brands—well then, this is the worth of their life, and how worthless it is! What are these people? They’re the reincarnation of beasts, they’re not human! People may have had enough, they may have had enough of eating. If normal people always ate the same food they wouldn’t be able to carry on, they’d want a change; that they have regular tastes means they have regular humanity. People who are never satisfied in their enjoyments are beasts.
When someone lives in a group, they spend all the time fighting for what they eat and wear: “If you don’t give it to me, I’ll quarrel.” They think this is unfair: “I was given nothing to eat, I must say something about it.” How is this any different to animals? They don’t do any proper work. Some people who were especially rich or powerful killed themselves; there was enjoyment in what they ate and wore, so why did they kill themselves? From this it can be seen that those things are not what people need. Don’t wait until you’ve become so depraved as to be beyond salvation before you look back—it’ll be too late then! When they see others suffering loss, people who are smart are able to distill their own experiences before they go through the same thing. The foolish person has to go through something themselves, and has to fail, before they are able to distill a little experience, and then it’s too late. Those officials in political circles are always cursing and saying, “It’s over for people, they are all bad through and through.” There’s no point in them living, but that’s what they are, they don’t extricate themselves from the political arena, and they have to fight, they can’t help but fight, because they like it. That they still curse after gaining the things they like proves that what they’ve gained isn’t what they need, it is not what they truly need. In fact, the whole of mankind needs the truth, not just those who are saved. Whether you are one of God’s chosen people or not, you need the truth, you need God’s salvation, and you need the provision of the truth. And yet some people are animals; they can’t take these things in, they push them away, and the nature within them has turned beastly and perverted. And so, no matter how much you talk to them of the truth and the belief in God, none of it goes in. No matter how good it sounds to them, it goes in one ear and out the other. They can’t take it to heart; they spend all day doing as officials do, going to dance halls, bars, eating and drinking—they’ve been completely taken over by these things, and stuffed full of atheist views. They want to believe in God, and they know it is good to believe in God, but after thinking for a while they’re incapable of taking this path. This isn’t the path for them; it has been decreed that they not belong to the house of God.
In fact, people in the world also feel pain, and feel trapped within this situation, they are also looking for a Savior to rescue them. Today, if mankind didn’t believe in God, it would truly be incurable. If you hadn’t been dealt with, pruned, judged and chastised for the past few years, it would be difficult to say what you would be like, and you wouldn’t be any better than them. You might even be worse than some of them. In society, if you don’t change you won’t survive. You don’t change deliberately, but do so unconsciously. You become more and more cruel, more and more vicious. You’ve no choice but to be vicious; if you can’t sort them out, then they will bully you. Mankind is becoming worse and worse; in particular, over the last several years, society has become especially bad. Fortunately, you’ve spent the last few years shut off from it, and so you’re a lot better than the unbelievers. During the last decade or more, the pace of change has been especially fast and people have gotten terribly bad. Sometimes, you meet worldly people in somewhere and there is not the slightest trace of humanity in the words they speak. Five or six years ago—or a decade ago—relatives would still visit each other. Some would be officials, and their relatives in the countryside could benefit from their power; if the relatives went to their house and asked them for help, they would. The brothers and sisters, too, would happily do things for each other if they were asked. Today, even when it’s your best friend you have to give them a gift for them to do something for you. You have to—if you don’t, they’ll do nothing, and will even curse you. That’s how bad people have become. In today’s society, if you don’t learn how to be that bad then you’ll be unable to carry on living. If you’re good, you’ll surely die—it’s impossible to be someone good. If you don’t want to die, then you have to become bad, but the worse you become the further you are from God, and the sooner you’ll die. Is the world not like this? Some people say: “I could have gotten rich if I’d gone into business during these last few years.” And I say, “Then it would already be over for you. What would you get? You’d be sent to hell.” Some people say, “If I’d worked during these years, I could have become a high official long ago.” That’s right—you might really have become a high official, but you would have also made great mistakes and committed great evil. For this is people’s nature, these circumstances enable them to do such things. You are capable of anything the worldly people are, you are capable of being bad in whatever way they are. Some people say they regret expending themselves for God during these last few years, but they don’t know what great blessings they have enjoyed, and how much they’ve been protected. They’re so befuddled, so foolish, and they actually come out with such words. If you don’t follow God you’ll get nothing—and even if you do get rich, that’s not something good.
Today, many people are particularly confused in their belief in God. They don’t know what they should gain, they are truly ignorant of what they should gain from believing in God—if not, how could they fight so fervently for the sake of a piece of clothing? They really don’t understand what the belief in God is for, they’re unclear about this. Why people should live, why they should exist in this way, where the value of such an existence lies, where its meaning lies—they truly don’t know these things. If, in your heart, you have always been clear about why people live, then is there value and meaning in you suffering such hardship? And ought you to suffer thus? Why do people live like this? In the future, if you keep living like this, will you regret it? When you set your resolve, was it on impulse, or had you really thought things through and understood them? For what do you live? What is the direction of your life? What is the goal of your life? Can you ensure that you won’t give up half way, that you’ll keep going, that you’ll carry on regardless of what circumstances befall you, regardless of the context, or what difficulties or hardship you face, that you are able to continue onward no matter how great the persecution, tribulations, or trials? Some don’t dare to make such a guarantee, they don’t even possess this little bit of faith. For the moment, let’s put aside whether or not you possess this stature and speak only of whether you possess this faith and resolve. Some don’t dare speak out, and say: “I don’t dare say, I don’t dare make this guarantee.” And what does this prove? That they have no idea. Although they have believed in God up until today, if you ask them: “Why do you believe in God? What should people gain from believing in God? And what path should they now walk? What kind of path should people choose for it to be the right path, for them to do what’s right?” some of them don’t have a clue, they don’t know, and they can’t answer. They think for a long time and reply with something nice-sounding: “Belief in God is in order to satisfy God, it has meaning.” Do they, in fact, have any idea? They do not, they are muddleheaded. Today, you might have some appreciation of this.
There are people who gain something when they’re ill. At the point of life and death, they ask for salvation from God—but how much trouble would it be if everyone went through this? There’d be no need for them all to experience calling out to God at the point of life and death. Look at some people’s experiences, look at their feelings, listen to what they commune and what they’ve gone through. You should be able to appreciate these things, but there’s no need to personally experience them, you don’t have to take your body to the brink of death in order to know that you should treasure your life—there’s no need for everyone to go through this. When people are close to death, they feel that there hasn’t been a great change in them, that they have little knowledge of God, and what they’ve done and expended is limited. As there hasn’t been a great change, they’re unwilling to die, and after following God they feel that they haven’t gained much, that there have been few changes in them, that they owe God too much; if they really die, they don’t know where they’ll go. When Job’s trials came upon him, sores broke out all over his body. The people back then would surely have cursed him severely. After some people fall prey to a vile disease, there are those who will say that they may well have done something to deserve it. Back then, there were undoubtedly those who said this of Job. The Bible recorded it thus: Some people said, “How did you offend Jehovah God? Make sure you confess properly. Jehovah is righteous.” To put it plainly, back then there were unquestionably those who talked behind his back, saying he probably did something to offend Jehovah, that he likely did something disgraceful. But in his heart, Job understood: He felt he hadn’t done anything bad, but the onset of such trials brought him pain. And when he was in pain, he did not ask to live, but to die, that means he suffered the pain to a certain point. You still want to live when the pain hasn’t gotten to a certain point. There are people who endure pain to a certain point and want to die straight away, they can’t go on—that’s what they feel. Job prayed that he might soon be released, that he die and be done with it, yet there was still some praise within him. He was better than most people; at such a time, most people would have been without praise, and would have said, “God, You need but give me one breath, hurry up and save me! And when I live I’ll do whatever You want.” At such times, people start making trades.
When illness befalls you, how should you experience it? You should come before God to pray, seeking and trying to grasp God’s will: What kinds of things have I done wrong, or what things concerning my disposition are there within me that haven’t been solved? These cannot be solved without suffering; people must be tempered through suffering, so that they cease to be dissolute and are always before God. When people feel upset, they always pray, and their desires disappear. Nice food, nice clothes, nice things to look at and play with—they desire none of them. When someone is really upset, what do they want to eat? They do not want to eat anything. What do they want to wear? They give no thought to what to wear. They want nothing more than to lie there without moving. But in their hearts, they must pray, reflecting upon whether they have done anything wrong lately. Yet for most people, when they suffer a major illness or vile disease, when they endure great pain or harm, this doesn’t happen by chance. As was originally said in “the utterances of the seven Spirits,” whether you’re ill or in good health, there is God’s will in both. Ordinarily, when they have the work of the Holy Spirit, people don’t think anything of it. When they’re well, people seek—but when they’re having a hard time, they don’t seek God, they don’t know how to seek; people feel that they only live in illness, that their lives are in disarray, and they think only of their illness: “How can I cure it? What medicine should I take? Should I go on an IV drip or take Chinese medicine? How can I recover more quickly?” When their health is good, they can do this and that, but at such times, they envy those who are able to walk and do things, they’re jealous of those who are without illness, and wish to rid themselves of their own sickness as soon as possible. This is an emotion of negative antagonism. There are times when people think, Is this the result of my own foolishness, or is it God’s will? When something rare happens to you—you’ve got the snuffles; the weather’s turned cold and you have excessive internal heat, or else you’ve caught a bug that’s going round—this is normal. But when you suffer a major illness, one which makes you suddenly collapse, which suddenly makes you feel you’d be better off dead, such feelings and sickness don’t happen by chance. How does the Holy Spirit accompany people? Merely by enlightening them, and giving them the light? The Holy Spirit doesn’t only work in one way. How does the Holy Spirit test people? Does the Holy Spirit not do so by making things hard for them? Trials are suffering, and when there are trials they are accompanied by suffering. If there were no trials, how would people suffer? And if they didn’t suffer, how could they change? Trials are accompanied by suffering and that is the work of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes the Holy Spirit gives you some pain; if not, people would forget their place in the universe and grow insolent. In some matters, communing the truth doesn’t solve the problem; other people point it out to you and you are aware of what it is, but you’re incapable of changing. Does this happen a lot? You hit yourself in the head, you hurl yourself against a wall, you harm your flesh—but this doesn’t solve the problem. Your nature exists within, it is alive, and like people’s living thoughts, it can appear at any time or place. And what is to be done when the problem can’t be solved? Some refinement of illness is used: At the onset of refinement, the suffering is more than some people can bear, and they begin to pray. When nothing has happened to you, you are especially dissolute and insolent, but when you’re ill, you start to behave well—and could you still be insolent then? You don’t even have the energy to speak; how could you reprimand others and be arrogant? At that time you won’t ask for anything, you’ll just want to lie down somewhere and the suffering to stop. At that time, you will give no thought to what to eat, wear, or enjoy. Most of you haven’t ever gone through this; when you have, you’ll understand. Today, there are people who always fight for this or that; none of them have suffered enough, they have no self-respect. They all await hardship and refinement!
Sometimes, when you are placed in certain situations, or else some people deal with you, it gives you a hard time and makes you learn a lesson. Today, this is the work God does, this is one aspect. Another aspect is that your flesh is made to suffer some pain. It’s like how Paul always said there was a thorn in him. What was the thorn? Was it not an illness? He couldn’t pull it out. Paul was very clear about what the illness was: It was because of his disposition and nature. If Paul had not been pricked by this thorn, if he were not afflicted by this illness, he would have been liable to create his own kingdom at any place or time—but when he fell ill he lost the capacity to do so, he didn’t have the energy to do that. And so, illness is often a protective umbrella for people. If you are without illness—if you are full of beans—then you are very likely to commit evil; as soon as you become insolent or dissolute, you lose your rationality, and when you lose your rationality you do bad things, after which you feel regret; at that time, it’ll be out of your control. And so, some illnesses are a good thing. It could be that you are able to solve other people’s difficulties and the problems in your own thoughts, but when your illness can’t get better, there’s nothing you can do. It is truly outside of your control, and when it befalls you, no prescription or cure will do—this is the hardship you ought to suffer, and you shouldn’t try to cast it off. You should pray, seek to obey, and seek God’s will: “God, I know I’m corrupt and my nature is bad, I know I’m capable of doing things that rebel against and oppose You, that hurt and pain You. It’s so good that You make me suffer this illness, and I should obey. But I beg You to enlighten me, to make me understand what Your will is, what about me You wish to change and make perfect. I ask only that You guide the direction of my path, make me understand the path of human life, make me understand Your will, and make me aware of this aspect of the truth.” You must seek and pray, and cannot be muddleheaded—you mustn’t say things like, “If I’m ill I’m ill; I will get some medicine from a doctor of Chinese medicine, and if that doesn’t work I’ll look for a doctor of Western medicine. If Western medicine doesn’t work, I’ll go under the knife—I’ll have the illness cut out. Then I’ll see if I still suffer.” If you have the illness cut out here, it’ll appear somewhere else; you have the tumor out here, and a big lump will come up elsewhere, after which you’ll break your arms and legs. Going against God is no laughing matter! And so, when many things happen to you, don’t jump to conclusions, saying “It’s this,” or, “It’s not a big deal—I’ve done nothing to offend God.” You still defend yourself. If God were truly within your heart, you wouldn’t let anything go but would pray and seek, gradually grasping God’s will in every single thing. And when God sees that you are especially obedient, He will gradually lessen your pain. Throughout the ages, the most devout Christians, believers, apostles, and prophets have been stoned to death, pulled to death by horses, hung to death, fried to death in boiling oil, crucified to death. They have died in every way possible. So don’t expect following God to bring you the slightest comfort—do not ask for this or have extravagant desires about it. Why do I say it is wrong to make demands of God? Because when people make even the smallest demands, these demands are extravagant desires—which people shouldn’t have. Do not have extravagant desires, do not say: “God, give me something nice to wear, I deserve to wear something nice. God, make me suffer no pain; I work, and so I have reason to ask that You give me good health.” In that case, do you stop believing in God when in poor health? Do you stop performing your duty when you’re poorly? Isn’t it natural, a given, that you perform your duty? This is your life’s mission, it is an unshirkable responsibility; you should do it even if no one else does, and you must possess this resolve. There are many who follow God but think in their hearts: If I’m suffering, what am I doing still following God? Following God is in order to make my life easy; if not, then I wouldn’t follow God. Are such views not wrong? After experiencing all these years, you’ve seen how, in those who truly pursue, there are none of the obvious blessings that people imagine. Bursting with joy each day, being happy, being beautiful and pretty, wearing nice clothes, achieving success in everything they do, prospering in the world—not one of them are like that. The going is made very hard for them; they’re rejected at work, and plagued by illness. There are still some who are never successful in business, whose families don’t believe in God and reject them. Think about it—all those who live in comfort have not truly entered in the pursuit of the truth; when you truly enter, and truly pursue, then you will inevitably be accompanied by persecution and adversity. And what does the accompaniment of persecution and adversity prove? That God has not left you, that God has not abandoned you, that God’s hand always holds you and never lets you go. Were God to let go of you, you would fall into the net of Satan—and then wouldn’t it be over for you? When you fall into Satan’s snare, God pays you no heed; you gamble, visit prostitutes, play around with women, go to the dance hall, drink alcohol, get roaring drunk, pursue being a government official, pursue fame and fortune and status…. And when God does not concern Himself with you, you’re finished. You may have gained the things of the world, but you’ve actually already lost the greatest thing—and you don’t even know it!
Some people say: Why does God always concern Himself with me? He doesn’t make other people ill—why am I always getting sick? Why are things always hard for me? Why is my family always so poor? Why can’t I get rich? When you get rich, you’re probably finished. If you get rich today, you’ll be depraved tomorrow, won’t you? Some people say: Why am I always poorly? Why can’t I ever wear any nice clothes? Why is it that others are able to wear nice clothes? Why is my health always like this? Why are others always fine? Pay no attention to how many of God’s graces and blessings other people enjoy. It could be that, because they are of small stature, and God has sympathized with some of their weaknesses over the last few years, God has given them some grace, allowing them to slowly know God’s deeds during this period of grace, bit-by-bit. But for you, God’s requirements are exceptionally strict. Outwardly, there’s no sign of you having any great enjoyment; He keeps making you suffer pain, and you must be especially thankful and praiseful in these matters; only then will you be someone who knows God’s deeds. On the contrary, some people grow angry, and say: “Why does God always concern Himself with me?” Is it wrong for God to concern Himself with you? It is good that God concerns Himself with you! Some people even ask, “Why does God always deal with me?” If God were to not deal with you or concern Himself with you, then you’d be finished. Others don’t do any work, they don’t take on any important responsibilities, and God ignores them; they’re willing to abandon themselves to debauchery, they don’t know anything—and does anyone pay attention to them? God’s concern for you and dealing with you is Him taking responsibility for you. In many things you must pray more, seek more, and spend more time before God kneeling and praying. Don’t be dissolute, or willful, don’t refuse to admit your mistakes; if you’re stubborn and intractable, you’re finished. You’ve received God’s grace, yet you don’t feel that it is grace. You feel it is pressure that has been put on you, you find no enjoyment in these things, and don’t see them as beautiful. Instead, you are hostile to such matters, you are repulsed and unwilling, you spend all day angry, you’re full of resentment, you’re not even willing to pray—and this is dangerous. Having just fallen ill, some people pray, and afterward the illness doesn’t get better and they live in sickness. They complain, saying: “What’s the point of believing in God? I believe in God but God hasn’t brought me anything good, I spend all day sick….” And after complaining like this, they die. If your flesh is terminated and you are sent to Hades, you’re completely and utterly finished, you have no chance of salvation in this life. If you die and go to hell, your entire soul will be forfeit. The work of salvation has reached the final step, and you have not been saved—what chance do you have? You have none! During the work of salvation of this life, they’ve been destroyed, their destination has been set, they’ve been punished and died. Their destination has already been set, they didn’t die a normal death of old age; those who died the death of punishment have no chance of salvation, they’re likely to be punished somewhere. Hasn’t Paul always been punished in Hades? How could he have been reincarnated? It’s been two thousand years, and he’s still there being punished! If you knowingly sin, you’re in even more trouble, you’re even more of a problem case, and you will receive greater punishment!
Some people say: “I feel like the work of the Holy Spirit has been absent recently; I keep falling ill and having a hard time, and am always surrounded by certain environments.” This is right—there are times when the Holy Spirit works in one way, and times when He works in another. Sometimes the Holy Spirit enlightens you, using communion to make you understand certain truths, and sometimes the Holy Spirit uses an environment to make you understand; in some environments the Holy Spirit tests you, and tempers you, and trains you so that you grow. Such are the methods employed by the Holy Spirit. Previously, when you experienced things, you possessed no knowledge, for you did not have such things within your hearts. But there are some things that are man-made—not taking care of your body, not keeping healthy or well-nourished, and you must pay more attention to these things. Nonetheless, be it man-made or bestowed upon you by the Holy Spirit, everything is God’s special grace for you. You must be grateful, and can’t complain. When people make a complaint, there is a stain on them, a sin that cannot be washed clean. When you make a complaint, how much time does it take to turn this around? When you’re a little negative, it could take you a month to recover. When you complain and say some words that contain negative emotions, you could take more than a year to recover, during which the Holy Spirit will cease to work. Isn’t it horrible when you harbor a complaint? And it’s even worse when you speak of this complaint, right? So, how much time do people have to spend praying before they can receive a little of the Holy Spirit’s work? In fact, the work of the Holy Spirit is present in all of your experiences. In particular, when people are faced with persecution or tribulations, they grow anxious, and start to pray to God for wisdom, and nothing more. How small their stature is—they’re incapable of praying. Sometimes, God uses the people around you to give you problems and put you in trouble, at which times you have no choice but to return before God and begin to reflect: What did I do wrong? God, You should make me understand. If I don’t understand, I’ll pray every day, I must persevere, until I understand. If I pray and don’t understand, then I’ll search about this for all the four seasons of the year, it will always be kept in my heart, and later, when I meet someone who understands, I’ll commune with them. Only this is what it means to take responsibility for yourself; true deception is trying to fool yourself.
Ordinarily, none of you pray a lot, yes? When people don’t pray a lot, they don’t search much, and when they don’t search much, they are without obedience. If you don’t have a searching attitude, how can you obey? How can you know God’s deeds and God’s work in you? You cannot know these things, and so you cannot be said to have any obedience. If you don’t know what it means to obey, what are you obeying? Whom do you obey? Obedience is not something vague and abstract. Obedience requires objectives and recipients. If you do not know what God does, what are you obeying? It is but an empty word. When something happens to you, how do you pray, how do you search? What is the tone and the words with which you search? When you pray, you can’t randomly copy. If you copy the words of Jesus—“May Your will be done”—that is not appropriate; all that God does in you is to make you perfect, and cannot be said to be His will. Don’t say that God’s making you perfect, His occasional pruning of you, and His giving you painful ordeals are God’s will—that’s not right, and the Holy Spirit will not work. You cannot pray in this way, this is the wrong position to take. Some people even say: “I wish only for things to be accomplished according to Your will, and not according to my will.” In that case, you’re putting yourself on the same level as God—and isn’t that terrible? Christ prayed to God the Father and said, “Yet not as I will, but as You will.” Christ prayed thus to the Spirit in heaven, from the perspective of the flesh, an equal of God, of the same standing; They were one, but it was merely that the perspective was different. That was how Christ prayed—but for man to also pray thus would be without rationality. No wonder the Holy Spirit provides no enlightenment. There is no reality to what you say; where is the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment of you? You even say, “As You will, not as I will, enlighten me.” How muddled you are! If you can’t tell the difference, then you have no chance of understanding the truth. You cannot randomly copy when you pray. In how you should pray whenever anything happens to you, if you have experience of praying, you will also guide those below you in praying in such a way. People should all learn how to come before God: Do not handle anything blindly, don’t act and imagine things on your own terms, don’t try and do things on your own. Doing this causes interruption and disturbance, and goes against God’s will—and that’s trouble. If, when you guide the people in your area, you guide them in this way, and yet they are still incapable of praying, then you are walking a wrong path. Or else, under your guidance, those people are merely capable of speaking some superficial words when they pray, and nothing more; after praying there is not the slightest effect, they are unable to grasp God’s will, incapable of knowing how the Holy Spirit works, and have not been the slightest bit enlightened or illuminated, and so no effect has been achieved. In that case, your prayers belong to ceremony and are going through the formalities. This is not acceptable. Such matters call for summary through experience, which requires that people be meticulous in their thoughts. This is very difficult to achieve for those who are careless. What kind of people are enlightened by the Holy Spirit? Those who are nimble and meticulous in their thoughts. When they are given a feeling, and enlightenment, such people are able to realize that this is done by the Holy Spirit, that God wishes to work in this way. Or else, there may be times when they are being reprimanded, they sense this instantly and pull back—this is the kind of person enlightened by the Holy Spirit. In those who are careless, they are given a feeling, but they are incapable of realizing it, and ultimately, the Holy Spirit sees that they are no good; they pay no attention to the work of the Holy Spirit, and so the Holy Spirit leaves them and enlightens them no more. When they do not accept enlightenment three or four times in a row, then the Holy Spirit works no more. Why is it that, as they go forward, some people become dark inside, and negative, and without strength, and bereft of the slightest enlightenment of the Holy Spirit? With only those dead things, that dead doctrine, how could they be strong—yes? You must be meticulous in your thoughts. Some people are not meticulous in their thoughts, they merely rely on dreaming. What they dreamed one day, or what they dreamed yesterday—their decisions are always based on this information. Would that allow them to make the right decisions? Knowing yourself and understanding God’s will must be through the truth, through knowing, and through experiencing, not through external phenomena. Is the work of the Holy Spirit real? It is especially real. Some of you are only capable of understanding the truth, but you have no experience of the work of the Holy Spirit. In the future, you must pay attention to the most subtle of feelings, the most subtle of light. When something happens to you, you must observe it and approach it from the perspective of the truth, and you will slowly enter onto the correct path, onto the right track. If you regard all things with fleshly eyes, and analyze them using doctrine, if you analyze, consider, and approach them using logic and regulation, with the brain and thinking of a worldly person, then you will be incapable of entering onto the right track, you will always be on the outside, and you will be incapable of understanding the truth. Today, you must gradually devote your attention to this area; don’t think, “I’m a late believer, so there’s no need to worry. He understands, he has a foundation; I don’t understand, but when the time comes I will.” Don’t think like this; because you have come to believe late, you should be anxious, and have a greater awareness of this area.
If you approach everything from the viewpoint of the truth, then in much of what happens to you, you will be able to uncover many problems and will acquire much knowledge. If you study and analyze things using your brain, or regard them and approach them using fleshly eyes—for example, you think “I’m just ill, that’s all,” during the times that you are sick—then there is actually a big problem in this. It’s likely that if your thoughts are meticulous in this matter, there will be times when the Holy Spirit gives you a flash of inspiration, saying something of your faults or disposition, He gives you pain to temper you and make you suffer, so that you return to your heart to carefully reflect and ponder, and see what’s the matter inside you. He gives you pain to take you back to the depths of your heart, and when you return there, you’ll understand this matter. If God did not give you pain, then you’d feel that you had no problem, that there was nothing out of the ordinary; you’d be incapable of reflecting upon that aspect of your disposition. And if you are incapable of reflecting upon it, then you will be unable to understand that aspect of the truth. Do you have a little experience of such things? Yet people have been too numb in their cooperation. Everything that the Holy Spirit does is especially timely, and carried out according to people’s needs, and according to their current stature and state. It has been said that God works at the proper time and when needed, that His work is especially timely, that He does not delay. What do these words mean? In your actual experiences, you have seen that, every time something happens to you, the Holy Spirit moves and enlightens you in time. But people’s cooperation is poor; sometimes, after hearing about something, they think this is what it is, and don’t try to understand it more. They are only capable of feeling it, but don’t try to understand it in terms of rationality. They have a perceptual feeling, but pay no attention to it in terms of rationality. The next time you’re touched, you shake it off once more; there are times when you are lazy, and lie on the bed, unwilling to write these things down, then you’ll instantly forget them. Those who are assiduous will note them down with a pen, after which they’ll feel especially good when they read of them once more. Upon this foundation, they can still gain some light. If someone is careless, these things will pass them by in a flash, and if they always let them pass by, the Holy Spirit will cease to work. In your thoughts, you must be agile and meticulous, you can’t be lazy. You must also be timely in your cooperation. When you gain knowledge in this area, you must be quick to pray, kneeling to pray at any time or place, either guiding others or hurrying to kneel and pray. And how should you pray? Your prayers must be centered around the area in which you have gained enlightenment. Sometimes, this may seem to have been imagined by you, but it doesn’t matter that it’s what you’ve imagined—pray according to this. And when you pray, if your words flow freely, and you gain much enlightenment during the time that you pray, then you’re praying correctly, and you should write these things down. Sometimes, when your state is good, you are able to remember them; when it isn’t, you forget them.
People are able to write many passages of doctrine, yet they are incapable of writing a single line of true knowledge. No one cherishes true knowledge, right? This proves that people don’t know what is important, what is minor, what’s key, what they ought to gain, or what they ought not to gain—and so they lose it all. Carry a small notebook with you, and when you are enlightened by the Holy Spirit, write it down. The Holy Spirit works at all times and in all places; sometimes you feel really tired, but He’ll still enlighten you, and when you use this to pray, you’ll immediately be reinvigorated. In fact, you have forfeited much of the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. Every one of you is a waste of space! Has the Holy Spirit not worked in you? He has done much work, but you haven’t realized it, and so you cannot say “God does not grace me.” God has given you much grace. In fact, there are also laws to the work of the Holy Spirit, which you must summarize. When you do, many things emerge. Take praying: There are times when you can gain a lot of enlightenment from praying, but you don’t know this; even though the enlightenment comes from your own mouth, if you don’t pay attention, you can’t perceive this, and you know only that it is a good prayer, that it feels pretty gratifying. Afterward, you lie there about to sleep, and you sense that you aren’t having any trouble getting to sleep today. So you think that when you sleep in the evening after you pray, God graces you and allows you to sleep well. Is that what really happened? Don’t be blind! In fact, when you were praying there were many words that were crucial, but which were all lost. The greatest help the Holy Spirit’s work gives to man is to allow him to understand many truths, to understand much of God’s will, to stop him going against God’s will, and enable him to act according to this direction, not deviating from the right way, understanding the truth, and understanding God’s will. What is the aim of the Holy Spirit’s work? And what is the aim of His enlightening man? Sometimes, He leads the way ahead; sometimes He reminds people, and helps them, and lends them support; when you are about to take the wrong path, He supports you like a walking staff, giving you help, and in other words, He takes you onto the correct path, as if He were guiding you in the right direction. Regardless of what experiences and knowledge the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit concerns, and regardless of differences in people’s individual backgrounds, this enlightenment does not go against or contradict the truth in the slightest. If every person carries on experiencing in this way, if they truly search and pray, and have true obedience, if the Holy Spirit works thus without cease, and if their thoughts are meticulous and agile, and none of the enlightenment is lost, then people’s stature will grow especially quickly, and in this they will be making the most of their opportunities. One characteristic of the work of the Holy Spirit is that it is especially fast: In a flash, it’s gone. He doesn’t work like an evil spirit, which pushes you to do things and lets you act no other way. In the work of the Holy Spirit, there are times in which He gives you a feeling when something bad happens to you, making you feel especially panicked. But these are special circumstances; ordinarily, during people’s normal experiences, He gives them a subtle feeling, or else a small, subtle idea or thought, allowing you to understand what He means—which, through people’s brains, is then translated into human language. In fact, if you keep on like this, if you use these truths as a foundation and, when the Holy Spirit works in you, and you are always able to grasp this work, you will absolutely—absolutely—not stray from the true way; even if no one ever communes with you, tutors you, or you have no work arrangements, if you carry on in this direction, you will definitely not take the wrong path. After Jesus was resurrected and ascended to heaven, Peter met with Jesus, but he only did so a limited number of times. It is not as you imagine; he was not able to meet with Jesus often, meeting Him whenever he wanted, meeting Him as soon as he prayed when there was something he didn’t understand. Could it be that easy? God does not appear to people lightly; most of the time, He made Peter understand through the work of the Holy Spirit. Peter was able to achieve this, so why can’t you? What, in the final analysis, does this prove? That you have no ability of understanding.
No matter what happens to you, you must regard it from the perspective of the truth. If, when something happens to you, you think: “This is up to me to handle, that can be dealt with in my mind, it can be handled by my brain; when something else happens I’ll handle it using my own know-how and methods,” then you will gain nothing. Peter didn’t think like this, and so he was able to grasp God’s will. And after Jesus had ascended to heaven, how was he still able to grasp God’s will? Through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. If he was incapable of grasping the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment, then when Jesus no longer appeared to him after being resurrected and ascending to heaven, how was he able to understand? When God becomes flesh to work, it is not as people imagine; people are not only made perfect when God keeps personally providing advice every day. It’s not like that—the work of the Spirit also plays a part! The Spirit does most of the work; the flesh does the work of leading, and after this work of leading has been finished, the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit allows people to understand issues of detail. If you are incapable of understanding the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, then you will only be able to gain one part, and will be unable to gain more issues of detail—in which case there will be no change or growth in you. Nothing is harder to grasp than the work and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit; but there are actually laws to this. As soon as something involves the Spirit, people feel it is onerous. If something doesn’t involve the enlightenment and guidance of the Holy Spirit, if there are not these subtle things, then people feel it is really easy. If it only involves chatting about the truth and holding communion, then people feel it’s very easy, but at the mention of the work and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, people feel it’s onerous. And why is that? People are lazy, they’re too careless, and they are unwilling to understand more. When you try to understand this, your mind won’t wander to other things. If you spend the whole day living in other affairs, then you will be incapable of focusing on this. If you spend the whole day living in doctrine, dissolution, and what you eat and wear, if you spend the whole day living in love and romance, then the enlightenment and guidance of the Holy Spirit will be unable to step in, and the Holy Spirit will have no means of working in you. So you must pray more, searching for the work of the Holy Spirit, searching for how you can welcome the work of the Holy Spirit, and must not let it slip away. Pray to God, and say: “O God! I beg You to do Your work in me, and make me perfect, and change me, making me know there is Your will in all things, and allowing me to obey and understand Your will in all things. In Your salvation of me, there is Your supreme love, and Your will. Although man is rebellious and resistant, although man’s nature is betrayal, today I have understood Your will in saving man, and I am willing to cooperate with You. I would that You give me more environments, trials, and suffering, allowing me to behold Your hand amid such suffering, and see Your deeds, allowing me to be someone who understands and obeys Your will, and not someone who is dissolute, but someone who is down to earth.” Pray in this way, frequently praying thus and asking that the Holy Spirit always works in you. When the Holy Spirit sees that you are walking the right path, and diligent in your duties, He will give you some environments to test you, He will give you a grave trial to see whether you are able to overcome it. Some of you can’t bear this, and say: “God, no more, go easy on me.” You’re finished—in this, you have failed. If you truly sense this environment grave, then pray to God and say: “God, although the environment You have given me is grave, I know my stature is small and I can’t stand it. I beg You to provide to me according to my stature, to make me understand Your will, not rebel against You or complain, and able to completely obey and satisfy You no matter how heavy or light my suffering. Whether suffering be heavy or light, as long as it is Your will, then I shall obey without any complaint, and will not go against Your will, and regardless of how great the suffering You bring upon me in the future, if I can bear it, then I beg that You give it to me.” You must assuredly and bravely pray. Don’t be evasive, don’t shy away. It may be that, when the Holy Spirit sees that you really walk the right path, are diligent on your duties, and really want God in your heart, and pursue the truth, the Holy Spirit may give you something major—He will give you great strength to allow you to overcome, and so you will overcome. For you to overcome in something really major is much higher than you understanding some minor doctrinal words in many little things, and this concerns bearing witness.
When, in their daily lives or their church lives, people encounter certain realities—relations with the opposite sex, for example—some are incapable of experiencing such trials. As soon as such things happen to them, they will surely fall down. Every time such things happen, when they come out the other end, their faces are particularly ashen. This is not acceptable, there is no testimony in this. In financial matters, some people are weak, and steal little, insignificant things. In anything involving money, they complain to God: “Why don’t I have that much money? God, why are You not righteous? Why am I poor? And why is everyone else rich? I believe in You—so why do I have to be poor?” As soon as such things happen to them, they complain and are not mindful of God’s will. Some people are weak in matters involving status, and as soon as such things occur, it’s over for them, they can’t overcome them. For example, when they’re offered an important position and a higher salary, or certain benefits, as soon as this happens to them they are incapable of standing their ground. In their hearts, they think: “Do I take the job or not?” They pray, and they think, “Yes, I have to take it.” If they still search after they have made up their mind, then there is no need to search. They go and take the job, but then still want to return to the belief in God, and they pray to God and say: “God, I beg You to give me trials.” Does God still need to test you? You fell in something so small—could you withstand trials? You are unfit for trials. There are even vile people who fight for a few clothes that have been given out; at such times, the Holy Spirit watches you from one side, watching what views and attitudes you express, and He begins to test you. In their hearts, some people think: “I don’t want this. Even if God graces me, I don’t want it; I’ve had enough. God has already given me so much grace. In such matters I don’t care about nice clothes or eating well, I only care about pursuing being able to gain You. I don’t want that which is not my due, I have no need of luxury. You’ve given me enough grace, I am unfit. When I gained the truth from You, You gave this freely; I am unfit to gain such things.” Seeing that they are right, the Holy Spirit enlightens them more, He makes them understand more, He gives them more zeal, and more insight into the truth. And when that vile person sees that things are being given out, they say: “OK, if no one else is fighting for these clothes, I’ll try and get two pieces. If they give things to other people and not me, I’ll curse them, and make things hard for them, so that they can see I’m not to be trifled with; next time they come to give things out, I’ll see whether they give me anything or not.” When the Holy Spirit sees that you’re like this, He will expose you and make you poor, desperately poor! People such as this should be punished, and will not gain anything! Other people spent 30 yuan that they had been blessed with to buy a pair of nice shoes or something especially nice, but that vile person spent 300 yuan, yet they didn’t buy anything good; they bought junk, things they couldn’t wear. In many instances, the Holy Spirit graces people when they’re least expecting it; and if you are not graced, you are punished when you least expect it. Does this happen a lot?
Whenever anything happens to you, what should be the first thing you do? You should first pray. Before anything else, pray. What does your prayer show? It shows that you are pious, that you know to seek God, and proves that you have given first place to God, that God is in your heart, that you have allowed God to take the throne in your heart, that you are a devout believer. Many older believers kneel to pray at the same time every day. After kneeling a long time, they can’t get up. They pray at the same time every day. Let us not speak of whether this is ceremony, or whether they are able to gain anything. Some older brothers and sisters are especially devout, far better and more assiduous than you young people. When something happens to people, the first thing they should do is hurry to prayer. Prayers are not merely murmurings, they are not just words that come from the mouth but not the heart—such prayers are incapable of solving any problems. You might pray three or five times, eight or ten times, and gain nothing. But don’t be discouraged, you must still pray. What does it show that, before anything else, you pray when something happens to you? It shows that you put God first. If, when something happens to you, you first ask God, you first notify God, let God decide, let God help you, let God be your guide, let Him show you the direction, then you have put God first, and God is in your heart. If God is not within your heart, when something happens to you, the first thing you do is get angry and fly into a temper; before all else, you are unwilling, and negative—which indicates that God is not in your heart. In real life, whenever anything happens to you, you must pray. The first thing you must do is kneel down and pray, this is of the utmost importance. Praying embodies your attitude to God when before God; if God is not in your heart, you would be incapable of doing this. Some people say: “I pray but God doesn’t enlighten me.” Are you capable of knowing this? It may well be that God will enlighten you and make you understand in a certain matter—anyway, He will make you understand. If you were to try and understand by yourself, you wouldn’t be able to, you lack the ability to understand, you lack the brains—this is something that people’s minds are incapable of processing. When you do understand, is it thought by your mind? If the Holy Spirit does not enlighten you about the meaning of the work of the Spirit or the meaning of God, no one you ask will know. Only God Himself can tell you what He means, only then can you understand. And so, the first thing you should do when something happens to you is pray; in the prayer you should search and grope with a searching attitude, you should express your thoughts, viewpoints and attitude—your prayers should contain all these things. If you merely go through the formalities, then no effect can be achieved, and you can’t complain that the Holy Spirit hasn’t enlightened you. I’ve discovered that some people’s belief is nothing more than words that come out of their mouths. God is upon their lips, but He is not within their hearts; they have denied the work of the Spirit, and denied that there is God within their hearts, and they have denied prayer, only reading books and nothing else—can this be called believing in God? Their belief does not contain God, and they spend all day doing nothing. In particular, when you’re often busy carrying out tasks, you feel you’re busy but haven’t gained anything. In your belief, you are not walking upon the right path. Is it onerous for people to walk the right path? No matter how you are driven toward the right path, you can’t get on to it—yet you go downhill very fast. So, you must pray and seek more; this is the very least that you should do. Nothing is more crucial than learning to search for God’s will and seeking the will of the Holy Spirit. Without this, those who believe in God are finished, their belief is in vain. During the belief in Jesus, people knew whether their prayers got through or not, but afterward they abandoned prayer. When they are always judged and chastised, people grow numb and unfeeling—is this not going to extremes? Praying and seeking God when something happens to you is a path of practice.