Chapter 20. Theoretical Understanding Can Never Replace an Understanding of the Truth
God has said that the demand of man is a hundred percent, yet the result ultimately achieved will be 0.1%. What is this 0.1%? It is one’s knowledge of one’s own nature. Once man has gotten to know himself, God’s work will be concluded. Some might say, “I came to know myself a long time ago.” Then what are you? They still say, “I am a human.” In that case, you still do not know yourself—you must be forced to see yourself as Satan. Many sayings, such as “Satan put thoughts in my mind,” should now be abolished. People often say, “I was doing something the other day, and then Satan put a thought into my mind.” Is this saying correct? No. Why is this incorrect? Other than when being possessed by an evil spirit, and except for when being worked on by an evil spirit, all that which man thinks about—whether it is rebellion or resistance, or anything that is not in line with the truth—those are man’s thoughts. Some might say, “If these are man’s thoughts, then why does he not continue to think this way? Why do such thoughts pass in the blink of an eye? Are those not thoughts sent by Satan?” Who says that they were sent by Satan? Man is Satan himself; there is no need for such thoughts to be sent: They are readily available, just staying inside people. Man’s head is filled with such thoughts. Some might say, “I do not accept these things.” Regardless of whether you accept these things or not, such thoughts always exist within you. You cannot say, “Oh, I must avoid these thoughts sent by Satan. If the Holy Spirit works on me, then Satan will no longer put such thoughts in my head, and I shall be fine.” This way of thinking is untenable. If one has not taken the initiative to actively seek the truth, seek to know oneself, know one’s own nature, and understand God’s will, and then follow God’s will accordingly—if a person does not possess this positive and proactive frame of mind—then their intentions and thoughts within will never change. If you do not put forth such proactive efforts, then you are waiting reactively, passively slacking off, and always resisting. No matter what you do, if you have no knowledge and if you do not take the initiative to actively understand the truth in these matters, then you are resisting and rebelling even while carrying out the work.
You see, during this time you have put quite a bit of effort into your work, taken many paths, and suffered a bit. In the end, your judgment is this: You have been running around blind for the past few years, have gained nothing, and have been completely rebellious. Does that not make you a living antichrist? You then mull this matter over, and believe that this is not the case and that you have acquired some knowledge. And what is this little bit of knowledge? It is all theory! If you were to present this knowledge before God, it would merely amount to a few pleasantries; you would be paying lip service and saying something evasive to package yourself—yet what is inside you has still not changed. You are full of too many impurities and deceits. Thus, people nowadays have become ever more skillful at resisting God, rebelling against God, and deceiving God. They have gained a little foundation in theories, some theoretical knowledge, and some understanding of certain superficial, external things. And some people, having grasped certain rules, feel even more that they are in possession of capital, believing that such things cannot count as resisting God. The more they find themselves in this state, the more in danger they become. The more man understands the truth, the more thorough a grasp he has of his actual internal conditions, and the more he is able to grow humble and submit; as such, he stops needing to be dealt with and pruned by other people. As you can see, after performing work for a period of time, people have grasped some theories, and then they have learned which theories are needed to handle which states, and come to know under what circumstances they need to use such theories to deal with and prune others, as well as to suppress, deter, and label them. The more man is adept at performing such work, the more arrogant he becomes. What does this prove? People have gone astray, and the path they are treading is not the right path; not a path that seeks the truth. Even though you are doing work and running around while maintaining the church life in the lower levels, everything you do is actually resisting the truth. It all goes against the truth, yet you are clueless! If you take one look at some of the things the new believers are doing, it becomes clear that they are resisting. Some of the things they say are spoken recklessly and without comprehension, they blindly pass judgment on things they do not understand, and they carelessly talk about matters of which they have no knowledge. This is obvious resistance. Once people have grasped some theories, they cannot be conscious of those hidden resistances, hidden deceits, hidden violations of the truth, conflicts, and betrayals. They assume that such things are natural, that this is how they should act, that acting this way is sufficient, and that they are worthy of God. They are satisfied with themselves, and ultimately, they are walking the path that Paul has walked, and are far from Peter’s path. Isn’t that right?
Many among you, after having performed work for some time without being dealt with and without attending gatherings, would be unable to control yourselves in the lower levels. You then would say, “Goodness! Man is really hard to handle. I really can’t get a grasp on my own nature; I know what I am, but at some point I would do such things….” Look at how shamelessly people speak! “At some point I would do such things!” Why would you do such things? You are not equipped with truths in these areas, so it is inevitable that you do such things. Some say: “I know all that God does has meaning. However, when something happens, while I am able to understand it in theory, I am unable to accept it in reality.”[a] Why are you unable to accept it? You never had this truth, you have never come in contact with it, you have never given it any thought, you do not know that it is the truth, and you are unable to understand that this is the truth; as a result, you resist. Therefore, a mere understanding of theory does not equate an understanding of the truth: Theory cannot replace truth. On the contrary, the more theory you understand, the more you will resist. It is like a rubber band which will not break when pulled, yet it also cannot be stretched any further. Now, there are those below who can talk theories better than you, regardless of whether they are new believers or they have believed for a long time. This is the general situation of those at the lower levels. Even the new believers can understand the bit of theory that you talk about, and they can talk about it in outline. “Poor caliber,” “bad humanity,” “bad disposition”; “don’t be negative, look at the time we are in”; “the day of God is almost upon us, yet you still dare to be negative”; “God has already arrived yet you still dare to be negative”; “how arduous is God’s work of salvation, yet you still do not love God”; “God’s will has already been laid out, yet you do not strive to seek, you are not someone who seeks truth”; “humans really do not love the truth”; and so on—these simple phrases that are always on your lips have become catchphrases. Is this not a dangerous condition? I think all of you are at risk. Once the next step of work has begun, and no one pays attention to you, you will all fall by the wayside; if each of you were to lead a region or an area, you would then become a king of the hill.[b] Each region would do things according to your own set of methods. On the surface, you would communicate with each other and consult each other about some problems, but underneath, you would each act according to your own intentions, and after a while you would end up following that path. This is inevitable, because the goal that you are pursuing is wrong and you are heading in the wrong direction. When you believe in God and follow God, if you do not seek the truth, even if I keep talking to you every day, even if you keep on taking daily notes on theories, and even if you keep on memorizing them every day and working on your foundation in theories, if you have never focused on practical aspects and have never entered into them, then all that you do will merely be a waste of time. So many people followed Jesus, yet how many of them stuck with Him? How many understood His will? Did they not all fall by the wayside in the end? How many understood? The more people “understand,” the more confused they become!
a. The original text omits “in reality.”
b. A Chinese saying, the literal meaning of which is “a bandit that occupies the mountains and declares himself as king.”