159. The Principles of Seeking to Be Perfected
1. You must give your heart to God, dedicate yourself completely to God, seek to be an honest person and walk Peter’s path of loving God;
2. You must obey all of God’s work. Be able to accept and obey it no matter how much God’s work is at odds with man’s conceptions, and be faithful only to God;
3. You must seek to know God, resolve your estrangement from God, your conceptions and satanic dispositions, be an honest person, and become someone who truly loves God;
4. You must accept all manner of trials and refinement, focus on changing your life disposition, be absolutely able to obey God and live by God’s words, and be of one mind with God.
Relevant Words of God:
You must be able to follow to the very end regardless of whether there are any prospects, and you must not lose faith in God regardless of the environment. Ultimately, you must achieve two aspects of testimony: the testimony of Job—obedience unto death—and the testimony of Peter—the supreme love of God. In one respect, you must be like Job: He had no material possessions, and was beset by the pain of the flesh, yet he did not forsake the name of Jehovah. This was Job’s testimony. Peter was able to love God unto death. When he died—when he was put on the cross—he still loved God; he did not think of his own prospects or pursue glorious hopes or extravagant thoughts, and he sought only to love God and to obey all of God’s arrangements. Such is the standard you must achieve before you can be considered to have borne testimony, before you become someone who has been made perfect after having been conquered.
from “The Inside Truth of the Conquering Work (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If you do not give your heart to God, if you do not give every care to God’s will like Jesus, then you cannot be trusted by God, and will end up being judged by God. Perhaps today, in your service to God, you always harbor the intention of deceiving God—but God will still take note of you. In short, regardless of all else, if you cheat God heartless judgment will come upon you. You should take advantage of having just entered onto the right track of serving God to first give your heart to God, without divided loyalties. Regardless of whether you are before God, or before other people, your heart should always face God, and you should be resolved to love God like Jesus. In this way, God will make you perfect, so that you become a servant of God who is after His heart. If you truly wish to be made perfect by God, and for your service to be in harmony with His will, then you should change your previous views about faith in God, and change the way you used to serve God, so that more of you is made perfect by God; in this way, God will not abandon you, and, like Peter, you will be at the vanguard of those who love God.
from “How to Serve in Harmony With God’s Will” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Honesty means to give your heart to God; never to play Him false in anything; to be open with Him in all things, never hiding the truth; never to do that which deceives those above and deludes those below; and never to do that which merely ingratiates yourself with God. In short, to be honest is to refrain from impurity in your actions and words, and to deceive neither God nor man. … If you are very glad to be a service-doer in the house of God, working diligently and conscientiously in obscurity, always giving and never taking, then I say that you are a loyal saint, because you seek no reward and are simply being an honest man. If you are willing to be candid, if you are willing to expend your all, if you are able to sacrifice your life for God and stand witness, if you are honest to the point where you know only to satisfy God and not to consider yourself or take for yourself, then I say that these people are those who are nourished in the light and who shall live forever in the kingdom.
from “Three Admonitions” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Today, what is real belief in God? It is the acceptance of God’s word as the reality of your life and the knowing of God from His word in order to achieve a true love of Him. To be clear: It is the belief in God so that you may obey God, love God, and perform the duty that should be performed by a creature of God. This is the aim of believing in God. You must achieve a knowledge of the loveliness of God, of how worthy God is of reverence, of how, in His creatures, God does the work of salvation and making them perfect—this is the minimum that you should possess in your belief in God. Belief in God is principally the switch from a life in the flesh to a life of loving God, from a life within naturalness to a life within the being of God, it is coming out from under the domain of Satan and living under the care and protection of God, it is being able to achieve obedience to God and not obedience to the flesh, it is allowing God to gain your entire heart, allowing God to make you perfect, and freeing yourself from the corrupt satanic disposition. Belief in God is principally so that the power and glory of God may be manifested in you, so that you may carry out God’s will, and accomplish God’s plan, and be able to bear testimony to God before Satan. Belief in God should not be in order to behold signs and wonders, nor should it be for the sake of your personal flesh. It should be for the pursuit of knowing God, and being able to obey God, and like Peter, obeying Him until death. This is what it is mainly in order to achieve. Eating and drinking the word of God is in order to know God and in order to satisfy God. Eating and drinking the word of God gives you a greater knowledge of God, only after which can you obey God. Only if you know God can you love Him, and the attainment of this aim is the only aim man should have in his belief in God. If, in your belief in God, you always try to behold signs and wonders, then the viewpoint of this belief in God is wrong. Belief in God is principally the acceptance of the word of God as the reality of life. Only putting into practice the words of God from His mouth and carrying them out within yourself is the attainment of the aim of God. In believing in God, man should pursue being made perfect by God, being able to submit to God, and the complete obedience to God. If you can obey God without complaint, be mindful of God’s desires, achieve the stature of Peter, and possess the style of Peter spoken of by God, then that will be when you have achieved success in belief in God, and it will signify that you have been gained by God.
from “All Is Achieved by the Word of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If you are truly willing to be perfected by God, then you will have the courage to cast aside your flesh, and will be able to carry out God’s words and not be passive or weak. You will be able to obey all that comes from God, and all of your actions, whether done in public or in private, will be presentable to God. If you are an honest person, and practice the truth in all things, then you will be perfected. Those deceitful men who act one way before the face of others and another way behind their backs are not willing to be perfected. They are all sons of perdition and destruction; they belong not to God but to Satan. They are not the kind of man chosen by God! If your actions and behavior cannot be presented before God or be looked upon by the Spirit of God, this is proof that there is something wrong with you. Only if you accept the judgment and chastisement of God, and place importance on the transformation of your disposition, will you be able to get on the path to being perfected. If you are truly willing to be perfected by God and to carry out the will of God, then you should obey all of God’s work, without giving voice to a single word of complaint, without presuming to evaluate or to judge the work of God. These are the minimal requirements for being perfected by God. The necessary requirement for those who seek to be perfected by God is this: do all things with a heart that loves God. What does it mean “to do things with a heart that loves God”? It means that all of your actions and behavior can be presented before God. As you hold the right intentions, whether your actions are right or wrong, you are not afraid for them to be shown to God or to your brothers and sisters; you dare to make a vow before God. That your every intention, thought, and idea be fit to be examined in God’s presence: if you practice and enter in this way, then progress in your life will be swift.
from “Those Who Obey God With a True Heart Shall Surely Be Gained by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Bearing a resounding witness for God is mainly related to whether you have an understanding of the practical God or not, and whether or not you are able to obey in front of this person who is not only ordinary, but normal, and even obey until the death. If you truly bear a witness for God through this obedience, that means you have been obtained by God. Being able to obey to the death, and being free of complaints in front of Him, not making judgments, not slandering, not having notions, and not having any other intentions—this way God will gain glory. Obedience in front of a regular person who is looked down upon by man and being able to obey to the death without any notions—this is true testimony. The reality that God requires people to enter into is that you are able to obey His words, able to put His words into practice, able to bow down in front of the practical God and know your own corruption, able to open up your heart in front of Him, and in the end be gained by Him through these words of His. God gains glory when these words conquer you and make you fully obedient to Him; through this He shames Satan and completes His work. When you don’t have any notions of the practicality of God incarnate, that is, when you stand firm in this trial, then you bear a good witness. If there is a day when you have full understanding of the practical God and you can obey until the death like Peter, you will be gained by God, and be perfected by Him. What God does that is not in line with your notions is a trial for you. If it were in line with your notions, it wouldn’t require you to suffer or be refined. It is because His work is so practical and that it isn’t in line with your notions that it requires you to let go of your notions. This is why it’s a trial for you. It is because of God’s practicality that all people are in the midst of trials; His work is practical, not supernatural. By fully understanding His practical words, His practical utterances without any notions, and being able to genuinely love Him more the more practical His work is, you will be gained by Him. The group of people that God will gain are those who know God, that is, who know His practicality, and even more they are those who are able to obey God’s practical work.
from “People Who Can Be Absolutely Obedient Toward God’s Practicality Are Those Who Truly Love God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
No matter how God works or what kind of environment you are in, you will be able to pursue life, pursue the development of God’s work in you, and pursue the truth. You will have an understanding of God’s actions and you will be able to act according to the truth. This is your genuine faith, and this shows that you have not lost hope in God. You will still seek the truth in refinement, you will be able to truly love God and will not develop doubts of Him. No matter what He does, you will still practice the truth to satisfy Him, and you will be able to deeply seek out His will and be considerate of His will. Only this is true faith in God. Before, when God said that you would reign as a king, you loved Him, and when He openly showed Himself to you, you pursued Him. But now God is hidden, you cannot see Him, and troubles have come upon you. At this time, do you lose hope in God? So at all times you must pursue life and seek to satisfy God’s will. This is called genuine faith, and it is the truest and most beautiful kind of love.
It used to be that people would all make their resolutions in front of God and say: “No matter who doesn’t love God, I must love Him.” But now, you are faced with refinement. It is not in line with your notions, so you lose faith in God. Is this genuine love? You have read many times about the deeds of Job—have you forgotten about them? True love can only take shape from within faith. You develop real love for God through your refinements, in your actual experiences you are considerate of God’s will through your faith, and through faith you forsake your own flesh and pursue life—this is what people should do. If you do this you will be able to see God’s actions, but if you lack faith you will not be able to, and you will not be able to experience His work. If you want to be used and perfected by God, you must be possessed of everything: the will to suffer, faith, endurance, obedience, as well as the ability to experience the work of God, gain a grasp on His will, and be considerate of His sorrow. Perfecting a person is not easy, and every single refinement that you experience requires your faith and love. If you want to be perfected by God, just hitting the streets is not enough, and only expending yourself for God is not enough either. You must possess many things to be able to become someone who is perfected by God. When you face sufferings you must be able to not consider the flesh and not complain against God. When God hides Himself from you, you must be able to have the faith to follow Him, to maintain your previous love without allowing it to falter or disappear. No matter what God does, you must submit to His design, and be more willing to curse your own flesh than to complain against Him. When you are faced with trials you must satisfy God in spite of any reluctance to part with something you love, or bitter weeping. Only this can be called true love and faith. No matter what your actual stature is, you must first possess the will to suffer hardship as well as true faith, and you must have the will to forsake the flesh. You should be willing to personally endure hardships and suffer losses to your personal interests in order to satisfy God’s will. You must also have a heart of regretting yourself, that you weren’t able to satisfy God in the past, and be able to regret yourself now. Not a single one of these can be lacking and God will perfect you through these things. If you lack these conditions, you cannot be perfected.
from “Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If, during the process by which he experiences God, man gradually comes to know God, then his disposition will gradually change, and his belief will become increasingly true. In this way, when man achieves success in belief in God, he will completely gain God. God went to such great lengths to become flesh for the second time and personally do His work so that man would be able to know Him, and would be able to see Him. Knowing God[a] is the final effect to be achieved at the end of God’s work; it is God’s final requirement of mankind. He does this for the sake of His final testimony, and so that man may finally and completely turn to Him. Man can only love God by knowing God, and to love God he must know God. No matter how he seeks, or what he seeks to gain, he must be able to achieve the knowledge of God. Only in this way can man satisfy God’s heart. Only by knowing God can man truly believe in God, and only by knowing God can he truly revere and obey God. Those who do not know God shall never truly obey and revere God. Knowing God includes knowing God’s disposition, understanding God’s will, and knowing what God is. Yet whichever aspect of knowing God it is, each requires man to pay a price, and requires the will to obey, without which no one would be able to follow to the end. The work of God is too incompatible with the conceptions of man, God’s disposition and what God is are too difficult for man to know, and all that God says and does is too incomprehensible to man; if man wishes to follow God, but is unwilling to obey God, then man will gain nothing.
from “Only Those Who Know God Can Bear Testimony to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
When Peter was pursuing life, amidst his trials he focused on understanding himself and changing his disposition. He strove to understand God, and in the end he felt: “Man must pursue understanding of God in life; understanding God is the most critical thing; if I don’t know God then I cannot rest in peace when I die. When God has me die after knowing Him, I will feel that it is a most gratifying thing, I will not complain in the least, and my entire life will be fulfilled.” Peter was not able to obtain this understanding and reach this level right after he began to believe in God—he had to first undergo many trials. His experience had to reach a certain point and he had to completely understand himself before he could feel the value in knowing God. Therefore, the path he took was the path of life and of being perfected; his specific practice was mainly focused on this aspect. … Why is it said that Peter’s path is the path of being perfected? Because in his practice he particularly focused on life, he pursued understanding of God, and he focused on understanding himself. Through his experience of God’s work he came to know himself, gained understanding of man’s corrupt states, knew his shortcomings, and what the most valuable thing for man to pursue was. He was able to sincerely love God, knew how to repay God, he obtained some truth, and he had the reality that God requires. From all the things that he said during his trials, it can be seen that Peter was indeed the one with the most understanding of God. Because he understood so much truth from the words of God, his path became brighter and brighter and more and more in alignment with God’s will. If he had not had this truth, then he would not have been able to go along such a correct path.
from “How to Take the Path of Peter” in Records of Christ’s Talks
The greater God’s refinement, the more people’s hearts are able to love God. The torment in their hearts is of benefit to their lives, they are more able to be at peace before God, their relationship with God is closer, and they are better able to see God’s supreme love and His supreme salvation. Peter experienced refinement hundreds of times, and Job underwent several trials. If you wish to be made perfect by God, you too must undergo refinement hundreds of times; only if you have to go through this process, and have to rely upon this step, are you able to satisfy God’s will, and be made perfect by God. Refinement is the best means by which God makes people perfect; only refinement and bitter trials can bring out the true love for God in people’s hearts. Without hardship, people lack the true love for God; if they are not tested within, and are not truly subjected to refinement, then their hearts will always be floating in the outside world. Having been refined to a certain point, you will see your own weaknesses and difficulties, you will see how much you are lacking and that you are unable to overcome the many problems you encounter, and you will see how great is your disobedience. Only during trials will people be able to truly know their real states, and trials make people better able to be made perfect.
During his lifetime, Peter experienced refinement hundreds of times and underwent many painful ordeals. This refinement became the foundation of his supreme love of God, and became the most significant experience of his entire life. That he was able to possess a supreme love of God was, in one sense, because of his resolve to love God; more importantly, however, it was because of the refinement and suffering that he underwent. This suffering became his guide on the path of loving God, and became the thing that was most memorable to him. If people do not undergo the pain of refinement when loving God, then their love is full of naturalness and their preferences; love such as this is full of the ideas of Satan, and simply incapable of satisfying God’s will. Having the resolve to love God is not the same as truly loving God. Even though all that they think of in their hearts is for the sake of loving God, and satisfying God, as if their thoughts are without any human ideas, as if they are all for the sake of God, when their thoughts are brought before God, such thoughts are not commended or blessed by God. Even when people have fully understood all truths—when they have come to know them all—this cannot be said to be a sign of loving God, it cannot be said that these people actually love God. Despite having understood many truths without undergoing refinement, people are incapable of putting these truths into practice; only during refinement can people understand the real meaning of these truths, only then can people genuinely appreciate their inner meaning. At that time, when they try again, they are able to put the truths into practice properly, and in accordance with God’s will; at that time, their human ideas are lessened, their human naturalness is reduced, and their human emotions are diminished; only at that time is their practice a true manifestation of the love of God. The effect of the truth of the love of God is not achieved through spoken knowledge or mental willingness, nor can it be achieved simply by being understood. It requires that people pay a price, and that they undergo much bitterness during refinement, and only then will their love become pure, and after God’s own heart.
from “Only by Experiencing Refinement Can Man Truly Love God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Peter went through hundreds of trials but did not suffer in vain. He not only came to understand himself from the words and the work of God, but he also came to know God. He also particularly focused on God’s requirements of mankind within His words, and in what aspects man should satisfy God to be in line with God’s will. He put forth great effort in this aspect and achieved full clarity; this was very beneficial for his own entry. No matter what God spoke of, as long as those words could become his life and they belonged to the truth, he was able to carve them into his heart to ponder them often and comprehend them…. If one can truly enter into the reality of God’s words from the matters and the words required by Him, then he will be a person perfected by God. It can be said that the work and the words of God are completely effective for this person, that God’s words become his life, he obtains truth, and he can live according to God’s words. After this the nature of his flesh, that is, the foundation of his original existence, will shake and collapse. After one has the words of God as his life he becomes a new person. The words of God become his life; the vision of God’s work, His requirements of man, His revelation of man, and the standards for a true life that God requires man to achieve become his life—he lives according to these words and these truths, and this person becomes perfected by the words of God. He experiences rebirth and becomes a new man through His words.
from “How to Take the Path of Peter” in Records of Christ’s Talks
If you wish to be perfected by God, you must learn to experience all things and be enlightened in all that you face. Whenever you are faced with something, be it good or bad, you should benefit from it and it should not cause you to become passive. No matter what, you should be able to consider it by standing on the side of God, and not analyze or study it from the perspective of man (this is a deviation in your experience). If this is the manner of your experience, then your heart will be taken over by the burdens for your life; you will live constantly in the light of God’s countenance and will not easily deviate in your practice. Such kind of man has great prospects.
from “Promises to Those Who Have Been Perfected” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
When people step onto the path of perfection, their old disposition can be changed. Further, their lives keep growing and they gradually enter more deeply into the truth. They are able to loathe the world and loathe all those who do not seek after the truth. They especially loathe themselves, but more than that, they clearly know themselves. They are willing to live by the truth and they make it their goal to seek after the truth. They are unwilling to live within the thoughts generated by their own brains, and they feel loathing for man’s self-rightness, haughtiness, and self-conceit. They speak with a strong sense of propriety, handle things with discernment, are possessed of wisdom, and are loyally obedient to God. If they experience an instance of chastisement and judgment, not only do they not become passive or weak, but they are grateful for it. They cannot do without God’s chastisement and judgment; they can receive His protection through it. They do not pursue a faith of peace and joy and of seeking bread to satisfy hunger. Neither do they go after temporary fleshly enjoyments. This is what the perfected have.
from “The Inside Truth of the Conquering Work (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
a. The original text reads “The work of knowing God.”