Chapter 40. What You Should Know About Transforming Your Disposition
Over the years of experiencing God’s work and listening to sermons, there are some people who understand themselves, and some people who don’t have any understanding of themselves; some people are able to talk about some real things, and communicate their own real states, their personal entries, their personal progress, their shortcomings, and how they plan to enter in. Some people are unable to talk about those things at all, they are only able to talk about doctrines, talk about outward matters such as outward work, current situations, the progress of spreading the gospel, but nothing about concrete entry into life or personal experiences. This shows that they have still not gotten on the right track to enter into life. A transformation of disposition is not a change in actions, it is not a feigned outward change, it is not a temporary enthusiastic transformation, but it is a true transformation of disposition which brings a change in actions. Such changes in actions are different than changes in outward behaviors. A transformation of disposition means that you have understood and experienced the truth, and that truth has become your life. In the past, you understood truth regarding this matter, but you were unable to act upon it; truth was just like a doctrine to you that does not stay. Now, your disposition has transformed, and you not only understand truth, but you also act in accordance with truth. You are now able to get rid of the things you were fond of in the past; you are able to let go of the things you were willing to do, your personal imaginations, and your notions. You are now able to let go of the things you were not able to let go of in the past. This is a transformation of disposition and it is the process of transforming your disposition. It sounds quite simple, but in fact, someone who is in the midst of it has to suffer many hardships, overcome his body and forsake things of his flesh which belong to his nature. He must also go through dealing and pruning, chastisement and judgment, and he must experience trials. Only after experiencing all of this can someone understand his nature. Having some understanding does not mean that he is able to change immediately. He must endure hardships in the process. Likewise, can you just put the truth into practice once you have some understanding of a matter? You can’t put it into practice immediately. During the period of gaining understanding, others prune you and deal with you, and then the environment compels you, forces you to act in accordance with the principles of the truth. Sometimes, you are unwilling to go through this, saying, “Why can’t I do it that way? Do I have to do it this way?” Others say, “If you believe in God, then you should do it this way. Doing it this way is in accordance with truth.” When you reach a certain point where you’ve experienced some trials and ended up understanding God’s will and some truths, then you will be somewhat happy and willing to do things in accordance with the principles of the truth. Man is initially reluctant to practice the truth. Take devotedly fulfilling one’s duties as an example: You have some understanding of fulfilling your duties and being devoted to God, and you also understand the related truths, but when will you be able to be completely devoted to God? When will you be able to fulfill your duties in name and in deed? This will require a process. During this process, you might suffer many hardships. People will deal with you, prune you, and regulate you. Everyone’s eyes will be fixed on you, and ultimately, you will realize: It’s my problem. Fulfilling my duties while lacking devotion is unacceptable. I can’t be careless and perfunctory. The Holy Spirit will enlighten you from within and reproach you when you make a mistake. During this process, you will understand some things about yourself and will know that you are too impure, you harbor too many personal motives, and too many immoderate desires in fulfilling your duties. Once you have understood the essence of these things, when you are able to come before God in prayer and truly repent, those impure things can be purified. If you frequently seek the truth that way to resolve your own practical problems you will gradually enter onto the right track in your faith. The more man’s corrupt disposition is purified, the more their life disposition will transform.
With regard to the substance of fulfilling your duties, how well do you really fulfill your duties? How well do you fulfill your duties in accordance with truth after transforming your dispositions? By reflecting on this, you can know how much your disposition has actually been transformed. A transformation of disposition is not that simple of a matter. “My actions have changed, and I understand truth. I can also talk about some experiences on every aspect of truth and can talk about some small insights. Moreover, the Holy Spirit has reproached me on this matter and now I am able to let go of it a little bit and am able to submit a little bit.” This doesn’t count as a transformation in life disposition. Why? You are able to let go a little, but what you are practicing has not yet reached the level of truly putting truth into practice. Perhaps your environment is temporarily suitable and your circumstances are favorable, or your circumstances compel you to behave this way, or your state of mind is stable and the Holy Spirit is working, then you are able to do it. If you were in the midst of trials like Job who suffered pain of trials, or like Peter whom God asked to die, would you be able to say, “Even if I died after I came to know You, it would be alright”? A transformation in disposition does not happen overnight, and once you understand the truth you can’t necessarily put it into practice within every environment. This involves man’s nature. On the outside, it seems as if you are putting truth into practice, but in reality, the nature of your actions does not show that you are putting truth into practice. There are many people who, once they have certain outward behaviors, believe “Am I not fulfilling my duties? Did I not forsake my family and job? Am I not putting the truth into practice by fulfilling my duties?” But God doesn’t recognize that you are putting the truth into practice. All those whose actions are tainted by personal motives and aims are not practicing the truth. Strictly speaking, this kind of behavior will probably be condemned by God; it will not be praised or commemorated by Him. Dissecting this further, you are doing evil and your behavior is in opposition to God. From the outside, these things you are doing seem to conform to the truth: You are not interrupting or disturbing anything and you haven’t done real damage or violated any truth. It appears to be logical and reasonable, yet the essence of your actions pertains to doing evil and resisting God. Therefore you should determine whether there has been a change in your disposition and whether you are putting the truth into practice by looking at the intentions behind your actions in light of God’s words. It is not determined by human words or opinions. Rather, it depends on God saying whether or not you are conforming to His will, whether or not your actions possess the reality of the truth, and whether or not they meet His requirements and standards. Only measuring yourself against God’s requirements is accurate. A transformation in disposition and putting truth into practice are not as simple and easy as people imagine. Do you understand now? Do you have any experience with this? You might not understand it if it involves the substance of issues. You have entered too shallowly. You run about all day, from dawn until dusk, you rise up early and go to bed late, but you don’t clearly understand what a transformation of disposition is or what its true situation is. Isn’t this shallow? Regardless of whether you are old or new, you might not feel the substance and depth of transformation in disposition. How do you know whether God praises you or not? In the very least, you will feel exceptionally steadfast in your heart regarding everything that you do, you will feel the Holy Spirit guiding and enlightening you and working in you when you fulfill your duties, do any work in God’s family, or in normal times; your conduct will fit hand in hand with God’s words, and when you have a certain degree of experience, you will feel that what you did in the past was relatively suitable. If after gaining experience for a period of time, you feel that some of the things you did in the past were not suitable and you are dissatisfied with them, and indeed there was no truth in the things you did, then it proves that everything you did was resisting God. It proves that your service was full of rebelliousness, resistance and human behaviors. With this said, how should you understand transforming your disposition? Do you understand? You might not usually discuss transforming your disposition and seldom communicate personal experiences. At best, you communicate: “I was passive some time ago. Later I prayed to God, saying, ‘Oh God, enlighten and illuminate me.’ And, God enlightened me, ‘It is necessary for those who believe in God to have trials.’ When I pondered this, I felt that it was right, so I might as well endure. In the end my strength rose up, and I was not negative any more. After all, I hadn’t fulfilled my duties with devotion.” After you communicate about these states, other people say: “We are all about the same, we are as black as the raven.” It is troublesome to always talk about these things. If deep things cannot be grasped, in the end, there is no transformation in disposition.
A transformation in disposition mainly refers to a transformation in your nature. Nature is not something that can be seen from outside behaviors; nature is directly related to the worth and significance of people’s existence. It directly involves values in life, the things deep within the soul, and the people’s essence. Someone who is unable to accept the truth will have no transformation in these aspects. Only by experiencing God’s work, fully entering into the truth, changing their values and outlooks on existence and life, viewing things in the same way as God, and becoming capable of completely submitting and being devoted to God can their dispositions be said to have changed. You may appear to put forth some effort, you may be resilient in the face of hardships, you may be able to carry out work arrangements from the above, or you may be able to go wherever you are told to go, but these are only small changes in your actions and are not enough to be a transformation in your disposition. You may be able to run down many paths and suffer many hardships and endure great humiliation; you may feel very close to God, and that the Holy Spirit is doing some work within you. However, when God asks you to do something that doesn’t conform to your notions, you still don’t submit, you look for excuses, and you rebel against and resist God, even to the point that you blame God and protest against Him. This is a serious problem! This proves that you still have a nature that is resistant to God and that you have not had any transformation whatsoever. Some people even judge God, saying that God is not righteous. They have notions about God, and they can still argue or make a request to God: “God should do this thing openly so that everyone discusses it.” Such actions prove that they are evil demons resisting God. Their natures will never transform. This kind of person should be given up on. Only those who can accept the truth, who seek and investigate to gain the truth when they don’t understand God’s work have the hope to obtain a transformation in their dispositions. In your experience, there are some normal states that need to be distinguished. Perhaps you cry bitterly when you pray, or perhaps you feel a great amount of love for God in your heart and you feel close to God. This is simply the state when the Holy Spirit works in you, but you still don’t love God, you still don’t have the truth, and it certainly cannot be said that your disposition has been transformed.
Where do you begin in transforming your disposition? Do you know? It starts from understanding your own nature. This is the key. Then how do you get to understand it? Some people say, “Search for your expression of corruption.” How do you check yourself when you are done looking? You can find this while you are fulfilling your duties. What if you are not fulfilling your duties? Can you find it? Can you find it while living with your family or associating with people? How do you find it? Some say, “You must look for it at all times!” You veterans have been practicing this way for years; do you have an understanding of your nature yet? You still have a long way to go! You say you should search for it every day, at all times; other than eating and sleeping, you must always search. Where do you look? What things do you look in? How do you find it? What will the outcome be? Some say, “Understanding your nature. When you understand your nature, you can transform.” It is easy for anyone to say this. But how do you search? How do you understand it? There must be a way. You can’t talk about empty things. If there is a way, then you will know how to experience. Without a way, then you are merely calling out the slogan, “We all must understand our natures. Our natures are no good. When we understand our natures, then we can transform our dispositions.” After you are done calling out, it is nothing more than blowing hot air, and no one understands their natures. This is called speaking doctrines without a way. Is not working this way ruining things? What will the outcome of working this way be? You usually all call out the slogan, “We must understand our natures! We all must love God! We all must submit to God! We all must fall down before God! We all must worship God! Whoever does not love God is unacceptable!” Talking about these doctrines is of no use and does not solve problems. How should you understand your nature? Understanding your nature is actually analyzing the depth of the soul; it is what is in your life. It is the logic of Satan and the many viewpoints of Satan that you had been originally living by, that is, the life of Satan that you have been living by. Only by uncovering the deep things of your soul can you understand your nature. How do you uncover them? By merely doing things, many people will not be able to uncover and analyze them. Often times, after you are done doing something, you don’t come to an understanding. Perhaps three or five years later you will have an awakening, and have some understanding.
Now, in order to understand your nature, you must incorporate several aspects: First, you must be clear on what you like in your heart. That doesn’t mean the things you like to eat or wear, but rather it means the kinds of things you like, the things you envy, the things you worship, the things you seek, and the things you pay attention to. Are you clear on this? Do you know what types of things are included in the things you like? It is the things you usually pay attention to, the things you worship, the type of people you like to come into contact with, the type of things you like to do, and the type of people you idolize in your mind. For example: Most people like people of greatness, people who are elegant in their speech and appearance, or people who speak with tongue in cheek; some people like people who put on an act. This is the aspect concerning the people with whom they like to connect. As for the aspect of things people like, it includes being willing to do things that are easy to do, liking to do things that others think to be good, and things that people would praise, applaud, and compliment after they see them. There is an overall characteristic of the things people like in their natures. That is, they like things and people that other people are envious of because of their outer appearances, they like things and people that look beautiful and luxurious, and that make other people worship them because of their outer appearances. The things that people are fond of are great, dazzling, gorgeous, and grand. People all worship these things. It can be seen that people do not have any of the truth, and do not have the likeness of a real man. There is not the slightest degree of significance in worshiping these things, but people like these things. In the eyes of people who don’t believe in God, these things that people like are especially good, and they are especially willing to pursue them. To give a simple example: There are groupies among unbelievers. They follow the actors or singers, have them sign their autographs and leave messages, or shake hands and hug them. Do these things exist in the hearts of believers? Do you occasionally sing the songs of the celebrities whom you worship? Or do you occasionally emulate and dress up in the styles your hearts yearn for? You make these celebrities and famous people the objects of your worship and the models for your worship. These are the common things that people are fond of inside. Do believers truly not worship these things, which the unbelievers worship? Deep down in the heart, the majority of people still have the heart to worship them. You believe in God, and it seems like you are not clearly pursuing those things. However, in your heart you still envy those things, and you are still fond of those things. Occasionally you think: “I still want to listen to their music, and I still want to watch the TV programs they’re acting in. How do they live? Where are they right now? If I could see them and shake their hands, then that would be great, and even if I died it would still be worth it.” Regardless of who they worship, people all like these things. Perhaps you do not have the opportunity or you do not have the circumstance to meet these people, things, or objects; however, these things are in your heart. To yearn for these things is to wallow in the mire with the people of the world; it is what God detests, it lacks truth, it lacks humanity, and it is the likeness of the devil. This is a simple example, it is what people are fond of inside. You can uncover your nature from the things you are fond of.
The things people are fond of can be seen by the way they dress. Some people are willing to wear strange clothing, clothing that draws others’ attention, colorful clothing, or bizarre clothing. They are willing to carry things with them that people don’t normally carry, and they love things that can attract the opposite sex. They carry these things and wear these clothes, which illustrates how these things exist in their lives and deep within their hearts. These things they like are not dignified and upright, they are not the things of a genuine person. The things they like are not just and their views are identical with those of the people of the world. I have met some people whose clothes, accessories, and viewpoints were the same as those of the people of the world. I could not see any truth in them. Therefore, what you like, what you focus on, what you worship, what you envy, and what you think about in your heart every day all represent your nature. It is enough to prove that your nature is fond of unrighteousness, and in serious situations, your nature is evil and incurable. You should analyze your nature this way, that is, look at what you are fond of and what you forsake in your life. Perhaps you are temporarily good to someone, but this doesn’t prove that you are fond of him. What you are truly fond of is precisely what is in your nature; even if your bones were broken, you would still like it and could never forsake it. This is not easy to change. Take finding a partner for example. Birds of a feather flock together. If a woman really liked a person, then other people would not be able to stop it. Even if her parents broke her leg, she would still run away with him; she would rather die and be married to him. How can this be? It is because no one can change what someone has deep inside of themselves. Even if you pulled their heart out and they died, their soul would still like the same thing. These are the things of human nature, and they represent a person’s substance. The things people are fond of contain some unrighteousness, some are obvious and some are not; some are fierce and some are not; some people have self-control, and some cannot control themselves; some people can sink into the things of darkness, and this proves that they do not have the slightest degree of life. If people were able to not be occupied and restrained by those things, it would prove that their dispositions had been transformed a little and that they had a little stature. Some people understand some truths and feel that they have life and that they love God. In fact, it is still too early, transforming one’s disposition is not a simple matter. Is nature easy to understand? Even if you understood a little, it would not be easy to change. This is an area of difficulty for people. Regardless of how people, matters, or things around you may change and regardless of how the world may be turned upside down, if the truth is guiding you from within, if it has taken root within you and God’s words guide your life, your preferences, your experiences and your existence, at that point you will have truly transformed. Now this so-called transformation is just people having a little bit of cooperation and a little bit of enthusiasm and faith, but this can’t be considered to be a transformation and it doesn’t prove that people have life; it is just because of people’s preferences.
In addition to uncovering the things people are fond of in their natures, other aspects pertaining to their natures also need to be uncovered; for example, people’s viewpoints on things, people’s methods and goals in life, people’s life values and views on life, as well as views on all things relating to truth. These are all the things deep within people’s souls and they have a direct relationship with the transformation of disposition. Let’s take a look at what the life views are of a person with a corrupt nature. You can say they believe “Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost.” People live for themselves, and simply put, they are just like pigs and dogs; all they care about is food, clothes, and eating. Their life has no other purpose and doesn’t have the slightest degree of significance or value. Life views are what you rely on to survive and live; they are what you live for, and how you live. These are all the substance of human nature. Through analyzing people’s natures, you will see that people are all resisting God. They are all devils and there is no genuinely good person. Only by analyzing people’s natures can you truly know the substance and corruption of man and understand what people actually belong to, what people truly lack, what they should be equipped with, and how they should live out human likeness. Truly being able to analyze people’s natures is not easy. It won’t do without truth and experience.