75. The Principles of Seeking to Understand the Truth
1. You must pray more and seek the truth more on the basis of God’s words, learn to grasp God’s will in all things and obtain the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit;
2. You must focus on experiencing and practicing God’s words, and you must also use God’s words to fellowship the truth—only in this way will you gradually come to understand the essence of the truth;
3. During trials, you must focus your concentration on seeking the truths and principles of how to stand witness, so as to achieve a deeper and more practical knowledge of the truth;
4. You must grasp the essence of the truth and practical specifics and determine the principles of practice. Only this way can you genuinely understand the truth.
Relevant Words of God:
If people are to understand the truth, and to clearly see the truth, and if, furthermore, they are to enter the truth, and put it into practice, they must actually train, actually search, and actually hunger and thirst. When you hunger and thirst, and when you actually cooperate with God, God’s Spirit will surely touch you and work within you, which will bring you more enlightenment, and give you more knowledge of reality, and be of greater help to your life.
from “How to Know Reality” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
You cannot leave God’s words behind or turn a deaf ear to them; you must figure them out carefully, repeat your pray-reading, and grasp the life within the words. Don’t engage in futility by wolfing them down without giving yourself time to digest them. Do you rely on God’s words in everything you do? Don’t talk big like a child and then get all in a muddle whenever anything crops up. You must exercise your spirit every hour of every day, don’t relax even for a moment. You must have a keen spirit. No matter who or what you may encounter, if you come before God you will have a path to follow. You must eat and drink God’s words every day, figure His words out without being negligent, make more effort, get it right down to every detail and equip yourself with the complete truth so as to avoid misunderstanding God’s will.
from Utterances and Testimonies of Christ in the Beginning
In seeking life, you must pay attention to two basic things: 1) to understand the truth within God’s word, and 2) to understand yourself within God’s word. These two things are most fundamental. There is no life or truth outside of God’s word. If you do not seek the truth within God’s word, where then can you go to seek it? Where is there truth in the world? Are not all the books published in the world the theories of the devil Satan? Where is there any truth to speak of? The most important things in understanding the truth in God’s word include the understanding of God within His word, the understanding of human life within His word and the understanding of all aspects of the truth within His word. For example, the true understanding of oneself and discovering the meaning of man’s existence within God’s word…. All truth is within God’s word. You cannot enter into the truth unless it is done through the word of God. The main outcome you must reach is to know what a real understanding of God’s word is. With a real understanding of God’s word you can then understand the truth: This is the most fundamental thing.
from “Only by Seeking the Truth Can You Obtain Changes in Your Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Having a style like a Peter of the 90s means that each one of you should practice the word of God, have true entry in your experiences and gain even more and even greater enlightenment in your cooperation with God, bringing even more assistance to your life. If you’ve read a lot of God’s word but only understand the meaning of the text and you do not have first-hand knowledge of God’s word through your practical experiences, you won’t know God’s word. As far as you are concerned, God’s word is not life, but just lifeless letters. And if you only hold fast to lifeless letters, you cannot grasp the essence of God’s word, nor will you understand His will. Only when you experience His word in your actual experiences will the spiritual meaning of God’s word open itself up to you, and it is only in experience that you can grasp the spiritual meaning of many truths, and only through experience that you can unlock the mysteries of God’s word. If you do not put it into practice, then no matter how clear His word, the only thing you’ve grasped hold of is empty letters and doctrines, which have become religious regulations to you. Isn’t this what the Pharisees did? If you practice and experience God’s word, it becomes practical to you; if you do not seek to practice it, then God’s word to you is little more than the legend of the third heaven. …
… Much of the truth that you don’t understand will be made clear when you practice the word of God. … Truly understanding God’s word occurs when you practice the truth, and you must understand that “only by practicing the truth can it ever be understood.” Today, after reading the word of God, you can merely say that you know God’s word, but you can’t say that you understand it. Some say that the only way to practice the truth is to understand it first, but this is only half right and not entirely accurate. Before you have knowledge of a truth, you have not experienced that truth. Feeling that you understand what you hear is not the same thing as truly understanding. To equip yourself with the truth as it is seen in text isn’t the same as understanding the true meaning therein. Just because you have a skin-deep knowledge of the truth doesn’t mean you actually understand it or recognize it; the true meaning of the truth comes from having experienced it. Therefore, only when you experience the truth can you understand it, and only when you experience the truth can you grasp the hidden parts of it. To experience it in depth is the only way to grasp the connotations of the truth, to understand the essence of it.
from “Practice the Truth Once You Understand It” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Those things which belong to the truth must be experienced; without experience no one can completely understand the substance of the truth, much less can they explain clearly the conditions of experiencing a truth; one must have experience with truth so as to have something to preach about it. Having no experience is not acceptable; even if you have experience it will be within a limited range, and you can speak on some limited conditions, but cannot say more. If a gathering always revolves around a topic, or two topics, then after fellowshiping repeatedly around these topics, there will be some people who come to understand a little.
from “Do You Know What Truth Really Is?” in Records of Christ’s Talks
It’s not that we can rely on imaginations, thinking, our own notions, or our little bit of knowledge to easily achieve understanding of the truth, or putting the truth into practice. It’s not that simple. We must actually pay a price and truly experience, seek, ponder, have fellowship, and expend effort in our lives. Only this way will we be able to have entry and reap rewards bit by bit in God’s words and the truth. One day when you comprehend what the truth is and what its essence is and you know that these things uttered by God incarnate are the actual and true principles of life as well as the goal and direction of life that are necessary for every single thing that will happen in our lives, you will realize: Everything that God does is so meaningful!
from “The Importance and the Path of Pursuing the Truth” in Records of Christ’s Talks
When experiencing the hundreds of trials from God, he examined himself strictly against every word of God’s judgment of man, every word of God’s revelation of man, and every word of His demands of man, and tried to reach for the meaning of God’s words. He tried in earnest to ponder and memorize every word that Jesus said to him, and achieved very good results. Through this way of practicing he was able to achieve an understanding of himself from God’s words, and he not only came to understand the various corrupt states of man, but he also came to understand man’s essence, man’s nature, and the various types of shortcomings that man has—this is a true understanding of oneself. From God’s words, he not only achieved a true understanding of himself, but from the things expressed in God’s word—God’s righteous disposition, what He has and is, God’s will for His work, His demands of mankind—from these words he came to know God completely. He came to know God’s disposition, and His essence; he came to know and understand what God has and is, God’s loveliness and God’s demands for man. Even though at that time God did not speak as much as He does today, fruit was borne in Peter in these aspects. This was a rare and precious thing. 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. After hearing the words of Jesus he was able to take them to heart, which shows that he was especially focused on God’s words, and he truly achieved results in the end. That is, he was able to freely put the words of God into practice, accurately practice the truth and be in line with God’s will, act entirely in accordance with God’s intention, and give up his own personal opinions and imaginations. In this way he entered into the reality of God’s words.
from “How to Take the Path of Peter” in Records of Christ’s Talks
If you want to put the truth into practice and understand it, first you must understand the essence of the difficulties you yourself face and the things that happen around you, what the problem is, and what aspect of the truth it is related to. You must seek this out. After that, seek the truth based on the real difficulties of yours. That way you gradually experience this, and you will be able to see the hand of God, what He wants to do, and the results He wants in you in everything that happens around you. … Do you currently have a path in your pursuit of the truth? Do you have some clue? What do you have to resolve first? First you must eat and drink God’s word more, you must listen more, you must seek more. You must eat until you are full, drink until you are sated, until you are growing quickly and you have stature, and then you will be able to do some things, you will be able to withstand some trials and temptations. At that time, you will feel that you truly have gained and understood some of the truth, and you will feel that God’s words truly are what mankind needs, what mankind should obtain, and that it really is the unmatched, life-giving truth in the world.
from “The Importance and the Path of Pursuing the Truth” in Records of Christ’s Talks
If you do not understand God’s will, if you do not understand the intentions of His words, if you do not understand the aim or result which He seeks to achieve, if you do not understand what His words seek to accomplish and perfect in man, then you do not yet comprehend the truth. Why does God say what He says? Why does He speak in that tone? Why is He so earnest and sincere in every word He speaks? Why does He choose to use certain words, and not others? Do you know? If not, it means you don’t understand God’s will or His intentions, you do not understand the context behind His words. If you don’t comprehend this, then how can you attain the truth? Attaining the truth means that you understand His will through every word that He says. Once you understand, you put it into practice. You live out the word of God, and make it your reality. Then and only then, can you say that you really comprehend the truth. … Even one sentence will require your lifetime to fully experience. You read the words of God, but you do not understand God’s will; you do not understand the intentions of His words, their origin, the effect they seek to achieve, or what they will accomplish. You understand none of these things, so how can you understand the truth?
from “Providing the Truth Is the Real Way to Lead Others” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Some will say, “What does it actually mean to obtain truth from God’s word?” You cannot obtain the truth by simply frequently speaking of doctrines; of what use is your only communicating these literal things? You must work out the meaning of God’s word, figure out its basis and intended effect. There is truth in God’s word, meaning in His word, light in His word. There are many things within His word; it is not a simple matter of reciting its letter. I’ll give a simple example. God says, “You must be honest people. Do not be deceitful ones.” What does this line actually mean? Some say, “Is it not just telling you to be an honest person and not a deceitful one?” If somebody asks, “What else does it mean?” that person will continue, “It’s just be an honest person and don’t be a deceitful one. It’s just those two things.” “How exactly does one be an honest person? What is an honest person? What are the main manifestations of an honest person?” “An honest person is someone who speaks honestly and purely and does not lie.” “What is a deceitful person?” “A deceitful person is someone who equivocates. Someone who does not equivocate and who speaks the undiluted truth is an honest person.” No matter how much you ask, you will only get this much out of him; man’s thinking is too simple. What does God’s word say about an honest person? The first thing about an honest person is that he is not suspicious of others. What does God mean by this? Why does God say this? Ponder that and think through it; people can’t get it straight. Second, an honest person can accept truth. God’s word says that an honest person mainly meets these two conditions. You get to understand the intrinsic meaning of an honest person in God’s word, what exactly it is talking about, what the precise definition of an honest person is, and accurately work out the definition; you find out from God’s word what other behaviors an honest person exhibits, what kind of person is a deceitful person, what kind of person is honest, and you look again at the honest person from the perspective of these behaviors. Then you will understand what honest people and deceitful people are like and how deceitful people treat God’s word, God, and other people. In this way you will come to a true understanding of God’s word and understand how great the difference is between His word and man’s understanding of an honest person and a deceitful one. When viewed from within God’s word, there is a lot more details of the truth to “You must be honest people. Do not be deceitful ones.” When you truly understand the meaning of God’s word, then you know what an honest person is, and what a deceitful person is; and when you put it into practice you will know for sure how to behave as an honest person, and you will have the path to becoming an honest person, which surely can meet God’s standard. Do you have this level of mastery? If you really understand these words and put them into practice, then you can obtain God’s approval. If you do not understand that saying, then you cannot be an honest person, and you will absolutely not obtain God’s approval. Coming to a real understanding of the actual meaning of God’s word is no simple matter. Don’t just think that you can interpret the literal meaning of all God’s words, and everyone says your interpretation is good and gives you a thumbs-up, so it means you understand God’s word. That is not the same as understanding God’s word. If you have obtained some light from within God’s word and you have figured out the real meaning of God’s word, if you can say what the significance of God’s word is and what ultimate effect it brings, only when this is all clear is there some level of understanding of God’s word.
from “How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks