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How to Know God’s Disposition and the Result of His Work
To Not Fear God and Shun Evil Is to Oppose God
Let’s begin by addressing where this saying “fear God and shun evil” came from. (The Book of Job.) Now that you’ve mentioned Job, let’s discuss him. In Job’s time, was God working for the conquest and salvation of man? He wasn’t, was He? And so far as Job was concerned, how much knowledge did he have of God at the time? (Not a lot of knowledge.) And how did that knowledge of God compare to the knowledge you have right now? How can it be that you don’t dare answer this? Was Job’s knowledge more or less than the knowledge you have right now? (Less.) This is a very easy question to answer. Less! This is certain! You are now face-to-face with God, and face-to-face with God’s word. Your knowledge of God is much more than Job’s. Why do I bring this up? Why do I speak like this? I’d like to explain a fact to you, but before I do, I want to ask you a question: Job knew very little of God, yet he could fear God and shun evil. So why is it that people these days fail to do so? (Deep corruption.) “Deep corruption”—that’s the surface of the question, but I’ll never view it like that. You often take doctrines and letters that you commonly speak of, like “deep corruption,” “rebelling against God,” “disloyalty toward God,” “disobedience,” “not liking the truth,” and you use these catch phrases to explain the essence of every single question. This is a flawed way of practicing. Using the same answer to explain questions with differing natures inevitably raises suspicions of blaspheming the truth and God. I don’t like hearing this kind of answer. Think about it! None of you have thought about this matter, but every single day I can see it, and every single day I can feel it. Thus, you are doing, and I am watching. When you are doing it, you can’t feel the essence of this matter. But when I see it, I can see its essence, and I can feel its essence as well. So what is this essence then? Why can’t people these days fear God and shun evil? Your answers are quite a ways from being able to explain the essence of this question, and they can’t solve the essence of this question. That’s because there’s a source here that you don’t know about. What is this source? I know you want to hear about it, so I’ll tell you about the source of this question.
At the very beginning of God’s work, what did He regard man as? God rescued man; He regarded man as a member of His family, as the target of His work, as that which He wanted to conquer, to save, and as that which He wanted to perfect. This was God’s attitude toward man at the outset of His work. But what was man’s attitude toward God at that time? God was strange to man, and man regarded God as a stranger. It could be said that man’s attitude toward God was incorrect, and man wasn’t clear on how he should treat God. So he treated Him however he liked, and did whatever he liked. Did man have a viewpoint on God? In the beginning, man did not have any viewpoint on God. Man’s so-called viewpoint was just some conceptions and imaginings concerning God. That which conformed to people’s conceptions was accepted; that which did not conform was obeyed on the surface, but in their hearts people strongly clashed with and opposed it. This was man and God’s relationship in the beginning: God viewed man as a family member, yet man treated God as a stranger. But after a period of God’s work, man came to understand what God was trying to achieve. People came to know that God was the true God, and they came to know what man could obtain from God. What did man regard God as at this time? Man regarded God as a lifeline, hoping to obtain grace, obtain blessings, obtain promises. And what did God regard man as at this juncture? God regarded man as the target of His conquest. God wanted to use words to judge man, to test man, to give man trials. But as far as mankind was concerned at this point in time, God was an object that he could use to achieve his own goals. People saw that the truth issued by God could conquer and save them, and that they had an opportunity to obtain the things they wanted from God, the destination that they wanted. Because of this, a tiny bit of sincerity formed in their hearts, and they were willing to follow this God. Some time passed, and people had some superficial and doctrinal knowledge of God. It could be said that they were getting more and more “familiar” with God. With the word spoken by God, His preaching, the truth He had issued forth, and His work—people were more and more “familiar.” So, people mistakenly thought that God was no longer strange, and that they were already walking the path of compatibility with God. Up until now, people have listened to a lot of sermons on the truth, and have experienced a lot of God’s work. Yet under the interferences and obstructions of many different factors and circumstances, most people can’t attain putting truth into practice, and can’t attain satisfying God. People are increasingly slack, increasingly lacking in confidence. They increasingly feel like their own outcome is an unknown. They don’t dare have any extravagant ideas, and don’t seek to make any progress; they just reluctantly follow along, going forward step-by-step. With regard to the present state of man, what is God’s attitude toward man? God’s only desire is to give these truths to man, and imbue His way unto man, and then arrange various circumstances in order to test man in different ways. His goal is to take these words, these truths, and His work, and bring about an outcome where man can fear God and shun evil. Most people I’ve seen just take God’s word and regard it as doctrines, regard it as letters, regard it as regulations to be observed. When they go about things and speak, or face trials, they don’t regard God’s way as the way that they should observe. This is especially true when people are faced with major trials; I have not seen anyone who was practicing in the direction of fearing God and shunning evil. Because of this, God’s attitude toward man is full of extreme loathing and aversion. After God has repeatedly given trials to people, even hundreds of times, they still don’t have any clear attitude to demonstrate their determination—I want to fear God and shun evil! Since people don’t have this determination, and they don’t make this kind of display, God’s present attitude toward them is no longer the same as in the past, when He extended mercy, extended tolerance, extended forbearance and patience. Instead, He is extremely disappointed in man. Who caused this disappointment? The kind of attitude God has toward man, who does this depend on? It depends on every person who follows God. During the course of His many years of work, God has made many demands of man, and arranged many circumstances for man. But no matter how man has performed, and no matter what man’s attitude toward God is, man cannot practice in clear accordance to the goal of fearing God and shunning evil. Thus, I’ll sum it up in one saying, and use this saying to explain everything we just spoke of on why people cannot walk in God’s way—fear God and shun evil. What is this saying? This saying is: God regards man as the object of His salvation, the object of His work; man regards God as his enemy, as his antithesis. Are you clear on this matter now? What man’s attitude is; what God’s attitude is; what the relationship between man and God is—these are all very clear. No matter how much preaching you’ve listened to, those things that you’ve summed up for yourselves—like being faithful to God, obeying God, seeking the way of compatibility with God, wanting to spend a lifetime for God, living for God—to Me those things aren’t consciously walking in God’s way, which is fearing God and shunning evil. Instead, they’re channels through which you can attain certain goals. To achieve these goals, you reluctantly observe some regulations. And it’s precisely these regulations that take people even further from the way of fearing God and shunning evil, and place God in opposition to man once more.
The question we are discussing today is a little heavy, but no matter what, I still hope that when you go through the experiences to come, and the times to come, you can do what I’ve just told you. Don’t neglect God and regard Him as empty air, feeling like He exists at times when He is of use to you, but when He is of no use feeling like He does not exist. When you subconsciously hold this kind of understanding, you have already infuriated God. Perhaps there are people who say: “I don’t regard God as empty air, I always, I always satisfy God, and everything I do falls within the scope and standard and principles demanded by God. I’m definitely not proceeding according to my own ideas.” Yes, the manner in which you’re going about things is correct. But how do you think when you come face-to-face with a matter? How do you practice when you’re faced with a matter? Some people feel that God exists when they pray to Him, and appeal to Him. But when faced with a matter, they come up with their own ideas and want to abide by them. This regards God as empty air. This type of situation renders God non-existent. People think that God should exist when they need Him, and when they don’t need God He shouldn’t exist. People think that going by their own ideas to practice is enough. They believe they can do things however it pleases them. They simply think they don’t need to seek out God’s way. People who are currently in this kind of condition, this kind of state—are they not at the edge of danger? Some people say: “Regardless of whether I am on the edge of danger or not, I have believed for so many years, and I believe that God won’t abandon me because He couldn’t bear to abandon me.” Other people say: “Even from the time I was in my mother’s womb, I believed in the Lord, all the way up until now, forty or fifty years in all. In terms of time, I’m most qualified to be saved by God; I am most qualified to survive. Over this period of four or five decades, I abandoned my family and my job. I gave up all that I had, like money, status, enjoyment and family time; I have not eaten many delicious foods; I have not enjoyed many amusing things; I have not visited many interesting places; I have even experienced suffering that ordinary people couldn’t endure. If God can’t save me because of all this, then I am being treated unjustly and I can’t believe in this type of God.” Are there a lot of people with this kind of view? (There are a lot of them.) Then today I’ll help you understand a fact: Each and every one of those who hold this kind of view are shooting themselves in the foot. This is because they’re using their own imaginations to cover their eyes. It is precisely their imaginations, and their own conclusions that replace the standard of what God demands of man, holding them back from accepting God’s true intentions, making it so they cannot feel God’s true existence, and making them lose their opportunity to be perfected by God and have no part or share in God’s promise.
How God Establishes Man’s Outcome and the Standard by Which He Establishes Man’s Outcome
Before you have any of your own views or conclusions, you should first understand God’s attitude toward you, what God is thinking, and then decide whether or not your own thinking is correct. God has never used units of time to establish a person’s outcome, and He has never used the amount of suffering endured by someone to establish their outcome. Then what does God use as a standard for establishing man’s outcome? Using time units to establish a person’s outcome—this is what most conforms to people’s conceptions. And there are also those individuals who you often see, those who at one point devoted a lot, spent a lot, paid a lot, suffered a lot. These are ones who, in your views, can be saved by God. All that these people show, all that they live out, is precisely mankind’s conception of the standard by which God establishes the outcome of man. Regardless of what you believe, I won’t list out these examples one by one. Generally speaking, so long as it isn’t the standard of God’s own thinking, then it comes from man’s imagination, and it’s all man’s conception. What’s the consequence of blindly insisting on your own conception and imagination? Obviously, the consequence can only be God spurning you. This is because you always flaunt your qualifications before God, compete with God, and dispute with God, and you do not try to truly comprehend God’s thinking, nor do you try to comprehend God’s intentions and God’s attitude toward humanity. Proceeding like this is honoring yourself above all, not honoring God. You believe in yourself; you don’t believe in God. God doesn’t want this type of person, and God won’t save this type of person. If you can let go of this kind of viewpoint, and then rectify these incorrect viewpoints of the past; if you could proceed according to God’s demands; start practicing the way of fearing God and shunning evil from this point forward; manage to honor God as great in all things; don’t use your own personal fancies, viewpoints, or beliefs to define yourself, define God. And instead, you seek out God’s intentions in all respects, you achieve a realization and understanding of God’s attitude toward humanity, and you use God’s standard to satisfy God—that would be wonderful! This would mean you are about to embark on the way of fearing God and shunning evil.
Since God doesn’t use how people think this way or that way, their ideas and viewpoints, as a standard to establish the outcome of man, then what kind of standard does He use? God uses trials to establish the outcome of man. There are two standards for using trials to establish man’s outcome: The first is the number of trials that people undergo, and the second is the people’s result in these trials. It is these two indicators that establish man’s outcome. Now we will elaborate on these two standards.
First of all, when you are faced with a trial from God (note: It’s possible that in your eyes this trial is a small one and isn’t worth mentioning), God will make you distinctly aware that this is the hand of God upon you, and that it is God who has arranged this circumstance for you. When your stature is immature, God will arrange trials in order to test you. These trials will correspond to your stature, that which you’re able to understand, and that which you’re able to withstand. Test what part of you? Test your attitude toward God. Is this attitude very important? Of course it’s important! Moreover, it’s especially important! Because this attitude of man is the result God wants, it is the most important thing as far as God is concerned. Otherwise God wouldn’t spend His efforts on people by engaging in these kinds of work. God wants to see your attitude toward Him by way of these trials; He wants to see whether or not you are on the right path; and He wants to see whether or not you are fearing God and shunning evil. Therefore, regardless of whether you understand a lot or a little of the truth at that particular time, you will still be faced with God’s trial, and following any increase in the amount of truth you understand, God will continue to arrange corresponding trials for you. When you are once again faced with a trial, God wants to see whether your viewpoint, your ideas, and your attitude toward God have had any growth in the meantime. Some people say: “Why does God always want to see people’s attitudes? Hasn’t God seen how they put truth into practice? Why would He still want to see people’s attitudes?” This is mindless drivel! Since God proceeds like this, then God’s intentions must lie therein. God always observes people from their side, watching their every word and deed, their every act and movement, even their every thought and idea. Everything that happens to people: their good deeds, their faults, their transgressions, and even their rebellions and betrayals, God will record it all as evidence in establishing their outcome. As God’s work builds up step-by-step, you hear more and more truth, you accept more and more positive things, positive information, and the reality of the truth. Over the course of this process, God’s requirements of you will also increase. At the same time, God will arrange heavier trials for you. His goal is to examine whether your attitude toward God has matured in the meantime. Of course, during this time, the viewpoint God demands of you conforms to your understanding of the reality of the truth.
As your stature gradually builds up, the standard God demands of you will also gradually build up. When you’re immature, God will give you a very low standard; when your stature is a little bigger, God will give you a little higher of a standard. But what will God be like after you understand all of the truth? God will have you face even bigger trials. Amid these trials, what God wants to obtain, what God wants to see, is your deeper knowledge of God and your true fear. At this time, God’s demands of you will be higher and “harsher” than when your stature was more immature (note: People view it as harsh, but God actually views it as reasonable). When God is giving trials to people, what kind of reality does God want to create? God is constantly asking that people give Him their heart. Some people will say: “How does one give that? I do my duty, I abandoned my home and livelihood, I spent for God. Are these not all examples of giving my heart to God? How else could I give my heart to God? Could it be that these aren’t examples of giving my heart to God? What is God’s specific requirement?” This requirement is very simple. In fact, there are some people who have already given their heart to God in varying degrees at various stages of their trials. But the vast majority of people never give their heart to God. When God gives you a trial, God sees whether your heart is with God, with the flesh, or with Satan. When God gives you a trial, God sees whether you are standing in opposition to God or whether you are standing in a position that is compatible with Him, and He sees whether your heart is on the same side as Him. When you are immature and facing trials, your confidence is very low, and you can’t know exactly what it is you need to do in order to satisfy God’s intentions because you have a limited understanding of the truth. Despite all this, you can still genuinely and sincerely pray to God, be willing to give your heart to God, make God your sovereign, and be willing to offer unto God those things that you believe to be most precious. This is what it is to have already given your heart to God. As you listen to more and more preaching, and you understand more and more truth, your stature will also gradually mature. The standard which God demands of you at this time is not the same as that when you were immature; He demands a higher standard than that. When man’s heart is gradually given to God, it is getting closer and closer to God; when man can truly get near to God, they increasingly have a heart that fears Him. God wants this kind of heart.
When God wants to obtain someone’s heart, He will give them numerous trials. During these trials, if God does not obtain this person’s heart, nor does He see that this person has any attitude—that is to say He doesn’t see that this person goes about things or behaves in a way that fears God, and He doesn’t see an attitude and resolution that shuns evil from this person. If this is how it is, then after numerous trials, God’s patience toward this individual will be withdrawn, and He will not tolerate this person anymore. He will no longer give trials to them, and He will no longer work on them. Then what does that mean this person’s outcome is? It means that they will have no outcome. It’s possible that this person has done no evil. It’s also possible that they have done nothing to disrupt or disturb. It’s also possible they have not openly resisted God. However, this person’s heart is hidden from God. They have never had a clear attitude and viewpoint toward God, and God cannot clearly see that their heart has been given to Him, and He can’t clearly see that this person is seeking to fear God and shun evil. God no longer has patience for these people, He will no longer pay any price, He will no longer extend mercy, and He will no longer work on them. The life of this person’s belief in God is already over. This is because in all of the many trials that God has given this person, God has not obtained the result He wants. Thus, there are a number of people in whom I have never seen the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit. How is it possible to see this? This kind of person might have believed in God for many years, and on the surface they have been very active. They have read many books, handled many affairs, made a lot of notes, and mastered a lot of letters and doctrines. However, there is never any visible growth, and never any visible viewpoint toward God from this person, nor is there any clear attitude. That is to say that you cannot see this person’s heart. Their heart is always wrapped up, their heart is sealed—it’s sealed to God, so God has not seen this person’s true heart, He has not seen this person’s true fear toward God, and even more, He has not seen how this person walks in God’s way. If up until now God has not gained this type of person, can He gain them in the future? He can’t! Will God keep pushing for things that cannot be obtained? He won’t! What is God’s current attitude toward these people, then? (He spurns them, He doesn’t heed them.) He doesn’t heed them! God doesn’t heed this kind of person; He spurns them. You have memorized these words very quickly, very accurately. It seems like you have understood what you’ve heard!
There are some people who, at the outset of following God, are immature and ignorant; they don’t understand God’s intentions; they also don’t know what it is to believe in God, adopting a man-made and mistaken way of believing in God, following God. When this kind of person is faced with a trial, they aren’t aware of it, and are numb to the guidance and enlightenment of God. They don’t know what it is to give their heart to God, and what it is to stand firm during a trial. God will give this person a limited amount of time, and during this time, He will let them understand what God’s trial is, what God’s intentions are. Afterward, this person needs to display their viewpoint. Regarding those people who are at this stage, God is still waiting. Regarding those people whose viewpoints are still wavering back and forth, who want to give their heart to God but are not reconciled to doing so, who, although they have put some basic truths into practice, when faced with a major trial, they shirk it and want to give up—what is God’s attitude toward these people? God still has a little bit of expectation toward these people. The result depends on their attitudes and performances. How does God respond if people aren’t active to make progress? He gives up. This is because before God gives up on you, you already gave up on yourself. Thus, you can’t blame God for doing so, can you? Is this fair? (It’s fair.)
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