Chapter 52. The Elements of Faithlessness Within Man and Man’s Nature That Betrays God
The difficulties that people can easily come up against in their experience, the things that cause people to fall easily, and where each person’s fatal weaknesses lie are all issues that must be mastered. Why is it that you fall, leave God and lose faith to continue your pursuit of the truth when you come up against certain things? At present, everyone is in danger of these things. Regardless of how much faith you have normally, how great your enthusiasm is, how resolute or unyielding you are, just one kind of thing can happen that will easily make every single person reel and fall. What kind of thing is that? When it is seen that those who believe in God suffer oppression and exclusion in the world whereas the unbelievers prosper in the world and are rich and powerful, and when believers are seen to be oppressed and bullied, the majority of people cannot understand it. Some even complain: “Is there no God after all? Why does God not back us up? Why does God not do something about these people?” What is the problem when this kind of situation often occurs? Especially when you see that the forces of the unbelievers are particularly strong, you ponder: “Why does God’s family have no forces of its own? Why does God’s family always suffer the bullying and oppression of others?” The majority of people will become weak like this when this kind of thing happens. Each and every person will think of how imposing the manner is of the officials in the world, how lofty, hidden or nontransparent their philosophies of life are, how accomplished they are, how dressed up they are, how they have presence…. The majority of people envy these things in their hearts. Isn’t this right? All people have these things within them and they can be overwhelmed and tempted by these things, even to the extent that these things can make them momentarily weak. This proves that people are still not too interested in God, in His word or in the truth. No matter how unyielding you are or how much faith you normally have, when you meet something like this you are momentarily weakened; when encountering great difficulties, it takes you many days to recover. Some people can’t stand it when they see someone else getting into college, or becoming an official. Even if someone else gets a wage increase at work or they have a good family life, or if they have something that they enjoy, they just can’t stand it. Some people love cars, and they think: “Why is it that others can have nice cars, but we can’t? We believe in God so we should take priority. God should allow us to enjoy these things first. Why can’t we enjoy them now?” That people have these reactions and think these things in their hearts, that they regard these things as being very important reveals what man’s nature is like. People have one thing within their natures and this allows them to be interested in these things. Moreover, it is as though they cannot tear themselves away from things like this. They feel that, without these things, life is boring. There are now many people who usually think: “Could I go on living if I had no truth? Could I go on living without God?” They ponder this and finally think: “Yes, I could still live, and I wouldn’t feel too bad about it. If there were now no societies, no nations, no unbelievers, I would feel that perhaps the world is too empty, with nothing exciting happening.” People’s natures have these things within them, and they do not yearn for God, nor do they yearn for things that are positive, bright, beautiful or good. So what do people still believe in God for? They only believe in God because they have a desire and require something from Him. Driven by this desire, people seek the truth, believe in God, suffer hardships and are resolute. But that someone believes in God and suffers a little does not mean they have given up on those things. In actual fact, they still yearn for them. Why is it that some people reveal their devil faces once they become leaders or are in a position of responsibility? This shows that their hearts yearn for those things. What kind of nature is this? This nature within man is the same as Satan’s. All that Satan worships are these things and Satan enjoys them all. The nature within man is the same as that of Satan, so they happen to hold the same view as Satan, involuntarily joining together with it. You see that each person has some things within them that go against the truth, that conflict with it. These things are completely incompatible with the truth and hold no connection to it, yet people are incapable of realizing this. People feel at times: “There is a reason why I do this in this way; it is right. It ought to be said that it conforms to the truth and I am doing it in accordance with God’s requirements.” Actually what you do is something that has arisen from the good will of man and from your satanic nature. You may feel it is very good, but actually it does not conform to the truth. Why do some people fear when they see the great forces of the unbelievers? Moreover, they envy them in their hearts, saying: “If I could believe in God and also have such power, have so much money and have so many people supporting me, then that would be great.” These are the things people envy. If people had no work of the Holy Spirit, had no oppressive environment, no one to lead them, no one to coerce them, then everyone would follow the trends of the world and no one would believe in God. For those of you who now are leaders, you may be full of energy, and you think: “I must do my job well, and lead these people well.” But if you were someone below who follows and who has someone else to lead you, you might perhaps not have the strength you have now, and probably you will often be weak and disheartened like other people. When you are in a position of responsibility you feel that you must make those below you follow seriously in their belief, and not let them go wrong because of your leadership. Your job as a leader is to allow those below you to follow. With this status you can do the job well. But if you did not have this status, then maybe you would not be as strong as you are now. Through dissecting these things within people we will discover that the things they yearn for are not righteous, are not of the light, not of the truth and do not conform to facts. Instead, they yearn for those things that are worldly, for things that belong to Satan, and for things that people consider to be good. In spreading the gospel many people become negative when they see that their work gets difficult or too few people enter the church. They think: “The forces of all of the denominations and sects are so powerful and the people they convert are college students, all kinds of intellectuals and also some officials.” It is as though they feel incredibly honored because of these several officials and college students, not realizing what a college student amounts to. They go to great lengths to worship those with a little knowledge or a little education, and they also see the officials and these forces as being especially important. But your belief is in God, not in them, nor is it a belief in their power. People believe in God but seek refuge within these forces and worship those with a high level of knowledge. What does this determine man’s nature to be? Man is betraying God. Within these things that people worship, which of them brings God joy? None of them! Knowledge, status, fame and gain, wealth, power—which of these does God like? Which of them are positive things? Which of them conform to the truth? None of them! But these things exist in everyone and are liked by everyone. From interpersonal relationships and from their attitudes to others it can be seen that people attach great importance to status, power and wealth. When someone goes to another’s house and sees that they are wealthy, and that their family lives in favorable conditions, they want to hang on there and not leave, forgetting even their own father and mother. The parents who gave birth to them and raised them up, who spent so many years nurturing them are completely forgotten, to the point where they can throw away their parents at the drop of a hat, so isn’t then forgetting God so easy for them to do? The nature of betrayal within man is very severe and is deeply rooted. Why is it said that man’s nature is to betray? How many things does this betrayal include? It includes all the things people love, yearn for, seek, protect and all the things people can think of. In general, it can be said that man’s nature is to betray. How can we see that this is the case? It is entirely possible to see when comparing people’s attitude to God, their seeking for Him and the things they think in their hearts with what God requires of them, whether or not what someone thinks about all day long conforms to the will of God. So what do people think about 24 hours a day? Apart from when they are asleep or at meal times, what do people think about? They sit there with nothing to do and ponder: “Oh, look at that family living so happily, so comfortably. If I lived like them yet also believed in God, how much better that would be! I would have the best of all possible worlds!” Then there are some who ponder all day: “If I had the perfect family life like they have and I found a good partner, someone who will not persecute me, then that would be so great!” Then there are some who see others with good jobs, and think: “Oh, if I had the same circumstances as they have, with a good job and making lots of money, wearing nice clothes and eating well, if I had that and also believed in God, then how great that would be!” They always put believing in God at the very end and at the mention of belief in God, they will feel: “Now believing in God this way means that I’m missing out on things. If I can enjoy life a little more, eat a little better, and have no one persecuting me, is that not better? Why then does God not help me achieve my aim in that way? Why then does God not satisfy me in that way?” Why has it been said previously that everything that exists in the heart of man is evil, and is not in conformity with the will of God? Man’s heart is filled with the eating of food, the wearing of clothes, enjoyment and fun. But to what do these things belong? They belong to the world; they belong to the devil. The will of God is not to allow people to merely enjoy these things; as the Bible has previously said: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” But man does not now live only to believe in God, nor do they live just to obtain the word of God. They have many more objectives, many more things they yearn for. Their outlook on life is not to live for God nor to live for the word of God, nor to live for righteousness, or to satisfy God, or to achieve God’s will, or to be saved. Man does not aim for these things, and they have fallen far short of them. The majority of people live in order to gain blessings. Then there are some who live just to win credit, and this is even more wrong! “The great red dragon persecutes me to such an extent. Must I not live well? The great red dragon harms me so much, harms my brothers and sisters and harms God’s family. I must try and live well and in the end receive my salvation. That’ll show it, and this will be a powerful way of my fighting back.” And then there are those who say in their hearts: “Oh, if we, this group of people, don’t believe in God seriously, and God’s work is wasted on us, then we should be cursed and will be unable to show our faces to the people of the world! We will be even less able to show our faces to those who already mocked and slandered us!” The implied meaning is: “God, You must make me complete. If not, then where could I show my face? I would no longer be able to see anyone.” This is a view that people have within them. Why people live, what their life goals are, what their outlook on life is, what their basis for living is—all these things can be seen entirely. Some people now think that they have some intention of living for God and that there are some specific expressions for this. They can abandon their family and spend and devote for God. They no longer want their children, their husband or their wife. They may feel that they are young but won’t get married, and this can be considered as living for God. On the surface you have abandoned your family, and you behave a little in this way and act a little in this way—this is man’s aspect of cooperation. But the objectives that man yearns for in their hearts are not these things. What people think of 24 hours a day is what nice food to eat, what nice clothes to buy, what nice shoes to buy, or discussing what other people are like, or pondering over what will happen to them in the future, or how to live the good life. These things are all they think about. And then there are some who ponder: “When I am old, I will have no family and I will be homeless. When then will I be able to live happily? When will I not have to suffer like this?” They always feel anxious inside about these things and feel so pressured by them that they cannot breathe. You see that when you sit together in fellowship, this kind of situation often arises: A sister is fellowshiping with another and she says, “How have you been lately?” The other says: “My state was not good before, but I came around.” The sister says: “So tell me how you came around.” The other then fellowships with her, chatting and digressing, deviating from the subject. If there is no one there to supervise, a meeting turns into a chitchat, and nothing is gained at all. In man there is not much light of the truth, not much experience or understanding of the truth. So even when fellowshiping they cannot get to the right subject—this is the stature of man right now. There are many people now who are undergoing no trial or suffering no adverse environment and they think: “I am seeking the truth really well just now. At the very least I know how to gain experience and I am a little closer to reality. I can understand what God says and can also receive it. Whatever may befall, I feel that I won’t be a sellout nor leave God.” This is how the majority of people who live comfortably feel. But actually you have not realized that, although you cannot leave God, your heart is not necessarily the same. If you really can guarantee that you will carry on regardless of what environment, regardless of what may befall you, regardless of what tribulation, trial or suffering you may undergo, or what illness may afflict you, if you can carry on no matter what happens, not changing your original resolution or the goals you seek, then you are required to cut down all obstacles in your way and to thoroughly purge all remaining things in your heart that do not conform to the truth. Only then will you be able to finally resolve your problems.
Few people now say: “I devote my whole life to God. No matter how long my life lasts, I will follow until the very end. No matter what God does, no matter how God treats me, I will hold fast to God’s words.” Have you thought like this? You may occasionally have thought like this, but you still feel like you do not have that kind of resolution, that you are not strong enough to live up to it. All these states exist in people’s hearts. If afterward something changes suddenly, you may then be in danger of falling, you may abandon the true way, and you may become someone who blasphemes against God. Is this not a danger? If there is no change in the views and ideas inherent within you, and no change in your life goals and in your basis for living, then you will not be safe and may encounter a crisis. Because every day people have living thoughts and because their brains and hearts are alive to the extent that, at any moment, they will follow in the wake of changes in their environment and their conditions. Right now you are sitting here but maybe next time you will have run off somewhere and disappeared without a trace. Changes can happen so quickly! Within the church there are some who will today sing hymns and dance, and will passionately pray in tears. But tomorrow they will have disappeared, having run off to who knows where, maybe to the cinema, the dance hall, the gambling house, having vanished into the oceans of the world. Those of you today who are leaders or have become workers feel like you are safe and it is not possible for you to fall down. Some even think: “I have been through dangers and spent time in prison. I have endured suffering and experienced trials and I have not walked away.” These things are not a guarantee of your fate. In actual fact, each person is in danger every day. Some will suddenly come across something one day that will make them feel that they cannot live on, to the point where they wish to die. Like when someone is very ill and is breathing their last breath. They feel as though life is too painful, that there is no point in it and they may as well just die. Death is also a way of disengaging. Is this not their idea? If nothing bad has befallen someone, they think, “No, I can’t! I can’t!” However much you may think, you cannot discover that feeling, and no matter how much you ponder it, you cannot discover what that mentality was then. When someone is ill and they are in terrible pain, they feel they cannot endure it. Yet when they think back to that time, they cannot recall it, as though they didn’t feel any pain at all; once on shore, one prays no more. People are living things with living ideas and they change with their environments. That is to say that everyone is in great danger, and is on the edge of danger; you are not safe and have no assurances, not knowing when a change will happen. Later, there will be some people who will come across great persecutions or great trials. Of course when trials afterward befall you it will not be to the extent of Job’s; how can anyone have a stature to match Job? People nowadays cannot be called good people, let alone be called righteous people. So those who came afterward did not deserve to enjoy the same kind of trial as Job. The kind of trial Job underwent was to bear witness for Jehovah and this is something that will not befall again. Job was especially graced to enjoy this trial and his bearing witness was complete. People nowadays basically do not possess the faith and humanity of Job, they do not have the truth that they should have, and their corrupt nature is almost beyond remedy, so how could they possibly stay standing during any trial? You need to equip yourself with truth if you are to know how to stay standing during future trials, and if you are to know what kind of view you should retain. If you do not equip yourself well with the truth now, when trials befall you will be in dire straits, and it will be too late for regret.