Work and Entry (2)
Your work and entry are quite poor; man does not place importance on work and is even more haphazard about entry. Man does not regard these as lessons that they ought to enter into; therefore, in their spiritual experience, virtually all that man sees is empty mirages. Not very much is asked of you as far as your experience in work is concerned, but, as one to be perfected by God, you ought to learn your lessons about working for God so that you may soon conform with God’s will. Throughout the ages, those who did work have been called workers or apostles, which are words that refer to a small number of people who are used by God. However, the work I speak of today does not refer solely to those workers or apostles, but rather is directed toward all those to be perfected by God. Perhaps there are many who have little interest in this, but, for the sake of entry, it would be best to talk about the truth regarding this matter.
Regarding work, man believes that work is to run around for God, preach everywhere, and expend for His sake. Though this belief is correct, it is too one-sided; what God asks of man is not solely to run around for Him; beyond just this, this work is concerned with ministry and provision within the spirit. Many brothers and sisters, even after all these years of experience, have never thought about working for God, because work as conceived by man is incongruous with what God asks. Therefore, man has no interest whatsoever in the matter of work, and this is precisely the reason why the entry of man is also quite one-sided. All of you should begin your entry with working for God, so that you may better undergo every aspect of experience. This is what you should enter into. Work refers not to running around for God, but to whether the life of man and what man lives out are able to give God enjoyment. Work refers to people using their devotion to God and their knowledge of God to testify about God, and also to minister to man. This is man’s responsibility and this is what all man should understand. One could say that your entry is your work, and that you are seeking to enter during the course of working for God. Experiencing God does not merely mean that you know how to eat and drink of His word; more importantly, you must know how to testify about God and be able to serve God and be able to minister to and provide for man. This is work, and it is also your entry; this is what every person should accomplish. There are many who only focus on running around for God and preaching everywhere, yet overlook their individual experience and neglect their entry into the spiritual life. This is what has led those who serve God to become those who resist God. These people, who have been serving God and ministering to man all these years, have simply regarded working and preaching as entry, and none have taken their individual spiritual experience as an important entry. Instead, they have taken the enlightenment they derive from the Holy Spirit’s work as capital from which to teach others. When preaching, they are much burdened and receive the work of the Holy Spirit, and by means of this they are releasing the voice of the Holy Spirit. At this time, those who work are filled with complacency, as if the work of the Holy Spirit has become their individual spiritual experience; they feel that all the words they are speaking belong to their individual being, but then again as if their own experience is not as clear as they have described. What is more, prior to speaking they have no inkling what they will say, but when the Holy Spirit works in them, their words come flooding out in an unending stream. After you have preached once in such a way, you feel that your actual stature is not as small as you believed, and as in a situation where the Holy Spirit has worked in you several times, you then determine that you already have stature and mistakenly believe that the work of the Holy Spirit is your own entry and your own being. When you constantly experience in this way, you will become lax about your own entry, slip into laziness without noticing, and cease to place any importance on your individual entry. For this reason, when you are ministering to others you must clearly distinguish between your stature and the work of the Holy Spirit. This can better facilitate your entry and bring more benefit to your experience. When man takes the work of the Holy Spirit to be their individual experience, this becomes a source of depravity. This is why I say, whatever duty you perform, you ought to regard your entry as a vital lesson.
One works in order to satisfy the will of God, to bring all those who are after God’s heart before Him, to bring man to God, and to introduce the Holy Spirit’s work and God’s guidance to man, thereby perfecting the fruits of God’s work. Therefore, it is imperative that you are thoroughly clear on the substance of work. As one who is used by God, every man is worthy of working for God, that is, everyone has the opportunity to be used by the Holy Spirit. However, there is one point that you must realize: When man does the work of God, man has been given the opportunity to be used by God, but what is said and known by man are not entirely the stature of man. All you can do is to better know your own deficiencies during the course of your work, and come into possession of greater enlightenment from the Holy Spirit. In this way, you will be enabled to gain better entry in the course of your work. If man regards the guidance that comes from God as their own entry and as something that is inherent within themselves, then there is no potential for man’s stature to grow. The enlightenment that the Holy Spirit works in man takes place when they are in a proper state; at such times, people often mistake the enlightenment they receive as their own actual stature, because the way in which the Holy Spirit enlightens is exceptionally normal, and He makes use of what is inherent within man. When people work and speak, or when they are praying and making their spiritual devotions, a truth will suddenly become clear to them. In reality, however, what man sees is only enlightenment by the Holy Spirit (naturally, this enlightenment is connected to man’s cooperation) and does not represent man’s true stature. After a period of experience in which man encounters numerous practical difficulties, the true stature of man becomes apparent under such circumstances. Only then will man discover that his stature is not so great, and the selfishness, personal considerations, and greed of man all emerge. Only after several cycles of experiences like this will many of those who are awakened within their spirits realize that what they had experienced in the past was not their own individual reality, but a momentary illumination from the Holy Spirit, and that man had but received this light. When the Holy Spirit enlightens man to understand the truth, it is often in a clear and distinct manner, without explaining how things came about or where they are going. That is, rather than incorporating the difficulties of man into this revelation, He directly reveals the truth. When man encounters difficulties in the process of entering, and then incorporates the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, this becomes the actual experience of man. For instance, an unmarried sister spoke thus during fellowship: “We do not seek glory and riches or covet the happiness of a love between husband and wife; we seek only to devote a pure and single-minded heart to God.” She went on to say: “Once people marry, there is much that besets them, and their heart of love for God is no longer genuine. Their hearts are always preoccupied with their family and their spouse, and so their inner world becomes much more complicated….” When she was speaking, it was as if what came out from her mouth was what she was thinking in her heart; her words were resounding and powerful, as if everything she said came from the innermost depths of her heart, and as if it were her fervent wish to devote herself entirely to God and her hope that brothers and sisters like her would share the same resolution. It can be said that your feelings of resolution and of being moved at this moment come entirely from the work of the Holy Spirit. When the method of God’s work changes, you will also have grown a few years in age; you see that all of your classmates and friends who are the same age as you have taken husbands, or you hear that after so-and-so got married, her spouse took her to live in the city and she found a job there. When you see her, you will begin to feel envious, seeing how she is full of charm and poise from head to toe, and how, when she talks to you, she has a cosmopolitan flair, no longer with any hint of the country bumpkin about her. Seeing this stirs up feelings in you. You, having expended yourself for God all along, have no family or career, and you have endured a great amount of being dealt with; you entered middle age some time ago, and your youth has long since quietly slipped away, as if you were in a dream. Now, having come all the way to the present, you do not know where to settle down. At this moment, you are caught in a whirlwind of thought, as if you have lost your wits. All alone and unable to settle down to sleep, lying wakeful throughout the long night, before you know it you start thinking about your resolution and your solemn vows to God, and why, even so, you have fallen into such a sorry state? Unawares, you let fall silent tears and you feel heart-wrenching pain. Coming before God to pray, you remember, in the days when you were together with God, how intimately and inseparably close you were. Scene after scene floats up before your eyes, and the oath you made on that day rings once again in your ears, “Is God not my only intimate?” By this time, you are already racked with sobs: “God! Beloved God! I have already given my heart to You entirely. I wish to be promised to You forever, and I will love You unswervingly my whole life long….” Only as you struggle in that intense suffering do you truly sense how lovely God is, and only then do you realize clearly: I gave my everything to God long ago. After sustaining such a blow, you become much more mature as far as these matters are concerned, and you see that the work of the Holy Spirit at the time was not something that man possessed. In your experiences after this point, you will no longer be constrained in this aspect of entry; it is as if the scars from your old wounds have greatly benefited your entry. Whenever you encounter a situation like this, you will immediately recall the tears you shed that day, as if you have reunited with God after separation, and are in constant fear that your relationship with God might once more be severed and the emotional attachment (proper relationship) between you and God be damaged. This is your work and your entry. Therefore, at the same time that you receive the work of the Holy Spirit, you ought to place even more importance on your entry, seeing exactly what is the work of the Holy Spirit and what is your entry, as well as incorporating the work of the Holy Spirit into your entry, so that you may be perfected by the Holy Spirit in many more ways and so that the substance of the Holy Spirit’s work may be wrought in you. In the course of your experience of the Holy Spirit’s work, you will come to know the Holy Spirit, as well as yourselves, and moreover, in the midst of who knows how many bouts of intense suffering, you will develop a proper relationship with God, and the relationship between you and God will grow closer by the day. After countless instances of pruning and refinement, you will develop a true love for God. That is why you must realize that suffering, smiting, and tribulations are not to be feared; what is frightening is having only the work of the Holy Spirit but not your entry. When the day comes that the work of God is finished, you will have labored for nothing; even though you experienced the work of God, you will not have come to know the Holy Spirit or have had your own entry. The enlightenment that the Holy Spirit works in man is not to sustain the passion of man, but to open a path for the entry of man, as well as to allow man to come to know the Holy Spirit, and from this point develop feelings of reverence and adoration for God.