81. The Principles of Walking the Path of Peter
1. You must walk the path of pursuing the truth, which is the path of truly knowing yourself so as to achieve dispositional change and be perfected;
2. You must focus on seeking to love God, be able to practice the truth and follow the example of Christ in all things, and become someone who truly loves God and bears witness for God;
3. You must focus on knowing God and knowing yourself within God’s words, and understand God’s requirements of man, so as to understand the truth and enter into reality;
4. You must accept God’s judgment and chastisement, trials and refinement, and know God’s righteousness and holiness, so as to ultimately be able to love God utterly and be obedient till death.
Relevant Words of God:
To summarize taking the path of Peter, it is to take the path of pursuing the truth, which is also the path of truly knowing oneself and changing one’s disposition. Only by going the way of Peter will one be going the way of being perfected by God. One must be clear on specifically how to take the way of Peter and how to put it into practice. First, one must put aside his own intentions, improper pursuits, and even his family and all things of his own flesh. He must be wholeheartedly devoted, that is, completely devote himself to the word of God, focus on eating and drinking the word of God, focus on the search for the truth, the search for God’s intention in His words, and try to grasp the will of God in everything. This is the most fundamental and the most critical method of practice. This is what Peter did after seeing Jesus, and it is only by practicing in this way that one obtains the best results. Wholehearted devotion to the words of God mainly means seeking the truth, seeking God’s intention within His words, focusing on grasping the will of God, and understanding and obtaining more truth from the words of God. When reading His words, Peter was not focused on understanding doctrines and he was even less focused on obtaining theological knowledge; instead, he was focused on understanding the truth and grasping God’s will, and achieving an understanding of His disposition and His loveliness. He also tried to understand the various corrupt states of man from God’s words, and understand the corrupt nature of man and man’s true shortcomings, achieving all aspects of the demands God makes of man in order to satisfy Him. He had so many correct practices within the words of God; this is most in line with God’s will, and it is man’s best cooperation in his experience of the work of God. When experiencing the hundreds of trials from God, he examined himself strictly against every word of God’s judgment of man, every word of God’s revelation of man, and every word of His demands of man, and tried to reach for the meaning of God’s words. He tried in earnest to ponder and memorize every word that Jesus said to him, and achieved very good results. Through this way of practicing he was able to achieve an understanding of himself from God’s words, and he not only came to understand the various corrupt states of man, but he also came to understand man’s essence, man’s nature, and the various types of shortcomings that man has—this is a true understanding of oneself. From God’s words, he not only achieved a true understanding of himself, but from the things expressed in God’s word—God’s righteous disposition, what He has and is, God’s will for His work, His demands of mankind—from these words he came to know God completely. He came to know God’s disposition, and His essence; he came to know and understand what God has and is, God’s loveliness and God’s demands for man. Even though at that time God did not speak as much as He does today, fruit was borne in Peter in these aspects. This was a rare and precious thing. Peter went through hundreds of trials but did not suffer in vain. He not only came to understand himself from the words and the work of God, but he also came to know God. He also particularly focused on God’s requirements of mankind within His words, and in what aspects man should satisfy God to be in line with God’s will. He put forth great effort in this aspect and achieved full clarity; this was very beneficial for his own entry. No matter what God spoke of, as long as those words could become his life and they belonged to the truth, he was able to carve them into his heart to ponder them often and comprehend them. After hearing the words of Jesus he was able to take them to heart, which shows that he was especially focused on God’s words, and he truly achieved results in the end. That is, he was able to freely put the words of God into practice, accurately practice the truth and be in line with God’s will, act entirely in accordance with God’s intention, and give up his own personal opinions and imaginations. In this way he entered into the reality of God’s words. Peter’s service was in line with God’s will primarily because he did this.If one can truly enter into the reality of God’s words from the matters and the words required by Him, then he will be a person perfected by God. It can be said that the work and the words of God are completely effective for this person, that God’s words become his life, he obtains truth, and he can live according to God’s words. After this the nature of his flesh, that is, the foundation of his original existence, will shake and collapse. After one has the words of God as his life he becomes a new person. The words of God become his life; the vision of God’s work, His requirements of man, His revelation of man, and the standards for a true life that God requires man to achieve become his life—he lives according to these words and these truths, and this person becomes perfected by the words of God. He experiences rebirth and becomes a new man through His words. This is the path by which Peter pursued the truth; it was the path of being perfected, perfected by God’s words, and gaining life from the words of God. The truth expressed by God’s words became his life, and only then did he become a person who obtained the truth.
from “How to Take the Path of Peter” in Records of Christ’s Talks
From the difference in the substances of Peter and Paul you should understand that all those who do not pursue life labor in vain! You believe in God and follow God, and so in your heart you must love God. You must cast aside your corrupt disposition, must seek to fulfill God’s desire, and must perform the duty of a creature of God. Since you believe in and follow God, you should offer everything to Him, and should not make personal choices or demands, and you should achieve the fulfillment of God’s desire. Since you were created, you should obey the Lord that created you, for you are inherently without dominion over yourself, and have no ability to control your destiny. Since you are a person that believes in God, you should seek holiness and change. … If what you seek is the truth, what you put into practice is the truth, and what you attain is a change in your disposition, then the path that you tread is the right one. If what you seek is the blessings of the flesh, and what you put into practice is the truth of your own conceptions, and if there is no change in your disposition, and you are not at all obedient to God in the flesh, and you still live in vagueness, then what you seek will surely take you to hell, for the path that you walk is the path of failure. Whether you will be made perfect or eliminated depends on your own pursuit, which is also to say that success or failure depends on the path that man walks.
from “Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Peter followed Jesus for a number of years and he saw many things in Jesus that people do not have. After following Him for a year, he was chosen as the head of the twelve disciples by Jesus. (Of course this was a matter of Jesus’ heart, and people were completely unable to see it.) Jesus’ every move acted as an exemplar for him in his life, and Jesus’ sermons were particularly engraved in his heart. He was very considerate of and dedicated to Jesus, and he never had complaints of Jesus. This is why he became Jesus’ faithful companion everywhere He went. Peter observed Jesus’ teachings, His gentle words, and what He ate, wore, His daily life, and His travels. He followed Jesus’ example in every way. He was not self-righteous, but he cast off all of his previous outdated things and followed Jesus’ example in word and deed. It was then that he felt that the heavens and earth and all things were within the hands of the Almighty, and for this reason he did not have his own choice, but he drew in everything that Jesus was to act as his exemplar. He could see from his life that Jesus was not self-righteous in what He did, nor did He brag about Himself, but instead, He moved people with love. In different situations Peter could see what Jesus was. That is why everything in Jesus became the object that Peter modeled himself after. In his experiences, he felt Jesus’ loveliness more and more. He said something like this: “I searched for the Almighty in the universe and I saw the wonders of the heavens and earth and all things, and I thus had a deep sense of the loveliness of the Almighty. But I never had genuine love in my heart, and I never saw the loveliness of the Almighty with my own eyes. Today, in the eyes of the Almighty, I have been looked upon with favor by Him and I have finally felt God’s loveliness, and finally discovered that for God, it is not just creating all things that would make mankind love Him. In my daily life I have found His infinite loveliness; how could it possibly be limited just to this situation today?” As time passed, many lovable things were also found in Peter. He was very obedient to Jesus, and of course he suffered quite a few setbacks. When Jesus took him to various places for preaching, he always humbled himself and listened to Jesus’ sermons. He never became arrogant because of his years of following.
from “On the Life of Peter” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
As soon as Peter is mentioned, everybody is full of praise…. He paid close attention not only to eating and drinking My words, but even more to grasping My intentions, and was constantly prudent and cautious in his thoughts, so that he was always keenly astute in his spirit, and hence was able to please Me in everything he did. In ordinary life, he paid close attention to integrating the lessons of those who had failed in the past so as to spur himself on to greater endeavor, deeply afraid that he might fall into the nets of failure. He also paid close attention to assimilating the faith and love of all those who through the ages had loved God. In this way he not only in negative aspects, but much more importantly, in positive aspects sped up the progress of his growth, until he became in My presence the one human being who knew Me best. For this reason, it is not difficult to imagine how he could place all that he had in My hands, no longer being his own master even in eating, dressing, sleeping, or where he stayed, but made satisfying Me in all things the foundation on which he enjoyed My bounty. So many times did I put him under trial, which of course left him half dead, but even in the midst of these hundreds of trials, he never once lost faith in Me or became disillusioned with Me. Even when I said I had already thrown him aside, he did not grow faint of heart or fall into despair, but continued as before to carry out his principles so as to realize his love for Me. … Because of his loyalty in My presence, and because of My blessings upon him, he has become an exemplar and a model for mankind for thousands of years. Is this not precisely the example that you should follow? At this time, you should think hard and try to work out why I have given such a lengthy account of Peter. This should serve you as a code of conduct.
from “The Sixth Utterance” of God’s Utterances to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Anything in Peter’s life that did not satisfy God’s desire made him feel uneasy. If it did not satisfy God’s desire, then he would feel remorseful, and would look for a suitable way by which he could strive to satisfy God’s heart. In even the smallest and most inconsequential aspects of his life, still he required himself to satisfy God’s desire. He was no less exacting when it came to his old disposition, ever rigorous in his requirements of himself to progress deeper into the truth. … In his belief in God, Peter sought to satisfy God in everything, and sought to obey all that came from God. Without the slightest complaint, he was able to accept chastisement and judgment, as well as refinement, tribulation and lack in his life, none of which could alter his love of God. Is this not the ultimate love of God? Is this not the fulfillment of the duty of a creature of God? Whether in chastisement, judgment, or tribulation, you are always capable of achieving obedience unto death, and this is what should be achieved by a creature of God, this is the purity of the love of God. If man can achieve this much, then he is a qualified creature of God, and there is nothing which better satisfies the desire of the Creator.
from “Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Peter sought within the refinement of God’s words and within the various trials that God provided for him to come to know himself, to see what he revealed. In the end when he truly came to understand himself, he realized man is so corrupt, and is worthless and unworthy of serving God, and that man is not worthy of living in front of God. He fell down in front of God. In the end he felt: “Knowing God is the most precious thing! If I could not know God, my death would be such a shame. I feel that knowing God is the most important, most meaningful thing. If man does not know God then he does not deserve to live—then there is no life.” When Peter’s experience had reached this point, he was fairly knowledgeable of his own nature. He understood it fairly well, and although he would not have been able to use language to explain it thoroughly in terms of mankind’s current thinking, he did reach this realm. Therefore, pursuit of the path of life to be perfected by God is to more deeply understand one’s own nature within the words of God and to understand the things contained in one’s nature. To summarize it with words, to thoroughly understand one’s old life—the life of the old satanic nature—this is to have achieved the result required by God. If your knowledge has not reached this point but you say you understand yourself and that you have gained life, isn’t this just bragging? You don’t know yourself, and you don’t know what you are in front of God, whether you have really achieved the standard of a human being, or how many elements of Satan you still contain. You are unclear about who you belong to and you don’t even have self-knowledge—then how can you have reason in front of God? When Peter was pursuing life, amidst his trials he focused on understanding himself and changing his disposition. He strove to understand God, and in the end he felt: “Man must pursue understanding of God in life; understanding God is the most critical thing; if I don’t know God then I cannot rest in peace when I die. When God has me die after knowing Him, I will feel that it is a most gratifying thing, I will not complain in the least, and my entire life will be fulfilled.” Peter was not able to obtain this understanding and reach this level right after he began to believe in God—he had to first undergo many trials. His experience had to reach a certain point and he had to completely understand himself before he could feel the value in knowing God. Therefore, the path he took was the path of life and of being perfected; his specific practice was mainly focused on this aspect. What road are you all taking now? If you have not reached a pursuit of life, of understanding of yourself, or of God like Peter’s, then that is still not Peter’s path. … Why is it said that Peter’s path is the path of being perfected? Because in his practice he particularly focused on life, he pursued understanding of God, and he focused on understanding himself. Through his experience of God’s work he came to know himself, gained understanding of man’s corrupt states, knew his shortcomings, and what the most valuable thing for man to pursue was. He was able to sincerely love God, knew how to repay God, he obtained some truth, and he had the reality that God requires. From all the things that he said during his trials, it can be seen that Peter was indeed the one with the most understanding of God. Because he understood so much truth from the words of God, his path became brighter and brighter and more and more in alignment with God’s will. If he had not had this truth, then he would not have been able to go along such a correct path.
from “How to Take the Path of Peter” in Records of Christ’s Talks
During his lifetime, Peter experienced refinement hundreds of times and underwent many painful ordeals. This refinement became the foundation of his supreme love of God, and became the most significant experience of his entire life. That he was able to possess a supreme love of God was, in one sense, because of his resolve to love God; more importantly, however, it was because of the refinement and suffering that he underwent. This suffering became his guide on the path of loving God, and became the thing that was most memorable to him. If people do not undergo the pain of refinement when loving God, then their love is full of naturalness and their preferences; love such as this is full of the ideas of Satan, and simply incapable of satisfying God’s will. Having the resolve to love God is not the same as truly loving God. Even though all that they think of in their hearts is for the sake of loving God, and satisfying God, as if their thoughts are without any human ideas, as if they are all for the sake of God, when their thoughts are brought before God, such thoughts are not commended or blessed by God. Even when people have fully understood all truths—when they have come to know them all—this cannot be said to be a sign of loving God, it cannot be said that these people actually love God. Despite having understood many truths without undergoing refinement, people are incapable of putting these truths into practice; only during refinement can people understand the real meaning of these truths, only then can people genuinely appreciate their inner meaning. At that time, when they try again, they are able to put the truths into practice properly, and in accordance with God’s will; at that time, their human ideas are lessened, their human naturalness is reduced, and their human emotions are diminished; only at that time is their practice a true manifestation of the love of God. The effect of the truth of the love of God is not achieved through spoken knowledge or mental willingness, nor can it be achieved simply by being understood. It requires that people pay a price, and that they undergo much bitterness during refinement, and only then will their love become pure, and after God’s own heart. In His requirement that man love Him, God does not demand that man love Him using passion, or naturalness; only through loyalty and the use of the truth to serve Him can man truly love Him.
from “Only by Experiencing Refinement Can Man Truly Love God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If you are someone who pursues being made perfect, then you will have borne testimony, and you will say: “In this step-by-step work of God, I have accepted God’s work of chastisement and judgment, and though I have endured great suffering, I have come to know how God makes man perfect, I have gained the work done by God, I have had the knowledge of the righteousness of God, and His chastisement has saved me. His righteous disposition has come upon me, and brought me blessings and grace, and His judgment and chastisement has protected and purified me. If I had not been chastised and judged by God, and if the harsh words of God had not come upon me, I could not have known God, nor could I have been saved. Today I see that, as a creature, not only does one enjoy all things made by the Creator, but, more importantly, that all creatures should enjoy the righteous disposition of God, and enjoy His righteous judgment, because God’s disposition is worthy of man’s enjoyment. As a creature that has been corrupted by Satan, one should enjoy God’s righteous disposition. In His righteous disposition there is chastisement and judgment, and, moreover, there is great love. Although I am incapable of completely gaining God’s love today, I have had the good fortune to see it, and in this I have been blessed.” This is the path walked by those who experience being made perfect and the knowledge of which they speak. Such people are the same as Peter; they have the same experiences as Peter. Such people are also those who have gained life, and who possess the truth. If man experiences until the very end, during God’s judgment he will inevitably completely rid himself of the influence of Satan, and be gained by God.
from “The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh