Liberation and Freedom Are Achieved Only After Setting Aside Your Own Intent and Desires
As leaders, do not be envious of other’s talents, and you will thus be qualified, fulfill your responsibility, and fully express your devotion. You always worry that others will stand out more than you, that others will become greater than you. Is this not being jealous of worth and ability? Is this a behavior that is considerate of God’s intention? What kind of disposition is this? This is venomousness! It is only taking oneself into account, only satisfying one’s selfish desires, not considering the interests of God’s house, not taking into account the duty of others, only considering one’s own interests. Actually, it does not affect one’s personal interests: When you help to develop someone else’s talent, then another talented person has been added into God’s house, and are you not then doing your work well? Have you not then been loyal in performing this duty? This is a good deed before God. Do not do things before men; you should do them before God. By accepting God’s observation and inspection, your heart is set aright. If you are always concerned with acting for people to see, then your heart will never be set aright. Also, when you act do not act for yourself. Do not take into account your own interests. Do not take into account the interests of man. Do not take into account your own position, face, or reputation. First take into account the interests of God’s house. Put the interests of God’s house first. Be considerate of God’s intention. Consider your own duty first: Are there impurities in your performance? Are you fully devoted? Have you fulfilled your responsibility? Have you expended your full effort? Do you act with all your might and heart out of consideration for your duty and the work of God’s house? You must consider these things. When you account for these things, you will not fall too short in the performance of your duty, unless, that is, your work is kept from becoming better or mistakes and deficiencies arise in your work because your personal quality is lacking, your experience is shallow, you have no experience or are unfamiliar with your work, or you lack proficiency. However, you have already expended all your effort, and you act not out of your own selfish desires, nor out of your own interests, but in everything you consider the work of God’s house and act with consideration for the benefit of God and God’s work. Your heart is set aright, and you have accumulated good deeds in the eyes of God. Is not a person with such good deeds a person who has the reality of truth? This person has a testimony. If you always live according to your selfish desires, always satisfying your own selfish desires, then this type of person does not have a testimony in the eyes of God and does not have a testimony in the eyes of Satan. This is the mark of causing God to be ashamed, causing God to be ashamed in everything. You say, “But I haven’t done anything; how have I made God ashamed?” In your thoughts, in the intents, goals, and motives behind your actions, and in the consequences of what you’ve done—in every way you are satisfying Satan, being its laughingstock, and exposing yourself to its accusation, and you do not have the least of the testimony that you should bear as a Christian. In all things you dishonor God’s name, and you do not have a genuine testimony. So, will God remember the things you have done? In the end, what conclusion will God draw about your acts and the duty you performed? Should there not be a result? An opinion? In the Bible, the Lord Jesus says, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works?” (Matt 7:22). What then does the Lord Jesus say? (“I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity” (Matt 7:23).) Why does the Lord Jesus say this? Why have those who heal the sick and cast out devils in the Lord’s name, who travel to preach in the Lord’s name, become evildoers? Who are these evildoers? Are they those who do not believe in God? (No.) Who are they? (They are those who believe in God but do not practice truth.) Correct. They believe in God and follow God. They also expend themselves for God, give things up for God, and perform their duty. However, in performing their duty they are not loyal and do not have testimonies, and their performance of duty has become wickedness. So, the Lord Jesus says, “Depart from me, you that work iniquity.”
What is the standard by which a person’s acts are evaluated as good or evil? It is whether or not you, in your thoughts, expressions, and actions, have the testimony of putting truth into practice and of living out the reality of truth. If you do not have this reality or do not have this living out, then you are without a doubt an evildoer. How does God look on evildoers? Your thoughts and external acts all make God ashamed. They do not testify of God. They do not put Satan to shame or defeat it; instead, in everything they are the mark of making God ashamed. You are not testifying of God, not expending yourself for God, and not fulfilling your responsibility and obligations toward God but instead are acting for yourself. What is the implication of “for yourself?” For Satan. So, in the end God will say, “Depart from me, you that work iniquity.” There is no reward. God does not remember them. In God’s eyes their acts have not been good but have become evil acts. Is this not emptiness? Now, regardless of whether your subjective desire is a willingness to pursue truth, or whether that desire is hazy and you are still unsure what it is to pursue truth, the simplest way of practice is to consider the interests of God’s house first. In everything think of the interests of God’s house first. Let go of your selfish desires. Let go of your individual motives, intent, concern with face and status. Put those things behind you and consider the interests of God’s house first—this is the least that should be done. If a person performing his duty cannot do even this much, then how can he be said to be performing his duty? This is not performing one’s duty. You should first consider the interests of God’s house, consider God’s interests, consider God’s work, and put these things first; only later think about the stability of your status and how others see you. Can you do this? Don’t you feel like it’s a little easier when you divide it into these steps and adjust them against each other? If you do this for a while, you will feel that satisfying God is not a difficult matter. Also, after experiencing a period of being able to fulfill your responsibility, perform your obligations and duties, set aside your selfish desires, set aside your own intents and motives, have consideration for God’s intention, and put the interests of God and His house first, you will think, “It is good to live like this! It is living straightforward and honestly, not being a mean person, a good-for-nothing and not being narrow-minded or base but instead living justly and honorably. This is the way that a person should live and should act.” Gradually, the desire within your heart to gratify your own interests will decrease.
There are some who have believed in God for a long time yet have not entered deeply into the lessons of pursuing truth, putting truth into practice, and entering into the reality of truth. They also do not have much depth of learning through practice, so their experience is not deep. They do not have any genuine experience. They have not truly learned through practice. Thus, they cannot give a genuine testimony. Now I’ll tell you a simple practice: First set aside your own intent, set aside your own interests, set aside your selfish desires. After you have done this for a while, your condition within you will be transformed without your awareness of it. As soon as your condition transforms, you will change from a vague and obscure condition of equivocating between limited interest in believing in God and not being averse to believing into a different sort of condition, one that feels that believing in God is good, that being a good person is good, that feels an impetus toward being a good person, that is interested in becoming a good person, that feels living in this way is meaningful, and which through so living feels satisfaction, certainty, peace, and enjoyment within the heart. Changing into this sort of condition is a great result. This result has an aspect of human cooperation and also an aspect of the work of the Holy Spirit. There is a bad condition within man: depression, negativity, or weakness; or fragility; or good-for-nothingness; or persistent base intent; or always being in the thrall of worrying about face, selfish desires, and one’s own benefit; or low self-worth. There are some negative conditions in which you are always in thrall to these things. When you live within these vexing conditions, it’s very difficult for you to obtain the work of the Holy Spirit. If you have difficulty obtaining the work of the Holy Spirit, then positive things within you will be few. When there are few positive things within you, it’s difficult for you to obtain truth. People always rely on deliberate repression—they restrain themselves in this way or that way—and they cannot free themselves from those negative or adverse conditions. Part of this is due to people, when they cannot find a path of practice that suits them. Another reason, and this is a major one, is that people always fall into these negative, sinking, degenerate conditions, and the Holy Spirit does not work—even if He occasionally gives you enlightenment, He does not do major work. So, it takes a person great effort to do anything, and it’s difficult to see and understand something; it’s difficult to obtain enlightenment and illumination and have light. For there are too many negative, adverse, and sinking things within you that have occupied all the space within you. So, another reason is that a person cannot obtain enlightenment from the Holy Spirit, cannot obtain the work of the Holy Spirit, and so cannot get out of these conditions. There is no way to transform these negative conditions of yours; the Holy Spirit does not work, and you cannot find a path forward. Because of these two different reasons, it is difficult for you to enter into a positive, normal condition. Even though you can endure a lot and work hard in the performance of your duties, even though you have expended great effort, given up home and occupation, not keeping anything, your inner condition has not yet truly changed. There are too many entanglements holding you captive from practicing truth, from entering into the reality of truth. Personal notions, personal imaginations, and personal knowledge, life philosophy and some negative personal things: selfish desires and interests, concerns about face, and disputes with others—all of these various things fill the space within you. Even though you’re young, who among you is simple-minded? Every time I make a move or a sound—say something, cough, shift My seat a little—a flurry of thoughts bubbles up in your heads. Why is that? Are you simple? None of you is simple; I have never underestimated you. People have nothing positive. Their heads are full of negative and adverse thoughts; this is a fact that people cannot deny. A person’s heart has been filled and occupied by things of Satan. If you do not extirpate these things, if you cannot free yourself of these conditions, if you cannot become as a real little child—lively, lovable, innocent, guileless, authentic, pure—and come into God’s presence, then it will be very difficult for you to obtain truth.
You now have one worthwhile thing: your resolve to endure suffering and your faith. This alone has saved you. If you did not have this, you would be done for. Some people do not have the resolve to endure suffering or the spirit and impetus to expend for and devote their lives to God, so they have no enthusiasm in performing their duty. Some people perform their duty for a time, but as soon as they see they are not interested in it they leave. They go to look for a partner, seek wealth, get married, or work. Such a one feels that there is no effect from expending his time here. He does not have the faith to continue to do so, and he thinks that staying here is a waste of youth, a waste of the best time of life, a waste of time, a waste of his life. Luckily, now most of you are not bound by these things and have already come out of that state. However, the notions, imaginations, knowledge, personal intent, and personal desires that fill your heads remain unchanged from their original form. So as soon as you hear that God’s house will cultivate a variety of talent, as soon as it involves position, face, or reputation, everyone’s heart leaps in anticipation, and you always want to stand out, to become a big shot, to be a star, to be famous, to be glorified. You are unwilling to yield, always wanting to contend, although contending is embarrassing. Contention is not proper in God’s house, but you are not content not to contend. When you see someone stand out, you are jealous, feel hatred, complain, and feel it is unfair. “Why can’t I stand out? Why is it never me? Why is it always he who gets to stand out and it’s never my turn?” There is some resentment. You try to repress the resentment, but you can’t, so you pray. After praying, you feel better for a little while, but later when you encounter the matter again you cannot overcome it. Is this not a case of immature stature? Is not a person’s falling into these conditions a trap? This is the bondage of a satanically corrupted nature. So, think about it for a minute: If a person has cast off these corrupt dispositions, is he then free and liberated? Ponder this: What kind of changes must a person make if he wants to refrain from falling into these conditions and wants to be able to cast off these conditions and free himself of the vexations of these things? What must a person obtain before he can free himself of the vexations of these things, loosen the bonds of these things, and be able truly to be free and liberated? On one hand, a person must see through things: These reputations and positions are tools and methods for Satan to corrupt people, to entrap them, to cause their degeneration, and to harm them. You must first see clearly this aspect in theory. Also, setting aside these things is very difficult for anybody, whether they are young or old or new or long-time believers. Don’t think that the difficulty for those who are the quiet type is any less than for those talkative extroverts. It is difficult for everybody. Nobody can overcome this. The internal condition of every person is the same; these things are nothing less than what Satan uses to corrupt people, what is built into humankind. So, the corrupt nature of all people is the same; only the way it is expressed varies. Some people say not a word but have thoughts in their hearts. Some people reveal it when they speak. Some people struggle. Some contend. Some neither struggle nor contend, but secretly cause mischief. Some complain and grumble in secret, throwing things or breaking them. The ways in which they manifest themselves differ, but their natures are all the same, without any difference, and most people’s natures are filled with these things. How are these things cast off? Do you have a solution? First, you must see through them, and then you must learn to give up these things and set them aside. If you are always focusing on these things, always struggling for these things, if your heart is fully occupied and filled by these things, if you never want to put them aside and you always harbor them without putting them aside, then you are being controlled by and bound by these things. You have become a slave, and you cannot give them up. You must learn to give up and set aside these things, to recommend others, to allow them to stand out. Learn to yield. Do not struggle. Do not compete. Do not struggle furiously and rush to take advantage as soon as you encounter an opportunity to stand out or obtain honor. Learn to back off, but do not delay the performing of your duty. Be a person who performs his duty out of the public eye, where people do not see it, and who does not show off before others. The more you give up and set aside, the more peaceful will your heart be and the more space will open up within it, and the more your condition will improve. The more you struggle and compete, the darker will be your condition; try it if you don’t believe it. If you want to turn around this kind of condition, if you want not to be controlled by these things, then you must first set them aside and give them up. The more you struggle, the more darkness will surround you, and the jealousy and hatred within your heart will increase, and you will have a stronger desire to obtain. The stronger your desire to obtain, the less capable you will be to do so, and as you obtain less your hatred will increase. As your hatred increases you will become darker on the inside. The darker you are inside the more poorly you will perform your duty. If you perform your duty poorly you will gradually be removed from use and will be eliminated. This is an interlinked vicious cycle.
For the Holy Spirit to work within a person and effect a positive change in his condition requires of that person a high degree of transformation, letting go, suffering, and also abandonment, so that the person can gradually come around and cooperate with God. But, if the Holy Spirit exposes you, it is the matter of an instant. If you do not work diligently but always seek honor, compete for position, face, reputation, and your interests, is this your wanting to do service? You can do service if you want to, but it’s possible that you might be exposed before your service ends. Your last day is come as soon as you are exposed; can there still be change at that day? Then the question is no longer whether your condition can be improved; rather, it’s likely that your outcome has already been determined, which will be a problem for you. People usually transgress and reveal their corrupt dispositions. They commit a few small mistakes, whether it’s satisfying selfish personal desires, speaking with an ulterior motive, or cheating. If they haven’t made a major mess of things, offended God’s disposition, or interrupted and disturbed God’s work—if they haven’t done one of these—then they are all pardonable. But, can they still be turned around if their acts result in disaster or great evil? It’s like a husband and wife living together. They have some minor friction and criticisms between them. Occasionally they say things that hurt each other. But, as long as they are both willing to persevere together, to yield to each other and to compromise, they can still make it together. However, if one of them has an affair, refuses to turn back, and leaves the other powerless to rectify the situation, then can such a marriage survive? Your partner has given up hope in you, does not love you anymore. You are not in his heart. It is impossible for him to be with you. Previously he saw good in everything about you, and now he can’t see any good in you. Can you continue together like this? You cannot. Any amount of endurance or compromise is useless and ineffective. This marriage has ruptured, and there can only be divorce. If the two come to this point, this marriage no longer exists. Even if the two live under the same roof, the marriage now exists in name only, and there is no difference between their divorcing or not divorcing. So, if you as a believer get to that point as you perform your duty—that is to say you have missed many opportunities, your heart is always hard, you never repent, you never turn back to the right road or look back, you persist in your actions and pursuits no matter how many chances God gives you, not giving up your own intent, goals, or method of seeking—if you get to that point, then sooner or later there will come a day where, in some small matter or with some utterance of speech or in some most ordinary environment you will be exposed. So, if a person cannot obtain the work of the Holy Spirit and cannot obtain truth, if he is continuously bound and controlled by all sorts of intents and corrupt satanic disposition, and if he cannot get out from living in these selfish desires, intents, and personal desires, then this person is in great danger, and it is only a matter of time before he stumbles, and only a matter of time before he is exposed. Perhaps now you have not stumbled, but that does not mean that you won’t stumble in the future. Or it could be that now you can still perform your duty, that you can have that small aspiration and desire to expend yourself, that you can have that bit of resolve to be perfected and resolve to expend and suffer for God; however, this cannot replace your entry into the reality of truth and does not mean that you cannot stumble in the future. Nor does it mean that you cannot be weak in the future.
What do you say: Under what condition is a person really safe and secure? Some say, “Believing in God and being in the presence of God is like walking on eggshells! It’s like living on a knife edge!” Some others say, “Believing in God is like that saying of the nonbelievers, ‘Being in the king’s company is like being near a tiger.’ It’s so awful! If you say or do one thing wrong, then you will be eliminated—you will be finished, ruined, cast to hell and destroyed!” Is that correct? (No.) How is it not correct? Say the reasons. Where is the saying “Being in the king’s company is like being near a tiger” always used? And what does “walking on eggshells” refer to? Still others say, “It’s like living on a knife edge.” What does that mean? Everyone should know the surface meaning: They all indicate great danger. It’s like someone taming a lion or tiger: Every day is like walking on eggshells, living on a knife edge; this is the sort of situation to which those sayings refer. Tigers and lions are wild beasts whose ferocious nature may flare up at any moment. They are cold-blooded animals that have no affection for people no matter how long they associate with them. If they want to eat you they’ll eat you. If they want to harm you, they’ll harm you. Even if you train them and they know you, recognizing you as master, if they are hungry, they will eat you as soon as they smell blood or sweat. Eating a person is the act of an instant; it’s over in a second. So, is it correct to use these phrases to describe believing in God? Don’t you sometimes think in the following way? “Believing in God really is like walking on eggshells. We could be done for at any time. God’s anger is a matter of an instant, and He may be angry at any time. He may remove someone from a position at any time. Whoever does not please Him is eliminated, and He exposes them and casts them off. He says someone will not be used and they will not be used.” Is this the case? (No.) It looks like everyone has had experience with this and understands it and should not be able to be deceived. This is a fallacy and absurd saying.
Regardless of whether people are crafty, ingenuous, or cowardly, their intents and desires are all about the same. As long as you can free yourselves from these, and you can transform these conditions, at the least you will be able to perform your current duty well. If you are always performing your duty with your own intents and out of your personal motives and desires, then it is very difficult to perform your duty well, and very difficult to perform it in a way consistent with God’s intention; in this there is both deception and an attitude of going through the motions—it is too much trouble, and there are too many impurities. But don’t worry about these. First, resolve your intents and desires, and then your internal condition will gradually improve. First adjust your condition, improve it, and the positive things within you will increase, and your condition will change for the better. In this way, the impurities in the performance of your duty will decrease, your heart will be increasingly pure and simple, and you will perform your duty well out of a desire to perform it well. This way, it will be difficult for the corrupting things of Satan, like ideological perspectives and philosophies, to control you, and you will be more and more liberated, more and more relaxed and cheerful. Imagine a person carrying burdens on his back: a kettle, a cooking pot, a spatula, and ladle, and also carrying two bags and dragging along two kids. The clanging together of the utensils as he walks provides an accompaniment for the kids’ calling out for their mom or dad. What sort of feeling does his setting off like this give you? He’s encumbered, not free at all, and his body is not relaxed. When they get to the destination and he can finally remove these things, then how will he feel? His body will suddenly feel lighter and he’ll be surprised by how easy it has always been to move without those burdens! This is the feeling of a person who obtains liberation and the feeling of a person who obtains freedom. On the day when you truly obtain freedom and liberation, write about it in your journal or devotional notes. Write everything: what loads you set aside every day, what intents you let go of, in which areas you forsake your own intents and motives, what feelings your heart has as you do so. Write what enlightenment you obtain and how your condition is improved. Write this all down. In a day when you completely obtain liberation and freedom and no longer have any sort of burden nor bondage, you will become a free person—you will become a person like Job. Why could Job say what he did? Why could he so easily utter those words? Was it a matter of a single day? It was not a matter of a single day. It was the result of day after day, year after year of refinement, and letting go, bit by bit. The more you set aside the more relaxed you will be—the more set aside the more relaxed. You will become free and liberated. In the day when you become free and liberated, you will feel that the things you have forsaken are entanglements, and the things you have truly obtained are most precious to you. You will feel that those are the most valuable things and most worthy of your treasuring. Those things you liked—material pleasures, fame and fortune, status, money, face, and the honor of others—will seem worthless to you. Those things caused you great suffering, and you will want them no more. You won’t want them even if they are given to you. You don’t need them! You are not there yet; now you are unable to cast off these things. Your life is so tiring, with no way forward or back; you aren’t willing not to compete, but when you compete you feel it’s wrong. You stagger through life, a little toward the right and then a little toward the left, walking with your feet uneven. That is precisely the sorry condition and pathetic look of a person corrupted by Satan. He keeps a cool exterior while his heart roils and storms inside all day over some trivial matter. This kind of person is so shrewd and subtle! He seems so experienced for one of such young age, and there is a depth to him; people cannot see through his exterior. He is entirely “street smart.” Do you think that God cannot observe or know what people cannot see through the exterior? (He can.) Do you really believe this? (Yes.) You may just be saying yes to say yes, but keep gaining experience and one day you will understand that man basically has just those simplistic things. It could be that you do not yet think that those things are entanglements. It’s like a simpleton who comes into town carrying several bags of luggage and then catches a bus. After he squeezes onto the bus with all his stuff, with some difficulty, the ticket-taker tells him, “Comrade, put your bags down. You don’t need to carry them on the bus; that’s too tiring.” He replies, “No. Thanks. I am heavy enough alone for the bus to take. Wouldn’t it be more difficult for the bus to take my luggage, too? Let the bus save some energy!” What do the people who hear this think? By taking him, the bus has already taken on his luggage. There’s no difference between carrying his luggage or putting it on the floor, but he insists on carrying it himself. Is this not a simpleton? Those others who often take the bus hurry to place their belongings on the luggage rack as soon as they board, or else drop it on the floor. “I’m on the bus. It’s so tiring to carry these burdens! I can relax for a little while on the bus!” That is a smart person. The simpleton does not understand this principle, and he continues to carry his luggage even after boarding. Are there people like this? There should be. This is an analogy.
Right now, performing your duty is the greatest opportunity you have. You can experience how to cast off your corrupt disposition, how to obtain God’s guidance, and how to loyally perform your duty. You can learn how to satisfy God’s will, how to achieve a deception-free performance of duty, how to fulfill your personal responsibility, and how to turn your heart over to God. You can experience knowing God’s actions and seeing God’s actions through performing your duty. This is such a great opportunity! Someday, after your conditions have changed and are not like today, then you will not be sad when you are told that you may not compete for position or be jealous of others or compete for face, and you will not think, “This is too difficult! How can You control every aspect of my life?” Instead, when this is brought up, you will say, “There is no need to continue explaining; none of us competes for these things. We all yield and are not controlled by these things. They are nothing; they’re all trifles, all things that unbelievers do. How could we not have attained this stature after believing in God for so long? Whoever is most suitable is chosen, fairly and rationally.” That is right, and everyone can perform their duty like normal.
If someone always speaks the true words of his heart, always speaks frankly, and always speaks simply, then there is hope for this person. If this person is always packaging and wrapping up what he says and always projecting a false image to others, then he is in danger and in trouble. You can see how a person’s prospects are through his daily life, words, and acts. If a person is always acting and putting on airs, then he is in danger and is not on a good path. Which road are you taking? Taking the road of being an honest person is never a mistake! How do you handle it when others say you are a fool? “How is it that you say everything? You let others know everything you are thinking. How can you be so foolish?” How do you feel after hearing this? (Indifferent.) That is correct. “Indifferent. You see things how you are willing to see them. My being an honest person is my business. It is my responsibility and the road that I should take.” The most correct path that a believer should take can never change and cannot be influenced by others. People never open their hearts but are always concealing them, always hiding them, always putting on airs, always acting, always wanting to make others think highly of them, never wanting others to see through to their actual thoughts, real conditions, and nature. Is this type of person foolish? (Yes.) What road is he taking? (It is the road of the hypocritical Pharisees.) Is the road of the Pharisees dangerous? What kind of road is this? The road to destruction!
Only Honest Hearts Can Obtain Truth
What kinds of trials are you able to endure now? Do you dare say that you already have a foundation? Can you remain standing when you face testing? Can you be victorious over, for example, tests of environment, tests of status or reputation, marital tests, or financial tests? (We can be victorious over some of them.) There are several levels of testing; over which level can you be victorious? For example, you know someone of decent humanity with enthusiastic faith in God, who has given up his home and occupation and suffered much. One day he is suddenly arrested and sentenced, and later you get word that he was beaten to death. Is this a test for you? How would you feel about it in the midst of such a test? How would you get through it? Would you seek truth in the face of such an event? How do you seek truth, and how do you ensure that you can stand through this test, understand God’s intention, and obtain truth through this test? Have you thought about these things? Maybe you don’t fear when you hear about someone’s arrest, and maybe you don’t fear when you see someone else arrested, or when you see someone else cruelly tortured, but when you yourself are arrested, when you personally face this sort of environment, can you remain standing? Is this not a great test? Is it easy to be victorious over such a test? Is this not a special event? How do you get through special events or events that go against ordinary conventions? How can you smoothly pass through this sort of test without any complaint, without any sort of conception about God’s work? Is this not something with which you should be equipped for the pursuit of truth? Then, at what level of stature are you now? Over what level of test are you able to be victorious? Do you confidently know within your heart? If you do not, then it’s difficult to answer those questions. Just now you said, “We can be victorious over some of them.” This is muddled speaking. You must be clear about your level of stature and what truths you have been equipped with. You must know over what tests you can be victorious and which trials you can accept. You must know which truths you should have to face which trials and which truths you should pursue in order to be a person who satisfies God. You must be well aware of these things. When some matters and things confront you that are routine, that people often encounter, that are often spoken of, and which a person’s thought is prepared for, you can be victorious over those that accord relatively strongly with the conceptions and imagination of man. But, if you encounter some event that does not conform to your notions and imaginings, then how do you get through it? How should you equip yourself with truth, and what types of truth should you be equipped with in order to smoothly pass through that event? Is this something that should be sought? What are some of the common tests you experience? Position, reputation, relations with the opposite sex—basically they are all these common ones. For these commonly experienced tests, at your current stature, through which of these tests can you master yourselves and perform your duty well, without doing anything in violation of truth, without doing anything interrupting or disruptive, without doing anything in resistance or disobedience to God, without doing anything that hurts God’s heart? Is there a path of practice for this? On one hand, be introspective and examine yourself and see whether there is anything within you that resists God. Additionally, you also must often seek truth and see whether your actions accord with truth, God’s intention, and God’s requirements. You must see whether your actions show consideration for God’s intention and whether they put truth into practice. You must achieve both of these aspects: You must achieve entry into both the active and passive aspects. In this way, a person can perform his duty well.
Some say, “Most of the time when I face tests, I don’t know how to seek answers, and when I seek them I do not find them.” There are others who say, “There have been many times where I’ve prayed, and sought, and waited, but with no results. I don’t know how to do it. I search God’s word, but there is too much of it, and I don’t know what parts are relevant or how I should practice.” Here is a most basic standard, one that can serve as a last-ditch survival effort when you encounter many things that you do not know how to handle. It is the most basic minimal standard to which you should hold, and it’s a principle of practice. Do you know what it is? (Open our heart wide to God and speak honestly to God and submit.) What does this depend on? There is a most basic standard. According to what does everyone act? (According to conscience.) It appears you have some experience; you speak quite accurately. So, how much influence does conscience exert within a person? It depends on a person’s humanity. How great a role your conscience can have when you do not understand truth depends on what your humanity is like. If some person does things without understanding truth but does not act according to conscience so that you can’t see any area in which what he does shows consideration for God’s intention nor can you see any part of his heart that reveres God—if you can’t see these, then does this person have a conscience? This person is not a person with a conscience. Does such a person have humanity? (No.) Then what kind of person is this? The precise definition is that this kind of person does not have humanity and has fallen below the minimum standard of humankind. He has no conscience, and he does things neither according to reason nor according to conscience. Some say, “There are so many truths I do not understand. I don’t know what is the right thing to do, and I have not mastered principles.” What is to be done, then? The lowest standard is that one ought to act according to conscience. How does one act according to conscience? The particulars of following conscience are that when a person acts, he must do so relying on a true heart and live up to God’s having given this life and opportunity for obtaining salvation. Is this not the function of conscience? Once you have this most basic foundation you will have obtained protection, and won’t you then not so easily do things to disobey God or shirk your responsibility? Then you will not so easily just go through the motions or be deceitful, and you will not so easily fall to scheming for your own position, fame, gain, and future—this is the role of conscience. The most basic and important components of one’s humanity are conscience and reason. If a person lacks conscience and does not have the reason of normal humanity, then what kind of person is he? Generally speaking, he is a person without humanity, a person of bad humanity. If we speak specifically, how does this person manifest corrupt humanity such that people say he does not have humanity? Let’s analyze the characteristics of this kind of person. What kinds of characteristics do all such people have? What specific manifestations do they present? (Selfishness and baseness.) Selfishness is one type of manifestation, and baseness is another. Additionally, how does he behave in his actions? He is insincere and deceitful, unconcerned and aloof from things of no personal interest. He does not consider the interests of God’s house and does not show consideration for God’s intention. He takes on no burden of testifying of God or performing his duty and has no sense of responsibility. What is it that he thinks about? (He considers his own interests and gains and losses.) His first consideration is, “Will God know if I do this? Is it visible to other people? If other people don’t see that I do this, that I expend all this effort and behave truly, and if God also does not see it, then there is no use for my expending such effort or suffering for this!” Is this not selfishness? At the same time, it is also a very base sort of intent. When he thinks and acts in this way, is conscience playing any role? Is there any part of conscience in this? There is no role or part of conscience, is there? There are even some other people who see a problem and stay silent. They see that others are interrupting and disturbing and neither speak up nor do anything to stop it. They do not consider the interests of God’s house in the least, nor do they consider in the least their own duty or responsibility with which they are bound. They act, stand out, exert effort, expend energy, and speak only for their own vanity, face, position, interests, and reputation. The actions and intents of someone like that are clear to everyone: He pops out whenever there is an opportunity for honor or to enjoy some blessing. But, when there is not an opportunity for honor, or as soon as there is a time of suffering, he pulls his head into his shell like a craven tortoise. Does this kind of person have the conscience and reason? Does a person without conscience and reason who behaves in this way feel self-reproach? The conscience of this kind of person serves no purpose, and he has never felt self-reproach. So, can he feel the reproach or discipline of the Holy Spirit?
In what kind of person does the Holy Spirit typically work? What must a person have at the very least? At the very least he must have conscience. At the very least he must have an honest heart. Is there an honest part of conscience? Does conscience contain a component of honesty? It must contain honesty first of all. People always say that God looks deeply into the heart, that He observes everything, that people look on the appearance but God looks on the heart. But, people never know why some people never obtain enlightenment from the Holy Spirit, why they can never obtain grace, why they never have joy, why they are always negative and depressed and can never become positive. So, take a look at their conditions. This is certain to be the case for every such person: They do not have a functioning conscience and do not have honest hearts. Those people who always have peace and joy, who are always active and improving in performing their duty, who always gain something, who always have understanding, who always will have gained something after a period of time—does this type of person simply imagine the things he gains? Are they studied from a book? How are they obtained? (They are gradually sensed through experience.) Then, how is it that unbelievers cannot sense these things? Can the work of the Holy Spirit be excluded? It cannot, can it? The work of the Holy Spirit is primary. If you have an honest heart and the conscience and reason that your humanity should have, then God sees it. Have you figured out a pattern of how the Holy Spirit works, how when a person’s heart is especially honest he will be moved, have entry, and things will go smoothly for him when he acts? Since you have this feeling, do you not know in what kind of person the Holy Spirit works? If someone is very honest but for some period of time his heart is turned away from God and he does not desire to improve, and he falls into a negative condition and does not come out of it and does not cooperate—then the Holy Spirit does not work in him during the occasional darkening of his condition or his temporary degeneration; how then can someone without a consciousness of humanity be worked in by the Holy Spirit? It is even more impossible. What does God do with regard to these people without a shred of human reason or conscience? God ignores them. So, do these people have a way out? (They must genuinely repent.) They must genuinely repent. Repent how? (They must be an honest person.) How do you demonstrate that you are an honest person? First, your heart must open toward God, and you must turn over to Him your every day, every minute, and every second for Him to take charge of. You must first set aside your own desires for face, vanity, and your own interests. First try to set these aside, and after you have set them aside, invest your whole body and soul into the performance of your duty and into the work of testifying of God. Then, see how God leads you, see whether there is peace within you, whether there is joy, whether these confirmations are there. First you must genuinely repent. You must first surrender yourself and set aside the things that you love and treasure. If you do not set those aside but continue to carry those things while still seeking to make requests of God, can you gain the work of the Holy Spirit? The work of the Holy Spirit is conditional, and God is a God who hates evil and who is pure and holy. If people always carry these things and close themselves off from God, always refuse God’s work and guidance, then God will stop working in them. God is not required to work within every person and will not force you to do this or that. He does not force you. The work of evil spirits is to force man to do this and that. The Holy Spirit works especially gently. He moves you and you don’t feel it, only feeling like you yourself have unconsciously come to understand or realize something. So, this type of person must genuinely repent, or the Holy Spirit will not work in him.
What are the behavioral manifestations of turning over one’s heart? What are specific actions involved? It is that you set aside these things that can bind you: face, reputation, and status. You set aside all these things that can hinder your coming into God’s presence. You are not carrying a burden but rather come into God’s presence with two empty hands to accept your duty and allow God to work in you and guide you. If you have this true heart, then as soon as God sees it, the Holy Spirit will work. First you must have this sort of genuine repentance and these kinds of acts. Your heart must start to act, and you must start to act. You can’t say, “I will do this, and God will do what He will—in any case, I am doing this.” What kind of attitude is that? What kind of condition is that? (Passive resistance.) This is resistance. This is disobedience. Did you think that God must save you? That you cannot be missed? Is this the case? Why was God’s work transferred to the Gentile nations and why it is not with Israel anymore; do you know? Those with conscience and reason have nothing to boast of; they only have a bit of conscience, a bit of the most basic part of humanity. They cannot live in a complacent condition but must pray often and examine whether their acts are of a heart that reveres God and whether their acts satisfy God’s intention and accord with truth. Regardless of how good your humanity, regardless of how good reason and conscience you have, a person’s pursuit of truth in God’s presence is endless. A person’s merely having conscience is far from sufficient; God’s heart can only be satisfied through your possessing truth. There are some people of good humanity who have a little bit of conscience, but it is not enough. What are they to do? They must examine themselves in all respects. Some say, “I am a nice man, and moderation is my goal and the principle by which I do everything in my life.” On the surface, it seems this person has good humanity, that he has sound reason in all areas. Most times he does not speak up and does not express his point of view. What is such a person like? A person’s never speaking or expressing any point of view does not represent that he has reason. On the contrary, people say that you, this type of person, are quite good at pretending, that you conceal your intentions, and that you are quite shrewd. Can you be open to God if you are not open to other people? If you have nothing bare or open to other people, then are you a person who has turned over your true heart to God? Certainly not. As the Holy Spirit works to enlighten you to understand something, sometimes it is very fast. Sometimes, He makes you go through an experience for a time and then lets you understand it gradually. It’s not that He does not allow you to experience anything and only lets you understand a few dry words. By what principles does the Holy Spirit work? The Holy Spirit works by the principle of arranging your environment and arranging people, events, and things to allow you to mature among them and to gradually understand truth in the course of experiencing them. He does not directly reveal to or enlighten you or cause you to have a little light. He does not give you some dry words and doctrines. Rather, He allows you to learn, to mature, and gradually to grow through experiencing different events, environments, and different people, events, and things. He causes you gradually to understand truth through this process of growth. So, does the Holy Spirit not work by a very natural principle? He works completely according to the natural development pattern of humanity, without any compulsion. According to the principle and scope of the Holy Spirit’s work, if a person does not have the least bit of human reason and conscience that he should, then can he obtain the work of the Holy Spirit? Can he obtain God’s guidance and enlightenment? What do I mean by this? People always say that they seek truth, that they are understanding more truth, but they have overlooked something. What do they think? “Whether my humanity is good or bad, whether or not I have conscience, whether or not I surrender my heart to God, I’ll just seek after truth more.” Seek after it how? “Listen more, write more, read more, and then perform my duty more, exert more effort, and suffer more, and it will be all right.” Such a person has not realized and does not know the most basic of basics. Now do you understand?
What is the least that a person should possess if he wants to understand and obtain truth? (Conscience and reason.) How do you simply say what it is to have conscience and reason? It is that at the very least a person must possess an honest heart. What are the manifestations of having an honest heart? What I just said about a person having a good humanity, a sincere heart, having conscience and reason—these are not some abstract and vague things that cannot be seen or touched. You can discover anywhere in daily life that these are all things of reality. Say a person is great; is that something you can see? You can’t see it. Say a person is perfect; is that something you can see? You can’t see it or touch it; you can’t even imagine what it is to be perfect or great. But, if someone is supposedly selfish, can you see the person’s acts, and can they correspond to the description? If someone is supposedly honest with a sincere heart, is this the behavior that you can see? If someone is supposedly crafty, crooked, base, or selfish, can you see these? Even if you close your eyes, you can comprehend whether the person’s humanity is inferior or superior through what he says and how he acts. So, “good or bad humanity” is not an empty phrase. Descriptions like “selfish and base,” “crooked and crafty,” or “arrogant and opinionated” are all things that you can grasp through real life when you come into contact with a person; these are the negative elements of humanity. So, then, can the positive elements of humanity that people should possess—honesty, a love of truth—be perceived during everyday life? Can you then see and distinguish whether a person has the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, whether he can obtain God’s guidance, and whether or not the Holy Spirit works within him? How can these be distinguished? You can prove the quality of a person’s humanity by using the two standards of what he lives out and the essence of how he acts. When you come into contact with a person, you have to look first at the quality of his humanity to judge what he is like, distinguish whether he is a lover of truth, whether he can accept truth, and whether he can obtain truth. If the person’s mouth is full of sweet-sounding words and he has a honeyed tongue but does not act honestly—when it comes time to act, to really act, he only thinks about himself and never thinks of others—what kind of humanity is this? (Selfishness and baseness. He has no humanity.) Is it easy for a person without humanity to obtain truth? It is difficult for him to obtain truth. As soon as there comes a time of suffering or paying some price, he thinks, “You guys go ahead first with this suffering and paying the price. Go ahead, and when the results are basically achieved I will come.” What kind of humanity is this? These behaviors are known collectively as “not having humanity.” Every person has corrupt disposition, but some people have a working conscience and feel self-reproach when they encounter a certain event. Even though they do not consciously say, “I am pursuing truth and must be a good person,” they still think, “I can’t behave that way. I must be worthy of God’s grace and choosing me.” Their conscience serves this function. So, then, is such a person putting truth into practice when his conscience works like this? Actually, he is not necessarily putting truth into practice, but he is on the path of putting truth into practice, which is right, and it is then easy for him to obtain truth. This is the most basic foundation of a person’s obtaining truth. Some people move forward when they face an event, and some shrink back. Some hide when they face danger, and some protect others, rushing forward themselves. When they face an event, some people endure and yield, and others contend and compete. This is how you can see the quality of someone’s humanity. Aren’t there differences in humanity?
All of you set out your resolve and swear in God’s presence: I give my life to God; I spend for God my whole life and seek nothing for myself. But, people with bad humanity always contend, always struggle, are never yielding and never forbearing. Is it easy for someone who has never acted according to conscience to obtain truth? To be made perfect by God? Then, for what type of person is it easy to be made perfect by God and to obtain truth? Have you felt this? (People with good humanity.) There must be a standard for “good humanity.” It is not taking the path of moderation. Nor is it never speaking badly of others. Nor is it never stealing others’ things but always giving. These are not the standard, so what is the standard? They have a sincere heart toward man, events, and God—everyone can see this and can feel it, and, even more, God can see it. Some people always hold themselves up as examples of good humanity, saying they’ve never done anything bad, never stolen others’ things, never taken over others’ things, and that they always let others take advantage while they themselves take a loss and never speak badly about others. Yet, when they perform their duty in God’s house, they disguise malice and avoid responsibility, always scheming for themselves, in nothing thinking of God’s interests and in nothing being anxious for or thinking about what God is anxious for or thinking about, and in nothing can they set aside their own interests so as to perform their duty. They have never abandoned their own interests. What kind of humanity is this? This is not good humanity. Pay no attention to what such a one says; you must see what he lives out, see what he reveals, see what his attitude is when he performs his duties, and what his internal condition is and what he loves. If his love of his own fame and fortune exceeds his devotion to God, if his love of his own fame and fortune exceeds God’s interests, if his love of his own fame and fortune exceeds the consideration he shows for God, then is this sort of person a person who has humanity? He is not a person with humanity. His behavior can be seen by others and can be seen by God, so it is very difficult for such a person to obtain truth. Do you now understand what kind of person can obtain truth? You all pursue truth. You meet together and perform your duties together. Your time at performing your duties is all about the same. You have believed in God for about the same amount of time and have all read nearly the same amount of God’s word. You have all been through about the same amount of suffering, and you share roughly equal resolve. The vows you made in the beginning are basically the same, and your ages are about the same. You are people of similar caliber. It is only your humanity that differs among you. For what sort of person is it easy to obtain truth? (A person with a true heart toward God, who is honest and who has humanity, conscience, and reason.) This is very important; this is certain.
Now that you understand that, ponder this: Does obtaining truth have anything to do with a person’s caliber, education, birth background, age, or family environment? Does it have anything to do with a person’s talents? With the skills he has mastered? With his appearance? Aren’t these things completely unrelated to obtaining truth? They are fundamentally unrelated. Some people are of poor caliber but they are honest and consistently resolute in their actions; they appear to do things quite clumsily, and yet they find a trick to what they are doing, and the results are quite good. Nobody could have imagined it, and they think it’s unbelievable, “How can he achieve such results?” Some people then become jealous, but is there any point to such jealousy? It’s useless. Who has the final word in this? (God.) All of this is in God’s hands; you must see this point clearly. All things and matters are in God’s hands; you must believe this. God bestows grace on man and allows him to understand truth, without regard to a person’s appearance or to whether he can make himself up or speak well, and without regard to how educated or talented he is. Some say, “I am clumsy of speech; look at how eloquent others are, like doves. I am so ugly, and I’m not tall. Aren’t I just done for?” What is the nature of this way of thinking? What is the internal condition of someone who has this point of view? Is it not a misunderstanding of God? Is it not an ignorance of God’s intention? Somebody with such a viewpoint is disobedient and does not understand God’s intention. Who does he think the people are whom God perfects and saves, whom He enlightens and guides? Does he think it’s those of good appearance, who can speak well, who are educated and knowledgeable, all geniuses? Does he think it is those who can dance and write and paint and excite? Does this not slander God? He misunderstands God’s heart too much! People always say that God is righteous, that He sees the innermost heart, and yet as soon as they face some event they misunderstand God. Do you understand a little more now? What does God look at in a person? God looks at a person’s heart. All of a person’s behavior is controlled by his heart. If your heart is honest, then you have good humanity and can gradually understand truth, and when you understand a certain amount of truth you can satisfy God’s requirements and be considerate of God’s intention. If your heart is too crafty, closed, hard, and selfish, then you do not have good humanity, and what is a person without good humanity like? He conceives and imagines that God is such and such a way, but when he faces reality he misunderstands God and fails to ever understand God’s intention. So, can he obtain truth? (He cannot obtain truth.) In the end when he cannot obtain truth, will he blame himself or others, or will he complain about God saying that God is not fair? (He will blame himself.) Then, what should this sort of person do? He must engage in specific behaviors and specific practices. When you reveal selfishness, you say, “I am selfish,” and ponder, “How can I not be selfish?” And to do that you first set aside your own interests. As you set aside a little at a time, time and again, the more you set aside the more at ease you will feel inside, and the more you will feel that being such a person is something to be proud of, that so being is worthy of the word “person,” that living this way on the earth is open and straightforward, that it is being a genuine person who lives worthy of the life which God has given him and of all the things bestowed by God. The more you live like this the more your heart will be at ease and filled with light. This is getting onto the right track, isn’t it?
Can a person’s selfishness, baseness, craftiness, and arrogance be set aside? They can in fact be set aside, but people are unwilling to walk this path. They value their own interests too highly and are too stubborn, never understanding God’s intention and being always muddleheaded. Is it that God is keeping them in the dark? It’s not that God is concealing anything from them. It’s not that God keeps them from seeing Him. God is always open toward people, but people do not come into God’s presence and open themselves to Him and yet still want to freely take the grace He bestows. God says, “If you want to take these graces and obtain these truths, that’s okay. There is only one condition: Set aside your personal interests and turn your true heart over to Me.” It is this condition to which nobody can attain. People still want to demand grace, peace, and joy, and obtain truth from God, but they do not turn their true hearts over to God. What kind of person is this? Is this not a person of Satan’s ilk? Is there really a way someone can have it both ways? In fact there is not. God is actually always leading everyone, regardless of whether you admit or accept that He is doing so; it’s just that you do not turn your hearts over to God, and your hearts are too hard, so you cannot obtain anything—it’s not that God is biased toward you. People often say that God will be gracious to whom He will be gracious, but they don’t understand what that actually means when they hear it and actually misunderstand its meaning. What do people think it means? God favors whomever He pleases and gives grace to whomever He pleases. Grace is from God, and He gives it to whomever He is willing to give it. Is this the case? Unless they really compare this with reality, people will feel like it should be the case, and, according to the conception and imagination of man, it should be the case. In fact, however, God is fair to everyone and gives equally; it’s just that there is a portion of people whose hearts are too hard, who do not come into God’s presence, who are willing to build their own fine life and future with their own two hands and who want to control their own futures and do not want to allow God to exert control. They are thus not wise and do not say: “All is in God’s hands regardless of what I do. I may as well turn myself over to God and doing so is justifiable and I can gain more.” They do not have this reason and always act foolishly. Such a fool always thinks he is so smart, thinking, “Some people have given up their families, keeping nothing, and in the end turned their true hearts over to God, but what have they obtained? See how clever I am: I don’t wear glasses, but I work the abacus better than others. I don’t reveal myself to anyone. Nobody knows that I am calculating so well, and they don’t even know what it is I’m planning! I’ll keep up this way with a foot on each side, giving nothing up and delaying nothing, and in the end I will obtain salvation, too. How foolish he is! He sticks stubbornly to his ways, and without even knowing what God will do in the future, he has given up everything and has not even left himself a way back.” Who is actually the foolish one? The person who thinks like this is foolish! This is a case of differences in humanity.
What sort of person does God approve of? What sort of person does God want? (People who are willing to give themselves up and over to God, people who sincerely spend for God.) People who sincerely spend for God. In fact, God does not want much from you. He does not want to deprive you of your personal interests; rather, He gives you opportunities to practice, perform, and put all your abilities to use. A person’s sincere heart is what God wants. Regardless of where you perform your duty and what abilities you have, He lets you realize them all and gives you the greatest space in which to show your personal abilities and talents, and in the end God wants to let you obtain truth within every environment and in the midst of every duty, to let you understand God’s intention and live like a person. He does not want to deprive you of anything but rather wants you to accomplish the most you can in everything. People are always narrow-minded and think, “I’ve studied vocal performance in the world, so isn’t my path of vocal performance now cut short because of my performing my duty?” Has it in fact been cut short? Even if it has, how much of a loss is that? In reality, though, not only has it not been cut short, but it has been displayed and applied even more regularly; is this not a great opportunity? You have space for the development of your personal hobbies and talents; additionally, during this time you are performing the duty of a created being, can obtain truth, and get on the correct life path. This is such a happy thing and such a great blessing! There’s no loss no matter how you calculate it. When you distance yourself from the land of evil and corruption, when you separate yourself from wicked groups, at the very least your thought, spirit, and heart will no longer continue to be abused and corrupted. When you come to a clean place and come into God’s presence, is this not a great blessing? As people are reincarnated over and over across the generations, how many opportunities are there like this? Is it not only those who have been born in the last days who have this opportunity? This is a great thing! Secretly rejoice; this is not a situation of coming to grief or loss. As a created being among all things in the universe and billions of people on this earth, how many people can have an opportunity like this, to bear testimony of the actions of the Lord of creation as a created being by giving themselves over to the fulfilling of their duty and responsibility? Who can have such an opportunity? Are there many of these people? What is the proportion of them? (One in ten thousand.) Are there one in ten thousand? No, there are even fewer! Especially you use your singing voices and the knowledge you have studied in order to perform your duty—this is so meaningful! Isn’t this such a great blessing? You are not testifying of a person, and you are not engaged in some mere cause. The One you serve is the Lord of creation—how wonderful this is! During this period you have also been watered and have such a good environment and opportunity. If you do not obtain some practical benefits and do not obtain truth, then would you not regret it for the rest of your life? You would regret it for the next half of your life, and you’d be laughed at, for speaking of this is embarrassing. So, you must seize this opportunity and not let it pass by. You must obtain however much you can from it. Perform well during the period of your performance of duty. Obtaining truth is the most valuable thing and the most meaningful part of life! Among all creation there is not a single person or a single group of people more blessed than you here. For what do those others live? They live for reincarnation, for the excitement of this earth. For what do you live? For your duty, for performing your duty as a created being. Is it not valuable to live this way? Extremely valuable! So, you cannot look lightly on the duty that you perform.
Only They Who Treasure God’s Word Truly Care About Entering Into Life
God’s house produces a variety of videos of singing and recitation of God’s word for people to listen to and watch repeatedly. As people ponder these words of God, then, over the years, the words will take root in their hearts, and they will gain an impression of some of them without their awareness of it. As soon as these words take root in a person’s heart, won’t the internal condition of the person’s life start to change? Have you understood the nature of these words that you sing and recite? The first thing to say with certainty is that they are truth. So, what sort of function do these truths serve within a person? Have you felt that these words are needs of a person’s spirit? These words are the mainstay and motive power of a person’s spirit, and we can say that they can change the condition of a person’s life and are spiritual food for man’s life. Most of you do not yet have any practical experience. You only understand a little doctrine, but you have such great energy. If you always listen to these words, always fellowship, and eat and drink these things and gain practical experience and practical learning, then you will be really something, and the condition of your life will undergo an earth-shaking change and no longer be a matter of whether you have energy, like right now. Some people are in a poor condition, they can’t resolve it through fellowship with others, and feel bad to the point where they don’t sleep well at night. They ponder and pray but are quite sad in their hearts, and there are some things they cannot overcome. Then, they open up God’s word and copy out a couple lines, and their hearts are brightened, they have energy, and they are no longer sad. When they lie down again they sleep much more peacefully, all the way through to the morning. Why is this? Does such a person actually understand those lines he copies out of God’s word? Does he have practical experience after copying them? Certainly not. Copying them cannot replace practical experience, but—even if he does not understand exactly how it works—as he earnestly reads and ponders those words, even though he does not have a great amount of light and only understands their surface meaning, he feels internal motivation and comfort in his heart. His internal condition begins to change, he is no longer passive or weak, and he can overcome the events he encounters.
Having believed in God up to now, most of you have some basic perceptual knowledge of the effect of God’s word on a person, of your feeling toward God’s word, or of how you view God’s word from your perspective. You feel that, regardless of whether one is strong or weak, he cannot separate from God’s word, and regardless of what kind of effect God’s word has on a person, he cannot separate from God’s word even for a moment. Most of you have no practical experience and have no feeling toward God’s word, and this is just like having a feeling toward air or water. People cannot separate from air or water for even a day, and yet they consider them the most ordinary of things. When you are able to drink water and breathe air in your daily life, you feel like air and water are always provided to you in life, so you’ve never thought, “Air is so important to me, and water is so important to me.” Nor can you experience the state of mind or feeling of losing water or air. You cannot be conscious of or perceive the critical role that they play for your physical life. However, if someday you are suddenly within a vacuum, then you will feel how important air is for you. Or, if you find yourself in a desert region where you cannot see a drop of water around you, when you are parched and thirsty, you will feel how important water is to you. This is approximately the same situation for the attitude with which you regard God’s word. You cannot feel the importance of God’s word or perceive how great an effect it has on you, but you must read a little every day. If you go for a time without reading, then your spirit will be pained, and you will feel like you lack support. As you read, you will gain energy, motive power, and faith.
Now, most of you have just that little bit of perceptual knowledge of God’s word. What is perceptual knowledge? It means that you have some theoretical understanding, so when you hear God’s word in theory, you will exclaim, “Right!” You admit it is correct in theory, and in this area none of you will misspeak. However, when it comes to God’s word regarding God’s judgment of man, His chastisement of man, and His exposing of man’s corrupt dispositions, you only acknowledge it or have a cognition of it. You don’t have any practical experience in the area of the transformation of dispositions, and you need to enter in more deeply and experience more deeply and learn more deeply from experience, and in this way your life will progress. That seed within your hearts has only sprouted; it has not yet flowered or produced fruit. So, it’s very difficult for you to speak of an understanding of experiencing God’s word or experiencing truth. So, do you count as having life while you are in this condition? Have you entered into the reality of truth? Do you then have truth? You’re all shaking your heads. And why not? It is because although you usually can say a lot about doctrine, you are unable to practice in real situations; it is because you have neither principle nor a path forward and you don’t know the precise way to practice. One normally finishes an apprenticeship in normal trades after three years. Those who study martial arts usually finish apprenticeship after three or five years. However, entering into life is the slowest, and entering into the reality of truth is the slowest; it is not simply a matter of enduring over the years, like a daughter-in-law who suffers will one day become a mother-in-law. It’s not like that. A person must enter in in every aspect: One aspect depends on personal caliber and the personal goals one seeks, and requires, among other conditions, that a person can persevere and have a resolve to suffer and a willingness to abandon and expend himself for God. Another aspect requires more eating and drinking of God’s word, more meeting together, and more fellowshiping with others, and requires the leadership of good people. In this way, his growth will accelerate. As soon as a person learns this path, then he has a way to begin entering in. Later, while you are performing your duty, you will learn how to submit, how to accept every kind of pruning and being dealt with, and how to accept all kinds of exercises. You will learn how to work harmoniously together with all brothers and sisters—whether those in positions of responsibility or those of the rank and file. You will learn how to proactively satisfy God’s various requirements and how to perform your respective duties well. It is enough for you to learn all those things. This is the time of your life that is the most valuable to remember. It is the most unforgettable time.
During the time of performing your duty, you will be safe if you can obtain truth and discover the paths of putting truth into practice and entering into life, and you will have confidence; then, any little trial or small environment you face later will be no problem. During this time, sustain each other. Help each other. Provide a little more help and support to the weak when you see them. Work hard so that you all lay a foundation, that you discover the paths of putting truth into practice and entering into life, and when in the course of your experience you come to know God a little then that is even better. As soon as your foundation is laid, the condition of your lives undergoes a change, and your spiritual condition changes, then the road before you will be secure. The most difficult period of believing in God is the stage of transition from the period of zeal to entering into reality. The zealous stage is when you speak of some doctrine, repeat slogans, have an immature stature, and don’t understand anything but believe simplistically that believing in God is good and that believing in God is a good thing. The period of transitioning from this stage to the time of entering into the reality of truth, growing, and maturing, is a period of groping and transition. When they first start to believe in God, people typically always act by their zeal: They like to do, and to stand out. You will be secure if you can transition from this stage of zeal to the stage where you know what is the reality of truth, what are the words of doctrine, what it is to call out slogans, what it is to enter into reality, and what it is to understand truth. At that point, typical small trials or tests will no longer be a big deal to you; they will no longer be difficult obstacles, and you will have performed your duty in a valuable way and obtained many things.