One Must Experience Judgment, Chastisement and All Sorts of Trials and Refinement to Attain Perfection Through Pursuing the Truth
Someone asked how a heart that loves God can be developed. It is nurtured bit by bit through pursuing the truth. The more truth one understands, the greater one’s love for God. One’s love for God gradually grows in accordance with one’s love for the truth. Now all those who pursue the truth and genuinely know themselves have started to loathe Satan’s poisons, Satan’s disposition and the essence of all sorts of corrupt dispositions, and they feel: “These things that belong to Satan and Satan’s poisons are negative things. They are indeed evil. They are not positive things. They really do cause people to loathe them. How come I have so many of Satan’s poisons? How come I have so many of Satan’s corrupt dispositions?” The result is that they hate themselves more and more, to the extent that their desire to rebel against their flesh grows stronger, they have more strength for putting the truth into practice, they despise Satan’s dispositions and these negative things more, and their love for the truth becomes more true and stronger. In the end, they no longer feel that it is difficult to put the truth into practice. For example, there was someone who would easily judge others. When he watched other people do things, he would nitpick and judge them. He was unable to see that he himself had a lot of corruption. When he judged others, if those that understood the truth saw him do this, they felt disgusted and they loathed him. This person was able to sense this. He hit himself on the face and said, “Why am I judging others again? I should hit myself. I should hit myself on the face two more times. What kind of mouth do I have? Why do I always judge other people? Why do I not know how to judge myself?” When this person reflected on himself regarding his own life and disposition, he found that he was ill-intentioned and that he should not blame his mouth, for his mouth was controlled by his heart. As a result, he began to hate himself. When he saw others make mistakes, he no longer judged them. Instead, he turned his eyes onto himself and reflected upon himself, “Haven’t I done such things before? Haven’t I judged other people in this manner before? Now, what should I do?” He would say some things that edify others, comfort others, help others and benefit others. The result was that, once he put these things into practice, he started treating others with principles and putting the truth into practice, and he grasped how his relationship with others could become normalized and what is the reality of the truth. As he put the truth into practice, the peace and joy he felt inside was quite a lot better than what he had felt when he had revealed the corruption. This is how one grows in life little by little through understanding the truth, accepting the truth, and putting the truth into practice. If you experience God’s work in this way, and you eat and drink God’s word, experience God’s word and put God’s words into practice every day, you will unconsciously see clearly and know your own corrupt essence and also grasp the reality of putting the truth into practice. In the end, you will be able to do things according to principles and you will not violate the truth. Isn’t this entering into reality? As you enter into more realities, that is, as you are able to put more truths into practice, you will feel that, “I have changed quite a lot. In all aspects, I am able to put the truth into practice and I have the principles of practice. I am doing things very properly.” Also, other people will give you a good evaluation. When they look at your behavior and conduct, they cannot see any revealed corruption. They will say that they can see you are a good, honest and upright person, and that when you do things you do them with principles and you do not violate the truth. Isn’t this someone that has the true likeness of a human being? At this moment, what will you be thinking? “Isn’t this the true likeness of a human being? Isn’t this someone that has been saved? After experiencing a few years of God’s work, I can see that I have really changed. I have truly entered into the reality of the truth. Right now, I am at peace, joyous and comforted in the deepest parts of my spirit.” When you are able to endure some suffering in fulfilling your duties, when you attain results from the fulfillment of your duties and when you cause God’s chosen people to especially approve of you, you will feel, “This is all due to God’s grace. God’s love for me is truly great. During these years that I have believed in God, even though I have suffered a lot, I have gained quite a lot. I have gained very abundantly.” At this moment, wouldn’t you love God even more? This is God’s salvation. You cannot rely on yourself to achieve this kind of result. Even if you spent your entire life striving for it, you would not be able to achieve it by yourself. In this world no matter how great your position is, you cannot live out the likeness of a human being, no matter how many books you have read, you cannot live out the likeness of a human being and no matter how knowledgeable you are, you cannot live out the likeness of a human being. In the end, you can clearly see that only by experiencing God’s work can you live out the likeness of a human being, and that only through experiencing God’s work can you obtain the truth, the life and the way. If someone can attain this sort of change—if he can live out the true likeness of a human being and he is principled in what he does and how he behaves and he does not violate the truth in them, isn’t this someone that has obtained the truth? This is someone that has entered into the reality of the truth, obtained the truth, and possessed a new life. He has God’s words as his life. God’s words have become his faith and life. Doesn’t this mean that he has been perfected through God’s words? Can he achieve these results if he has not gone through these many years of eating and drinking God’s words? If you are truly someone that loves the truth, if you can accept dealing and pruning and accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, if you can pray to God, rely on God and in the end stand firm when you encounter trials and refinement, your spiritual stature will gradually grow like sesame in bloom. Can you achieve this without suffering? You must suffer. Right now, what kind of suffering do brothers and sisters endure? Some of them have cast away their family. Some sisters had children that were very young—two years old, three years old, or five years old. They left them behind with their families. They left them at their relatives’ or friends’ house. Some even brought their children to their brothers’ or sisters’ house. They did all this to expend themselves for God. Some went to jail, but they did not care. No matter what kind of suffering or torment they have to endure, they do not leave God. As a result, their life gradually grows. As you have cast aside everything to do with your flesh, your relatives abandon and disparage you, and the world does not welcome you. However, God still loves you and God’s chosen people approve of you. God’s chosen people see you as a confidant. In the end, you will obtain God and the truth. This is enough. You would not exchange it for the entire world. Even if you were offered the position of the president, you would not take it. Obtaining the truth is greater than everything else. Once you obtain the truth, you will live out the genuine likeness of a human being. This is a true human being. If you are a true human being, nobody can take you away and nobody can knock you down. You will stand firm forever. In the very end, you will survive and you will enter the kingdom. In the next age, it is guaranteed that you will be priest serving God. Understood? What do some predictions among the unbelievers say? They say that in the next age, those that love God will rule. Those that have been made complete through God’s work of the last days will rule mankind in the next age. Actually, it is not that they will dominate, but that they will wield the power and lead the human race. Presently, God’s words are being used to perfect this group of people. That is why these people are experiencing a great many various trials and refinements. In the words of unbelievers, you need to go through countless episodes of suffering. After this suffering has ended, you will have been tempered into someone who loves God and into a true human being. Your future blessings will be great. Right now, if you lack the blessings of the flesh, if you have renounced them through undergoing suffering, you are the most blessed of men. All those who enjoy the comforts of the flesh are the stupidest of people. They are short-sighted and in the end, they will forfeit their lives. Now whatever unbelievers may say about you, are you constrained by them? They will say, “He believes in God, and so does not want a family. Now, he does not have a single cent and his family is chaotic. The husband and the wife always argue and the children misbehave. How did he screw up so badly?” Can a demon’s eyes discern spiritual matters? Only those that have truly cast everything away are those that are truly loved by God and those that are truly blessed by God. They are exactly those that God will perfect in the last days. They will be the masters of the human race in the next age. Those that will truly become the masters of all things in the next age are those that will guide the human race and serve God in the next age. Right now, God’s words, all the truths that God expresses, are used to perfect a group of people. God is perfecting a group of people who are of one heart with Him. This group of people will wield power along with God in the next age. Therefore, what is the meaning of enduring suffering presently? “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2Co 4:17). This is the vision for pursuing the truth. Some people said, “I am also willing to pursue the truth.” If you are willing to pursue the truth, are you clear about the vision for pursuing the truth? Why should you pursue the truth? What is the meaning of pursuing the truth? If you are not clear about these things, will you be motivated to pursue the truth? If you encounter some trials and tribulations, will you be able to stand firm? How is it that some people can endure suffering and bear immense pain, pain of near-death, during trials and tribulations? They would rather die than deny God. They would rather die than drift from God. In the end, they stand firm in their testimony. Why does Satan dare not to destroy these people who love God more than their life? What does this indicate? Satan is in the hands of God and it does not dare put to death those that love God. When God subjected Job to trials, what did He say to Satan? “Behold, he is in your hand; but save his life” (Job 2:6). This was a command. That is why there is a boundary when it comes to Satan’s persecution of people. It does not dare cross this boundary. Man must have faith. Have we ever read these kinds of testimonies before? After I finished reading them, I was very moved. I said, “This sister is very amazing, good, strong and she has a heart that really loves God! She was tormented for two years in jail and went through all kinds of torture. In the very end, she stood witness. She made more progress in those two years when she was imprisoned than she would have in ten or twenty years in the church. She gained a lot. That was a crash course for her.” Some people ask, “How quickly can one be perfected by God? How many years is the minimum that it would take?” The quickest way would be to spend a few years in jail. This is very fast. It is better than believing in God for one hundred years while living a comfortable life. In the past, someone who interpreted scripture said that all those who are imprisoned for believing in God and spreading the gospel, after they have been in jail for a few years, they will become overcomers, and in the future they will wield power together with God. Afterward, someone came to Mainland China from abroad. For he heard that people were being imprisoned in Mainland China for believing in God and so, he absolutely had to go to Mainland China so that the great red dragon might capture and imprison him and he would become an overcomer after getting out of prison. We won’t talk about whether what he did was in accordance with God’s will. Instead, notice how great is his will to endure suffering! Is being in prison a simple matter? Is it a trivial matter to be tortured? People might be tortured to death. The great red dragon’s prisons are the prisons of demons. It is basically like handing over a good person to a demon to be persecuted. Demons do not have humanity. The more you are afraid of something, the more they will subject you to it. So, what do you hear when you are in the demons’ prisons? You hear cries of anguish. You do not even hear normal cries. The anguish of torture is unbearable. Yet, some people are able to bear it and they stand firm and humiliate Satan. Isn’t this their testimony? The great red dragon’s persecution and arrest are basically trials and refinement that God has prepared for His chosen people. They are also suffering that God’s chosen people must endure. Those who can endure these trials are those that truly hate the great red dragon. They have truly forsaken the great red dragon, they have truly returned to God and they truly love God. They have these few aspects of testimony, which nobody can deny. They have practical experiences of bearing witness. They are not just playing around. Now, you should know the difference between having reality and having no reality. Trials and tribulations test the sincerity of everyone. This is absolutely true.
Why must man experience all sorts of trials and refinement? Let’s read a few passages of God’s words: “In this stage of work great faith and great love are required of us. We may stumble from the slightest carelessness because this stage of work is different from all the previous ones. What God is perfecting is mankind’s faith—one cannot see or touch it. What God does is convert words to faith, to love, and to life. People must reach a point where they have endured hundreds of refinements and possess faith greater than Job’s. They need to endure incredible suffering and all kinds of torture without departing from God at any time. When they are obedient until the death, and have great faith in God, then this stage of God’s work is complete” (“The Path … (8)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Man lives amid the flesh, which means he lives in a human hell, and without God’s judgment and chastisement, man is as filthy as Satan. How could man be holy? Peter believed that chastisement and judgment by God was man’s best protection and greatest grace. Only through chastisement and judgment by God could man awaken, and hate the flesh, and hate Satan. God’s strict discipline frees man from the influence of Satan, it frees him from his own little world, and allows him to live in the light of God’s presence. There is not better salvation than chastisement and judgment!” “In his life, if man wishes to be cleansed and achieve changes in his disposition, if he wishes to live out a life of meaning, and fulfill his duty as a creature, then he must accept God’s chastisement and judgment, and must not allow God’s discipline and God’s smiting to depart from him, so he can free himself from the manipulation and influence of Satan and live in the light of God. Know that God’s chastisement and judgment is the light, and the light of man’s salvation, and that there is no better blessing, grace or protection for man” (“The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Without being saved by God, and judged and chastised by God, people are unable to escape the influence of death, they cannot become the living. These dead can’t bear testimony to God, nor can they be used by God, much less enter the kingdom” (“Have You Come Alive?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). These few passages explain clearly the significance of why man must experience judgment, chastisement, trials and refinement. After hearing God’s words, you should be somewhat clear about how to walk the path of believing in God. At the very least, you should understand that while believing in God, if you do not suffer, you will be unable to obtain the truth. You must suffer. Some people who believe in God always have a notion that the more they believe in God, the more of God’s grace they should get, and the more blessed and happy their lives should be, and they think that that is what true faith in God means. This is a religious conception. Some people say, “A believer in God must live well to be like a believer. If a believer is not living well, if he does not dress well and if he is poor, doesn’t that bring shame on God? Honoring God involves living well and enjoying life.” Is this correct? This is a fallacy, it is preposterous, and it is decadent. If you maintain these conceptions, your faith is fake, you will obtain nothing and it is the equivalent of not believing. Do you know what it means to honor God? Honoring God is humiliating Satan even while in prison and making Satan accept defeat. Honoring God is putting the truth into practice while fulfilling one’s duties and is leading God’s chosen people into the reality of the truth. Spreading God’s word to every family so that everybody knows about it, this is honoring God. Can you honor God by living well? I view that as bringing shame on God. What do you think about that? You can accept it, yes? You do not cast away everything to follow God, but you desire to receive God’s blessings and enter into His kingdom; this is a delusion! Regardless of which aspect of the reality of the truth you are to enter into, you must suffer in order to attain it. What kind of suffering must you go through? You must endure the suffering of being dealt with and pruned. Regardless of which aspect of the reality of the truth you are to enter into, you must suffer being dealt with and pruned. Is being dealt with and pruned suffering? Accepting the judgment and chastisement of God’s words is also a type of suffering. However, because man’s ability to comprehend is limited and he does not quite understand the truth and does not have practical experiences, therefore, he has not suffered much in regard to God’s word. Comparatively, the suffering from being dealt with and pruned is often greater. Another kind of suffering is that of undergoing trials and refinement. To truly enter into the truth of God’s words and truly live out God’s words, you must suffer the hardships of trials and refinement. The suffering from being dealt with and pruned is the very minimum that you must accept. It is a light form of suffering. When you have experienced a lot of instances of dealing and pruning, you will truly understand God’s words, you will be able to see you truly have no reality, and you will see that what you do is fundamentally not in accordance with the principles, and you are just going through the motions and you are simply deceiving God. At this moment, you will start to hate yourself. You will see your true appearance. You will see yourself as someone who is poor and deserving of pity. Only after this would you be able to enter into the reality of the truth. When someone truly hates themselves, then they will be able to obey God a little and be able to accept dealing and pruning. If someone does not know themselves, as they are full of naturalness and corruption and Satan’s disposition, will they be able to accept dealing and pruning? That is why the first suffering that one must undergo in believing in God is the suffering of being dealt with and pruned. It is also the suffering that one undergoes the most in believing in God. If you experience a great many instances of dealing and pruning, when you have experienced a lot of suffering in this aspect, you will truly be able to know yourself. You will truly see that you are poor, pitiful and blind. You will see that you do not have the reality of the truth and that all you express is but corruption, perfunctoriness, deception, and false appearances. At this time, you will be much better-behaved than before. Whoever says a couple of words to deal with you, offends you a bit or says things that hurt you, you will not be provoked or argue. You will not judge that person nor will you attack them. When your experience reaches this stage, it can be said that you will have had a bit of the likeness of a human being. Have you reached this stage of experience? Will you resist if someone in the church offends you? If someone says something that hurts you, will you talk back? Are you able to be patient and understanding? Only looking at the corruption that other people reveal and not seeing your own corruption and always feeling that you are fine, is this the right way to approach other people? If you have flaws, and other people also have flaws, are you able to just talk about your own flaws and not talk about other people’s flaws? If you are able to enter into the reality of these truths, put them into practice, have true obedience and appropriately treat your brothers and sisters, this can be regarded as living out some likeness of a human being. If you do not argue with your brothers and sisters and if they are able to accept help, then you help them, but when you help them, you are not arrogant and conceited and you do not show off yourself, and instead, you stand on an equal footing with them and tell them about your experiences, telling them of your experiences of failure and falling down in order to enlighten them so that they can benefit from your experience—if you are able to interact with others and treat their weakness and revelation of corruption in this way, everyone will commend you. If you do things in this way, they will naturally be ashamed of what they have done. When you see them reveal their corruption, tell them specifically of how you revealed your corruption and how you came to know your own corruption. When they listen to this, they will say, “What else is there to say? I just revealed my corruption. I know it.” They will understand. Some people do not accept the things that a certain leader does. They insist on being serious with him. When they are serious with this leader, what happens? Since this leader does not have much reality of the truth, he thinks: “You do not accept what I do. You keep on nitpicking what I do. I will now label you as an antichrist or an evil person. You are a disturbance. I will expel you.” The result is that conflict arises in the church. Does this happen often? Is this someone that pursues the truth? If you are a person that truly pursues the truth and you encounter this situation, what should you do? You should seek the truth. How should you seek the truth to resolve this issue? If this leader is not somebody that pursues the truth and he has done something wrong and done something that is contrary to the work arrangements, you should help if you can. You do not need to oppose him. You should help him. If he does not accept it, then leave it at that. If you discover that he is an antichrist but your brothers and sisters are not convinced that he is an antichrist, then wait for a period of time. Wait till the majority of brothers and sisters or those that understand the truth can see clearly that he really is an antichrist. Then, all of you act together to dismiss him. Suppose you are the only person that believes that he is an antichrist or a false leader and the majority of people do not believe so, but you insist on your own views, thinking that darkness wields power in the church, and it’s as if you are unable to live. Is this kind of opinion correct? Even if he is a false leader or an antichrist, can he constrain you from pursuing the truth? Can he restrict you? Can the existence of one antichrist even cause you to deny God? Can he cause you to not pursue the truth? If so, this indicates that you are not someone that pursues the truth. Those that pursue the truth are not constrained by anyone or anything. They do not care if you are a leader, worker or one of God’s chosen people, and they think, “You do not pursue the truth. I must pursue the truth. I am not constrained by you. I can accept what you communicate if it is in accordance with the truth. If it is not in accordance with the truth, I will not accept it. I will obey your arrangements if they are in accordance with the truth. I will not obey them if they violate the truth. If you ask me to do evil, I will never obey.” Is it easy to practice this? Very easy. However, why can you not do it? Because you do not have the truth. Those that do not pursue the truth can never do this. That is why, those who do not pursue the truth can be constrained by anything. It is like someone being unable to eat when they suddenly see a housefly while they are eating. Since they cannot eat, they cannot go to work, earn money and raise their family. Their lives are interrupted by a single housefly and now they are unable to raise their family. What kind of humanity does this person have? Such a trivial matter can affect this person’s conduct and existence. This person’s ability to exist is seriously lacking. He is even inferior to an animal. Animals exist in the environment of the natural world that is very vile. Yet, they live very comfortably. Little birds chirp continuously and all sorts of animals have their own space. Why are you always constrained by other people? If a certain leader has problems, then help him if you can. If he really is a false leader or an antichrist, then think about how you can use the truth to resolve it. Get in touch with other chosen people of God and use reasonable ways and appropriate methods to resolve it, and other people will commend you. This will show that you have the reality of the truth. Is it hard to practice this? Must you fight all day? Do you believe that you have to struggle and fight for power and compete against others as if in an animal world? There is no need to fight in God’s family. Someone said, “He is an antichrist. What should I do? The antichrist holds power in the church.” Does everyone say that he is an antichrist? If this person says it, is it so? It is only so if the majority of people say it. This person says, “I am sharp-eyed. I see it crystal clear.” But everyone else is not sharp-eyed. You must wait. Can you not wait until everyone sees it clearly before you act? Can you not wait a couple of days? Do you need to complain like this? You must be patient and wait. Don’t you know that God has His time for all things? Also, you must pursue the truth and use the truth to discern the situation clearly. You must see each aspect of it clearly and you must see its essence clearly, communicate it clearly with those that understand the truth, and convince everyone else. Can’t you do this before you take any other actions? What is the point of you always fighting? Granting that he is an antichrist or a false leader, is he obstructing people from eating and drinking God’s words in the church life? Is he obstructing the work arrangements from being issued? Is he preventing people from fulfilling their duties according to the work arrangements? If he is not doing any of this, it is quite good. At the very least, he is doing service in some capacity. If there are any issues, use the truth to resolve them. Do not always be complaining and make a big fuss over a small matter. Do things calmly and pursue the truth in a down-to-earth manner. Solve all problems by seeking the truth. In this way, your life will grow as you walk the true way and you will be able to assume and complete God’s commission. In each church, there are very few people that understand the truth now. A portion of people have just started to pursue the truth and they only understand some letters and doctrines. When they encounter some practical problems, they are unable to resolve them. The majority of people’s spiritual stature is too small. This is a fact. Why are your demands for others so high? If you say that this leader is unable to do the work, why don’t you find one that can? Can you? If he can’t do the work, can you? If you can, I will make use of you, and I will ask everyone to elect you, is this fine? A single church has 80 to 100 people, but why can we not find one among them that has true spiritual stature, truly understands the truth and has reality? Can you see through this problem? The human race has been corrupted too deeply. There aren’t even a few truly good people, people with the likeness of a human being or people with humanity. The humanity of the majority of people is not good. The humanity of 99% of people is bad. If someone is not evil, he is already not bad. If there are 100 people in a church, are there even a few whose manifestations are commended by the majority of people? Are there even a few who truly have the likeness of a human being? You cannot find even ten. In fact, it is hard to find five. Should your demands for people be so high? People look like they have the likeness of a human being, but when you interact with the majority of them, you find that you can’t get through to them at all. They are all selfish, despicable, crooked, deceitful and sly. Although their words are pleasant to hear, when they interact with others, they do not speak like a human being. Instead, they make deceptive remarks. Regardless of how knowledgeable they are, they all are so revolting and they are virtually indistinguishable. Therefore, do not have unreasonable demands for others. Weigh others by the lowest of standards and demands and you will be fine. Otherwise, you will always feel unbalanced. Presently, why is the divorce rate so high? People pledge their undying love to one another when they get married. Everyone is willing to love their partner for better or worse, richness or poverty, sickness or health, until they are old. However, what happens in the very end? They end up divorcing in a short time. Why is this? Is it because they were blind when they were choosing their partner and they chose wrongly? Is this the problem? It is because the entire human race has morals like this. Even if you found ten more, you would go through a divorce ten more times. Some people have divorced a couple of times. In the end, they feel it is all the same. They say, “If I had known it was like this, I would not have divorced. It’s about the same. I would just try to get by.” However, why do their wedding vows sound so devout when they get married? It is because they are young and childish, and they cannot see through mankind and they rely on their imagination. What happens after you have experienced for a period of time? After you have had some life experience and you’ve come into contact with many people, you finally see through the essence of the human race. That is why many women say, “There are no more good men left.” Many men say, “There are no more good women left.” In fact, among both men and women, there is not one that is good. The entire human race has been corrupted deeply. What else can you say? God’s words are the truth. There is no need to scold men or women. The entire human race has been corrupted deeply, and nobody has the likeness of a human being. Now you understand this truth from God, right? Everything that God says is the truth. Nobody can deny it. Regardless of how many years of experience you have, in the end, you must acknowledge that these words are the truth. Each sentence of God’s words, after you have finished experiencing them, you have to acknowledge that they are the truth and they will win you over. Why must one experience hundreds of trials before he can be perfected? Why must he experience so many trials? Peter, who was perfected by God, experienced hundreds of trials in seven years. If the total number of trials was 300, that means he went through one trial almost every seven or eight days. What does it mean to go through one trial every seven or eight days? Basically, in seven years, you will be living within trials. Sometimes, just as your heart has gotten rid of the pain of one trial and found some comfort, before you can rest for two days, “Bam,” another trial will come. After seven years of trials, in the end, you will not want anything but God, and you will feel that as long as you have the truth, it is enough, and that you can live without anything else but you cannot live without God. Once you have been refined to this degree, you would have been cleansed and your love for God would be pure. You will no longer be tainted by your own will or any ulterior motives. You will desire nothing but God. You will find chasing after worldly things meaningless. In the end, others would say, “Aren’t you taking a loss by doing this?” You would reply, “What kind of loss have I taken? Having God is enough. The greatest winner is he who has God. The greatest winner is he who has gained the truth. No matter how much of a loss I may have taken, I accept it. I am not after any profit. It is useless for me. I do not long for what men think is good. If I can satisfy God, it is enough.” Does this kind of person still have crafty schemes? Are they still narrow-minded? Are they still always looking for an advantage? Do they still covet vanity and status? They do not want anything. Doesn’t this mean that they have been cleansed? They are pure and they are not affected by anybody or anything. Their dealings with people are based on principles. When they handle problems, it is also based on principles. This is what it means to have the reality of the truth. If you live according to the truth and God’s words, naturally, you will treat others fairly, you will obey God, you will have real love for God and you will be able to satisfy God in fulfilling your duties. To attain these kinds of results, you must go through a lot of suffering and you must endure many trials and a lot of refinement. In the end, you will be able to discern all things. You will see all other things as vanity and as dirt, and will see that only obtaining the truth is valuable, and that only loving God is meaningful. After you have suffered a lot, if you have attained these results, you will have been perfected. Presently, many people do not have the truth and they do not do things according to principles. Their doings are always tainted by their emotions and their own ideas. No matter what they do, they are calculating. There are ulterior motives behind every word they say. They think of crafty schemes in whatever they do. They have all sorts of interlocking strategies when they do things. They try to profit as much as possible with as little effort as possible. They are extremely selfish and despicable. In the end, what will they gain? As they are tainted by such intense emotions and so many of their own ideas, what results will they have? Well, if they sow corruption, isn’t that what they will reap? Are their ulterior motives useful? Are they of value? They have no value and they are meaningless. What is the point of having them? If you have such ulterior motives in doing things, isn’t it lowly? It is lowly, evil and dishonest. Therefore, when you do things, put the truth into practice, do not do them with your ulterior motives or individual goals, only aim to fulfill your duties, do God’s will, and satisfy God, and treat others fairly. This will comfort your heart the most. You will not feel accused and your conscience will not feel guilty. Once your experience reaches this stage, wouldn’t your ulterior motives and other impurities have been reduced a lot? If you do things in a down-to-earth manner, if you do some things for God and make some efforts to do God’s will, your heart will have true peace and joy. If you always have your own ulterior motives and goals, in the end, what will you reap? You will reap retribution, punishment and calamity. This is true. To conduct ourselves, we really need to grasp what is fundamental, right? Look at how unbelievers follow those silly sayings to celebrate New Year. They look so absurd and ignorant. Even those who are learned do the same. No matter how many years they have studied, whether they are scholars or professionals, they still do the same silly things. They are deceiving themselves and other people. Isn’t this the pitifulness of those that have been corrupted by Satan? When you celebrate New Year, do you do those things? Do you put in a coin and make a good-luck dumpling? When you meet others, do you give them those good wishes? If you say those things, do you end up resolving problems? You are hypocritical and you are deceiving others and yourself. Those who do not have the truth can only do silly things. To some ethnic groups, the clothing they wear signifies something. What use is all that? If you do not have the truth, everything is empty and useless for you. That is why you must rely on God’s words to live. That is the truth and by doing so, you can receive God’s blessings. This is the root of all blessings. If you leave God’s words, everything becomes hollow for you. Those superstitious sayings are means by which evil spirits deceive man. They originate from evil spirits and they originate from Satan. They are misconceptions that have deceived man. Some people do not utter a word, but in their hearts, they say, “That is not certain.” If so, hold your view and let’s see what you will get. When the great disasters arrive, let’s see if you will be left alive. If 100 people were predestined to die, even if you want one less to die it won’t happen. God dictates everything. God has the final say. Any sorcery you do is useless. As God has arrived, all evil spirits, of whatever kind they may be, have to abdicate and they are ineffective. As God has arrived, the ruling political power in every country has started to topple. Every regime in every country is collapsing internally. As God has begun to take their power away, nobody can wield power. Man does not have this sort of ability. Why is it that when countries elect presidents, they cannot find a capable person? Not one capable person exists. Nobody has the power. They do not have the ability. God is taking all their power away. God rules everything. So only if you listen to God’s words and do things according to God’s words will you receive God’s blessings. Do you understand this? To return before God is a blessing. That is why today we are gathering here to worship God and eat and drink God’s words, and the farther we walk this path, the brighter it gets. We are truly walking in the light and living in the light. God’s words are the truth. Once you have experienced them for many years, you will believe firmly that each sentence of His words is the truth. As a result, you will treasure God’s words more and more and your heart will love God’s words more and more. Through loving the truth, you will be able to develop a heart that truly loves God. Thus you will be walking the path of being perfected.
Why must man suffer when he pursues the truth? If man does not suffer, would he be able to obtain the truth? With the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment and illumination, man will naturally be able to understand the truth, but why must he go through the suffering of many trials and refinements? What is the reason for this? Do you understand why? Let’s read a few passages of God’s words: “Man’s corrupt disposition stems from his being poisoned and trampled upon by Satan, from the egregious harm that Satan has inflicted upon his thinking, morality, insight, and sense. It is precisely because these fundamental things of man have been corrupted by Satan, and are utterly unlike how God originally created them, that man opposes God and does not understand the truth” (“To Have an Unchanged Disposition Is to Be in Enmity to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “The country that we were born in is the gathering ground of many unclean spirits, and therefore they run rampant and seek dominance in this land. This has led to the sullying of those who were born here. People’s habits, customs, and ideas and concepts are backward and old-fashioned, so they form all sorts of notions about God which so far they have been unable to shake off. In particular, they act one way in front of God and act in another way behind His back, mistaking enshrining Satan for serving God. This is a display of being most backward” (“The Path … (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “The reason that man opposes God stems, on the one hand, from the corrupt disposition of man, and on the other hand, from ignorance of God and lack of understanding of the principles of God’s work and His will toward man. These two aspects merge into a history of man’s resistance to God.” “Those who do not understand the will of God are opponents of God; those who understand the will of God yet do not practice the truth are opponents of God; those who eat and drink the words of God yet go against the substance of God’s words are opponents of God; those who have conceptions of the incarnate God and intentionally rebel are opponents of God; those who judge God are opponents of God; and any who is unable to know God and bear witness to Him is an opponent of God” (“All Who Do Not Know God Are Those Who Oppose God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “After being corrupted by Satan, man became a beast: His thoughts were filled with evil and filth, without good or holiness. Is this not Satan?” (“The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). The last passage states that man became a beast after being corrupted deeply by Satan. A beast is basically Satan and it is basically a demon. After a few years of believing in God, we all have come to understand a fact. If Christ comes to this world, will man be able to testify about Him? Will man be able to support Christ? Will he elect Christ as the president? Now, what will Christ face? First, He will be condemned and forsaken by mankind. Second, He will be hunted and surrounded and pursued by man. There is another fact. When Christ comes, He will inevitably be condemned, resisted, pursued, persecuted and in the very end, nailed to the cross by mankind. Isn’t this a fact? Since the Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross, this fact has been completely verified. If Christ of the last days comes out into the open, this will be the result. Now, has this result occurred yet? Does mankind welcome God’s arrival? Mankind does not welcome God’s arrival. If mankind truly discovers that God has arrived, they will surely try to arrest Him and execute Him. Based on this fact that anyone can verify and nobody can deny, there is one conclusion that can be drawn. What kind of age do we live in? What kind of human race is this? What kind of world is this? Isn’t this an evil and promiscuous age? Isn’t this a dark world? In this kind of evil world, can good people prosper? Can those who pursue the truth prosper? Can those who serve God prosper? That is why we are discriminated against in this world. We are rejected by other people and we have become part of the disadvantaged. Based on this fact, we can see clearly how dark and evil this age is and know what kind of age it is and what kind of tide the tide of this world is in nature. Can people with a brain see through their essence if they analyze them? Some people are never convinced and they say, “The world is not that dark. I think it is quite good. Sometimes it is very reasonable and sometimes it is very fair.” You do not have the truth. If you had the truth, you would be put to death by it. At that time, you would not say that the world is fair. Since you do not have the truth, you belong to the world and it does not want to put you to death. You will have your life. That would be great and fortunate. Is this the case? Every country’s politicians battle with one another. They are all irreconcilable adversaries. The communist regime is full of murders and assassinations. They rack their own brains in regard to protecting themselves. Their security guards relieve many times throughout the day. Nobody knows when they go out. In the past, it has been said that the Jianghu[a] is full of danger. However, this saying is too unilateral. The entire world is this evil. Why is it that man must experience many trials and refinements and suffer much pain before they can obtain perfection? This is determined by man’s corrupt essence. You can see this clearly now, yes? What is a man who has been corrupted by Satan? He is a beast. He is basically a living demon. That is why man must suffer. On the one hand, to suffer means to be subjected to judgment and chastisement. On the other hand, it is to be subjected to punishment. Now, what are the results that can be attained through receiving judgment, chastisement or punishment? It allows you to weigh what is insignificant and what is important when you are suffering. It allows you to distinguish who is God, who is love, who is the devil that corrupts men, who is the enemy, which path you should select and whether you should follow God or surrender to Satan. Without the painful trials, you will still be confused inside, you will not be able to see things clearly and you will not have a choice. Once you encounter trials, you will be forced to make a choice. You will be forced to decide which path to take. You will be forced to choose whether to submit to the great red dragon or to follow God. You must be serious. If you are not serious, it will be serious with you. Therefore, at this moment, you must deeply reflect upon yourself. You must reflect deeply about the path that you will take in the future because death has come for you. Death has come for its debts. If your physical body does not suffer, you will not be capable of deeper thinking. Once your body experiences pressure, once it is struck seriously and once your life is threatened, you must choose. If you were imprisoned, after suffering cruel torture, would you want God or would you accept the great red dragon? This is no laughing matter. Once you say, “I’d rather believe in God,” you would be put on a torture rack. When you suffer various cruel forms of torture, could your body bear it? Before long, you would scream and lose consciousness. Then, they would pour a basin of cold water on you and you would immediately regain consciousness. “Do you want God, or will you submit to the government?” You would not dare utter a sound. If you uttered a sound, you would be put on the torture rack again. When your body suffers, a fight will occur in your heart. This fight will force you to decide. In the end, what will you decide? Do you want to live or do you want to die? If you believe in God, you will die. If you do not believe in God, you will live. What will you decide? Someone who does not love the truth will feel that it is more important to live and that it is better to live a bad life than die. Someone that loves the truth will think, “He who lives without the truth is a beast, so it is better to die. I would rather die and have God.” In this critical moment, a man cannot avoid making a choice. When a man makes a choice at this moment, will the essence of his nature and whether he truly believes in God be revealed? He is unable to hide. That is why great trials reveal men the most. When there are not trials and the test of a life or death situation, if you ask someone, “Would you rather have God or life?” he would answer, “I want God.” Without trials, you cannot be sure if his response is the truth. Using the great red dragon as a foil and mobilizing it to do service is very formidable. This is God being serious with man. You must make a decision. Without physical torture and without torment, man is unable to tell the truth. In the end, what would those who leave prison feel? Some people who have stood witness would be happy and joyful. Some people who have failed would hang their heads dispiritedly. As they have failed, their leaving there would amount to crawling out of a dog’s hole without any dignity. Isn’t this the case? Are big trials good? To those that pursue the truth, they are what they need to go through to be perfected. To those who do not love the truth, they reveal, punish and eliminate them. All of a sudden, true and false believers are revealed clearly and they naturally are categorized according to groups. Without these sorts of trials, is it possible to distinguish true believers from false believers? It is not easy to tell who truly loves God in their heart. People say things that sound very good and their disguises aren’t bad either. Nobody can tell. When they get captured by the great red dragon and tortured, that is when the whole truth is revealed. Is God’s work practical or not? On the path to the kingdom and the path to eternal life, there are checkpoints. The service of the great red dragon is one of the tests and it is very practical. All those who have been persecuted by the great red dragon can see how meaningful it is for God to mobilize the great red dragon to render service. Nobody can deceive God. All sorts of people will be revealed and they must all be subjected to God’s inspection. There is no escape from this. Everyone must get through this ordeal.
Experiencing all sorts of trials and refinements causes our heart to become closer and closer to God. This is because once we encounter trials and suffer physically, we will want to find God, become intimate with God, and rely on God and will be very anxious to throw ourselves into God’s embrace and receive comfort and protection. Therefore, trials and tribulations cause our relationship with God to become even closer. Through trials and tribulations, we are able to experience God’s love and we are able to experience that God is our everything and God is our support and realize that we should love and obey God more than everything else. That is why, through trials, we are able to become perfected. This is the result that can be obtained through experiencing trials, tribulations and refinements. However, only those who pursue the truth will be perfected by God. For those who do not pursue the truth, all these trials and refinements will become these people’s punishment. They will be revealed by these trials and refinements and these trials and refinements will become the instruments that eliminate them. Isn’t this the case? For those who have been perfected, after they went through some instances of trials, they gained knowledge of God, they gained more faith in God, they developed a heart that loves God and their obedience to God became even more resolute and absolute. Doesn’t this mean that they have received some perfection? This means that they have received some perfection. Therefore, after experiencing trials, regardless of how much suffering someone has gone through, as long as they can see that in the end their life has been perfected and they have gained the truth, their suffering will become their greatest comfort. That is why these sorts of trials and refinement will become their wealth and that through which they have borne witness. Ask those who obtained the truth through trials, “Do you regret that you experienced those trials?” They would answer, “I will never regret it. That is one of the riches of my life. Those trials helped me gain some real knowledge of God. Those trials caused my heart to start having love for God. During those trials, God protected me, so I stood witness, I saw through the true face of Satan and I officially started to forsake Satan and truly return to God.” Aren’t trials actually something through which those who pursue the truth can be perfected? Without trials, can man become perfected? There is not one person who has obtained God through believing in God for twenty years or for their lifetime while leading a comfortable and easy life. You cannot find a single person who has done this. An easy and comfortable life cannot perfect a believer in God. In the end, all it can do is cause him to become a parasite. It is the cradle that corrupts mankind. The more easy and comfortable someone’s life is, the more corrupt and evil that person is. Ease and comfort give birth to evil ideas. The more riches and honor someone has, the more promiscuous they become, the more dissatisfied they become and the more their desires grow. That is why an easy and comfortable life is not a good thing. If someone desires ease and comfort, it will harm their life and they will inevitably perish. The more easy and comfortable someone’s life is, the further they are away from God. The more easy and comfortable someone’s life is, the more fragile they are. The more easy and comfortable someone’s life is, the easier it is for them to betray God. Is there any person who pursues the truth who both leads an easy life and has experienced life growth? Not a single person. Weighing whether the life of a believer in God is big or small cannot be based on the person’s family life, whether they are rich or poor and whether they have money. What should you look at? Look at how many trials they have gone through. This is how you should weigh it. If someone has gone through more trials and suffered more, it is guaranteed that their spiritual stature is likewise greater. The greater amounts of pressure they can handle and the greater amounts of blows they can withstand, the greater their spiritual stature. This is an accurate way of looking at this issue. There is a limit to how much pressure someone can withstand. The amounts of pressure that someone can withstand indicate their actual stature. Some people are unable to deal with even small amounts of suffering. If they are asked to be apart from their husband (wife) for a few days, they cannot stand the situation and say, “This is not good. I cannot fulfill this duty. I cannot leave my family. My children do not have anyone to take care of them. My husband does not have anyone to serve him. If I really leave, my family will be in ruins and my husband will surely divorce me.” You have not obtained God, but you have definitely obtained your husband. If you have obtained your husband but you have not obtained God, what does this signify? Does this not mean that you will suffer destruction? You will not be saved and you will absolutely not enter into the kingdom. Other people have obtained God and thus obtained the truth and they are holding a great treasure in their arms. If you cling to your husband, what is this the equivalent of? This is the equivalent of clinging to a coffin. It is as if you are clinging to a tomb. Even though these are unpleasant things to listen to, they are realistic. They are not elegant but they are true, right? Presently, the great red dragon’s pursuit and persecution have given rise to all sorts of trials and refinement. If you pursue the truth in this crucial moment and have the will to suffer, and regardless of what kinds of trials and refinement you encounter and regardless of how great the suffering is, you are still able to obey God with determination and stand on God’s side, then you will be perfected. After you have been perfected, you will be greatly blessed. In the next age, you will serve God and you will rule together with God on earth. God will personally anoint you. Wouldn’t you say that your life has true meaning? Living in that way is meaningful and dignified and it means you are someone who serves God. Right now, there are many of God’s chosen people that have stood witness. When I read the articles about their testimonies, I can see that these are really people that love God. Some are only 18 or 19 years or 20 years old, yet they have borne witness, they hate the great red dragon and they truly love God with all their hearts. Aren’t these the targets of God’s perfection? These people are able to bear this kind of witness even now. If they are able to continue and experience until they reach my age, they will be better than me. They haven’t believed in God for very long, but they are better educated than I and their caliber is not worse than mine. Perhaps it is even better. If these people have a few more years of experience, their life will grow even faster. Within a few years, they will be witnesses of God. When I see these people grow in life, my heart is happy. Isn’t becoming one of God’s witnesses the most honorable matter? For one of God’s creations, it can be said to be the highest honor. This is equivalent to being an angel. You are one of God’s emissaries serving God on earth. This is very honorable. This corrupt human race has been corrupted to the degree that there is nobody with the likeness of a human being. God’s love and salvation are so great and He has suffered greatly in order to perfect this human race that has been corrupted so deeply. In the end, He will give man such a great honor. How great would you say is God’s love? Man will never be able to fully comprehend God’s love. It is too great. Man cannot understand it thoroughly. There is no way for man to describe it. That is why God asks man to love Him. God is very qualified to ask man to love Him because the love He has given man is very great. He is willing to sacrifice His life for mankind. Is man willing to sacrifice his own life for God? Even when he suffers a little bit, he complains. How then would he sacrifice his own life? What kind of spiritual stature does man have? Does he have a conscience and sense? You should pursue the truth and seek to become perfected. When you fully understand God’s love, know clearly all the suffering we are presently going through and the meaning of that suffering, and have the vision, you will have strength. If you are able to disregard your life in order not to bring shame on God and you are able to disregard your life in order to bear witness to God and honor God, then you will definitely be perfected by God. A heart that loves God is very precious. If your heart is able to love God, it is very precious and it indicates that you have a human being’s heart. If someone’s heart can never love God, that person is lowly, does not have humanity, is not worthy to be mentioned and is not worthy to be called a human being. If when God has given you such a great love you are still unable to love God, what kind of person are you? You do not have a conscience and you are unable to appreciate God’s kindness. You should be able to endure any suffering for God. Leaving your husband or wife, abandoning those that do not believe and wholeheartedly following and serving God, is this even suffering? Is it that hard to get rid of your physical lust? Afterward, serve God and fulfill your duties properly. Can you do this? Having the will to do so is the most crucial thing. What are the greatest obstacles in regard to fulfilling duties? Emotions, vanity, and fear of suffering, fear of torture, that is, fear of death. Emotions, vanity, desire for status and fear of death, if you are able to resolve these few things, there will be no problem standing witness. For example, there is a tiger right in front of you. Someone asks you, “Do you dare wrestle with it?” “I do not dare to do that.” “Why not?” “I can’t beat it.” Not being able to beat, it is not the fundamental reason. The fundamental reason why you do not dare to wrestle with it is because you are afraid of death. If you are not afraid of death, you would fight to the death with the tiger. If you cannot beat it, all that would happen is that you would die. Then, you will not be afraid to wrestle with the tiger, right? The key point is this fear of death. This is the root of the problem. If you are not afraid of death, wouldn’t all the problems be resolved? God has also said that man must cross the barrier of death. If he can do so, there is nothing that can knock him down. Not fearing death is tremendous. If you do not encounter trouble, you should not look for trouble. Don’t bring trouble on yourself. If you really encounter trouble, you should not be afraid of getting into trouble or be afraid of death. Instead, you should stick it out. This is amazing. Right now, do you think I am famous? I am well known, even if I did not want to be. The great red dragon continuously disseminates propaganda about me. The religious world continuously disseminates propaganda about me. They have disseminated it to this degree. Should I be scared of the great red dragon? There is no need to be afraid of it. Even if everybody in the world opposes you, there is nothing to be afraid of. I am not afraid. I am pretty much not constrained by this at all. I serve God the same as before. I am not negative at all. What kind of mentality do I have? I despise wickedness. I am not afraid of Satan’s forces. Even if every person in the world banded together to oppose me, I would not be afraid. If they debated me, I would use the truth to refute them. I would have no fear whatsoever. Do you want to be famous? If so, pursue the truth earnestly, seek to be used by the Holy Spirit and seek to be perfected by God. Are you afraid of becoming famous? After you become famous, if the religious world says that you are the head of an evil cult, would you be afraid? If the great red dragon claims that you are the ring leader of an evil cult, would you be afraid? Sometimes, being famous means that you will encounter death or threats at any time. You do not need to be afraid of this. If you have true faith, it will be fine. Everything is in God’s hands. This is the truth. The more you pursue the truth, the more God will bless you. The more He blesses you, the more trials you will experience and the result is that you will be perfected. Therefore, it is a must that you will encounter suffering. You cannot avoid it. If you pursue the truth to a certain degree and all the unbelievers in your family die, will you be able to handle this suffering? You should calmly approach it, laugh it off and afterward serve and follow God. You will no longer be controlled by any entanglements and you will be relaxed and cheerful. This is a good thing. In the future, you will encounter such disasters and the trials each one of you will face will be great. Remember, you will have to experience what I have experienced or encountered before. You will also have to experience the suffering that God has gone through. After you finish experiencing this, you will be perfected and God’s work will be finished. Unbelievers have this saying, “There is no banquet without ending.” Every one of us is here because we believe in God. We all believe in Almighty God, we all pursue the truth and we all seek to be perfected, but some of us truly believe in Him, and some do not. That is why, after ten years or twenty years, some people will have left, some people will have died, some people will have been revealed to not have the reality of the truth, and some people will have entered into the reality of the truth. It is as if they have been sifted in a sieve. Everyone must experience this. Of the people that I knew well when I first started believing in God, only a small minority pursue the truth. The majority of people that I knew do not pursue the truth. Some of them have died. This means that they have been separated into their respective group. Of the people around you right now in your church, within five years, some will have passed away, some will no longer be there, and some will have shown their true colors and been eliminated. They will go their separate ways. There is no banquet without ending. In the very end, those that pursue the truth will stand firm and will have been truly obtained by God. This is a small minority of people. At most it would be one in every three people. Not all the churches will have been like this. Some churches will only have a few. In fact, one in three is difficult to attain. It would already be pretty good if the ratio was one in ten. Good churches will achieve a ratio of one in three. Some churches will not even be able to achieve a ratio of one in ten. There are some churches where there won’t even be a single person amongst a few dozen that truly pursues the truth. It’s over for them. Isn’t this the fact? Therefore, those that pursue the truth, even if three years, five years or ten years pass, they will still be in the church. For those who do not pursue the truth, some of them will die off, some will show their true colors and be eliminated, some will be expelled, some will be abandoned and some will continue to follow half-heartedly. This is the fact. People who do not have the truth cannot stand firm. Right now, there are many people who, after encountering the great red dragon’s persecution, have toppled. However, of these people that have fallen, some truly believe in God. They are weak and they are negative, yet their humanity is good and they quite love the truth. Although they are weak and negative now, they will definitely be able to stand up and nobody will be able to topple them over ultimately. They may fall ten times, yet they will get back up each time. As for those whose heart does not love the truth and whose humanity is not good, I’m afraid that they will never get back up after they have fallen down this time. This is the fact. That is why experiencing great trials is very meaningful. You will be able to see God’s deeds and you will see each category of man revealed. Some will be sad and feel: “What a pity! This person is very good. Why did he fall?” There is no need to feel pity for him. This was all predetermined by God. Do not look at the external appearance. Men are unable to see through other men. During great trials, some people fall once or twice but in the end, they stand firm. There are people like this. Some stand firm right from the beginning. Afterward, due to some other matters, they fall. That is why, when those that truly love the truth and pursue the truth experience all the way until the very end, they will definitely be able to stand firm. Regardless of how many times they may fail or fall down, in the end, they will be able to stand firm. This is for certain.
a. The Jianghu refers to the world where people of martial arts fought and struggled in the past.