If today you pursue to love and know God, you not only need to undergo suffering and refining but also need to pay a price. Loving God is the most profound lesson. It can be said that the lesson people need to learn over the course of their lives to believe in God is loving God. This is to say, since you believe in God you must love God. If you only believe in God but don’t love God, fail to know God, or never love God with a heartfelt, true love, your belief in God will be in vain. If you believe in God but don’t love God, your life will be in vain and be the basest of lives. What meaning does your life have if you never love or satisfy God during your life? What meaning does your belief in God have? Won’t it be in vain? That is to say, to believe in and love God, people need to pay a price. This price is paid not through external actions, but rather by having true sight in the deepest parts of the heart. If you sing hymns or dance with great energy, but are lacking in your practice of the truth, is this loving God? To love God you must seek God’s purpose in everything. You must reach deep within every problem you encounter to seek God’s purpose, discover what God’s purpose is in this matter, what He requires you to do, and how you can care for His purpose. For example, if you encounter a problem that requires you to suffer, you should understand what God’s purpose is and how you can care for God’s purpose, and you mustn’t seek to satisfy yourself, but rather should first put yourself aside. The flesh is most mean, and you must try to satisfy God and fulfill your duty. When you think in this way, God will provide you with special inspiration in this matter, and your heart will be comforted. When you encounter a problem, no matter how big or small it is, put yourself aside and view the flesh as the lowest thing. If you give the flesh an inch, it will take a mile; if you satisfy it this time, it will make demands of you the next time as well. Always acting in this way, you will eventually love your own flesh more than ever. The flesh is always full of extravagant desires, and calls for you to satisfy it and allow it to enjoy, eating, dressing, expressing anger, caring for its weakness, or engaging in idleness…. The more you satisfy the flesh, the greater its desire grows, and the more wild it becomes. This will continue until a point is reached where your flesh harbors deeper notions, rebels against God, exalts itself, and even doubts God’s work. The more you satisfy the flesh, the weaker it becomes, so that you always feel no one has sympathy on your weakness and that God really is too excessive in His demands. You’ll even say: “How can God be so strict? Why can’t He be less demanding of people?” If people satisfy the flesh excessively, and love the flesh too dearly, they will ruin themselves. If you truly love God and don’t satisfy the flesh, you’ll see that everything God does is most reasonable and most good. Cursing your rebelliousness and judging your unrighteousness is something that should be done. When God at times chastens and disciplines you or brings on conditions to temper you and force you in front of Him, you’ll always feel that everything God does is amazing. Thus you’ll feel as if you haven’t suffered much, and feel that God is most loveable. If you care for the weakness of the flesh, and say that God is too harsh with you, then you’ll always feel that you’re in the midst of suffering and sadness. Moreover, you’ll be unable to see clearly all the work God does. You’ll feel that it seems as if God doesn’t sympathize with the weakness of man nor know about man’s difficulties. You’ll always feel that you’re lonely and helpless, as if you had been greatly wronged, and complaints will begin to flow out of you. The more you care for the weaknesses of the flesh like this, the more you’ll feel that God is too demanding. In the end, things will reach a point where you’ll deny God’s work, begin to oppose God, and all inside of you will be filled with rebellion. This is why you must betray the flesh and never care for it: Your husband, wife, children, future, marriage and family are all out of your consideration! “My heart has only God, and I must satisfy God, not the flesh, to the best of my abilities.” You must have this resolution. With this, when you practice the truth and put yourself aside, all you’ll need is a bit of effort to achieve it. It’s said that a long time ago there was a farmer who saw a snake frozen on the roadside. The farmer picked up the snake and put it in his bosom, but after the snake woke up, it bit and killed the farmer. The flesh of man is like the snake. It’s intrinsically harmful to man’s life. Your life will be cut short once your flesh has obtained what it wants. The flesh is of Satan, and inside it always has extravagant desires, thinks only of itself, and desires for enjoyment, ease and comfort, wallowing in sloth and idleness. Once you reach a certain point in your satisfaction of the flesh, it will eventually swallow you whole. This is to say that if you satisfy it once, it will want you to satisfy it again the next time. The flesh is perpetually full of extravagant desires, and has ever-new requirements. It can use the occasions you care for it to make you treasure it even more and live in fleshly comfort and ease. If you never overcome it, you’ll ruin yourself in the end. Whether or not you’ll be able to gain life before God and what your final outcome will be depends on how you practice betraying the flesh. God has saved you, and chosen and predestined you, but now if you’re not willing to satisfy God or practice the truth, if you’re not willing to betray your own flesh with a heart of truly loving God, you’ll ruin yourself in the end, and will undergo extreme suffering. If you always care for the flesh, Satan will slowly swallow what is inside of you, and you’ll have neither life nor the Spirit’s moving. This will continue until one day all is thoroughly dark within you. When you live in the darkness, then Satan will take you away, and you will lose God forever. At such a time you’ll deny God’s existence and thereby leave God. Therefore, if you want to love God, you must pay a hard price and you must suffer. Rather than exhibit external zeal or go through external hardships, reading more or running more, you must be able to forsake the things within yourself such as extravagant ideas, individual interests, your own plans, notions and intentions. Only this is God’s will.
God’s handling of people’s external disposition is also a part of His work, for example, handling people’s abnormal external humanity, ways of living and living habits, customs, external actions, and zeal. However, requiring people to practice the truth to change their disposition, He primarily deals with their inner intentions and notions. It is easy for you to tackle your external disposition. For example, things such as not partaking in good food you enjoy are easy to do. However, internal notions are not so easy to let go of. This requires betraying the flesh, and requires you to pay a price, and suffer before God. This is especially true of people’s intentions. From the time when they begin believing in God onwards, people hold many wrong intentions. When you don’t practice the truth, you feel your own intentions are always correct, but when problems arise you see that you’re holding many wrong intentions inside of you. Therefore, when God perfects people, He makes people realize that they are holding onto many notions inside of them that prevent them from knowing God. Once you realize your own intentions are incorrect, if you don’t follow your own notions and intentions, and can bear witness to God and hold firm in every matter, this proves that you have betrayed the flesh. When you betray the flesh, a battle will invariably begin within you. Satan wants you to follow it, and wants you to obey the notions of the flesh and protect the interests of the flesh. However, God’s word inspires and enlightens you within, and so when you reach this point, all depends on whether you follow God or follow Satan. When God asks people to practice the truth, this is primarily to deal with the things inside of people, their ideas, and their notions that do not comply with God’s purposes. The Holy Spirit moves and proceeds His work inside people, and there is therefore a battle behind everything that happens. Each time people practice the truth and practice love for God is an enormous battle. It may seem that all is well and at peace with people’s flesh, but actually there is a battle to the death going on deep in their hearts. And, following this fierce battle, the victory is only determined after a back and forth struggle in their minds, which is really funny and pitiful. Due to your having many wrong intentions inside of you, or due to the fact that much of God’s work is not compatible with your notions, when you practice the truth, there is an enormous battle going on in the background. It’s impossible to say how many tears of sadness flow after you practice this truth before you finally make up a firm mind to satisfy God. Because of the battle, you suffer and undergo refining. This is true suffering. When the battle arrives, if you can truly stand on the side of God, you can satisfy God. Suffering internally in practicing the truth is a road people must take. If during their practice of the truth, everything inside of them were correct, they wouldn’t need God to perfect them, there would be no battle, and they wouldn’t suffer. It is because people have so many things inside of them that are not fit for God’s use, and so many rebellious dispositions of the flesh, that people need to study the lesson on betraying the flesh more deeply; only this relates to the “suffering” that God asked people to undergo together with Him. When you encounter some difficulties, you should immediately pray to God: “God! I’m willing to satisfy You, and I’m willing to suffer all manner of hardships to satisfy Your heart. No matter how great setbacks I undergo, I must satisfy You—even if it costs me my life I must satisfy You!” If you have this will, and pray in this way, you’ll be able to stand witness. Every time people practice the truth, every time they’re refined or tried, every time God’s work arrives, they must bear incredible suffering. These are tests for them, and therefore there is a battle within each one of them. This is the real price to be paid. Reading more of God’s words and running more are also some prices, and these are things that people should do, are people’s duties, and the responsibility people should fulfill. However, people are also required to forsake those internal things that should be placed aside. If you don’t renounce them, no matter how much suffering you undergo externally, and no matter how much you run, it is all in vain! In other words, only internal changes determine whether the external suffering you undergo has value or not. If your internal disposition changes and you practice the truth, then the hardships you suffer on the outside will receive commendation from God. If your internal disposition does not change, then no matter how much suffering you go through externally, and no matter how much you run, God will not commend you. If God’s approval is not stamped on your suffering, then it will all be in vain. Therefore, whether your price counts depends on whether or not you change and whether or not you practice the truth and betray your own intentions and notions, thus satisfying God’s purposes and attaining knowledge and loyalty of and for God. You can run a lot, but if you never betray your own intentions, never focus on life and instead pursue external acts and zeal, then all these hardships are for naught. If a situation arises in which you want to say something, but a feeling inside you tells you that you shouldn’t, that saying this will not benefit the brothers and sisters but will instead hurt them, then don’t say it. It’s better for you to suffer internally about this than to say it, as these words will not satisfy God’s purpose. At such a time there will be a war inside you, but you’re willing to give up what you love and suffer this hardship to satisfy God; although you suffer internally, you show no care for the flesh and satisfy God’s heart, and thus you receive internal comfort. This is what it means to pay a true price, and that’s the price God wants. If you act in this way, God will certainly bless you. If you can’t accomplish this, then no matter how much you understand and how good you speak, it is all in vain! On the path of loving God, when Satan and God fight, if you can stand on the side of God, and not turn back towards Satan, then it means you love God and have stood witness.
All the work that God does on man seems on the outside to be contact between fellow humans, to come from man’s arrangement or disturbance. However, behind all of this work, behind everything, is a bet that Satan makes in front of God, and it is required that people stand witness for God. This is just as when Job was tried—in the background was a bet between Satan and God, while what Job met with was the acts and disturbances of man. Behind all of the work God has done on you is a bet between Satan and God; behind all of this is a war. If a prejudice towards one of the brothers or sisters grows inside of you, making you want to say something that you feel God will be displeased with, but you still feel uncomfortable inside, then the battle starts inside of you: “Should I say it or not?” This is the battle. Therefore, there is a battle for everything, and when the battle is going on inside of you, God works on you through your real cooperation and real suffering, until finally you can let this thing go from inside of you, after which your anger will naturally melt away. This is also the fruit of your cooperation with God. Everything you do requires a certain effort and price be paid. Without real suffering, you cannot satisfy God. And in no way can you satisfy God, but you are only speaking empty words! Can such meaningless words satisfy God? When Satan and God battle in the spiritual world, how can you satisfy God and stand witness for God? You should know that every time a problem arrives is a great trial for you and is a time when God needs you to bear witness. Some matters may not seem very large from the way they look on the outside, but the arrival of these sorts of problems nonetheless show whether or not you really love God. If you love God you’ll be able to stand witness for God. If you don’t practice love for God, this shows that you’re not a person who practices the truth. And you don’t have the truth or life; you are chaff! Every time people meet a problem is a time when God needs them to stand witness for Him. Although the problems you’re dealing with now don’t seem big, and you bear no great witnesses, in the details of your everyday life, everything relates to God’s witness. If the brothers and sisters can admire you, and so can your family and the people around you, and if one day the unbelievers come in, they will also admire your actions and see that God has really done amazing things, this will be a witness in you. Although you have little insight and have poor qualities, through God perfecting you, you can satisfy God and care for God’s desires, and others can see that God has done such great works on the people of the poorest qualities. They have known God and become overcomers in front of Satan, and their loyalty for God has reached a certain point. So this group of people are the most backboned. This will be the greatest witness. Although you can’t do any great works, you can satisfy God. Others can’t put aside their notions, but you can; others can’t bear witness to God in real experience, but you can bear resounding witness to God using your real stature and real actions to pay back God’s love. Only this is loving God practically. If you can’t do this, then you won’t have a witness among your family, the brothers and sisters, and before the world. If you are unable to bear witness before Satan, it will laugh at you, take you as a joke and a plaything, often trick you, making you lose your mind. Perhaps there will be some big trials coming in the future, but if you’re able to love God with a sincere heart in the here and now, no matter how big the future trials are or what problems you’re met with in the future, you’ll be able to stand witness and satisfy God. Then your heart will obtain comfort, and you won’t be afraid, no matter how great the trials are that you may encounter in the future. You can’t see what will happen in the future; you can only satisfy God in your present situation. You aren’t able to do any great works; you should focus on satisfying God through experiencing God’s words in real life and giving strong and resounding witnesses to humiliate Satan. Although the flesh is not satisfied and suffers, you’ll have satisfied God and disgraced Satan. If you always act in this way, God will clear a path for you ahead, and when one day you’re met with a great trial, one that makes other people fall down, you’ll be able to remain standing; because of the price you’ve paid, God will help you stay standing and not fall down. If you can practice the truth during normal times, and satisfy God with a heart that really loves God, then God will without question keep you during future trials. Although you are ignorant, small in stature, and poor in qualities, God will not treat you differently than others; this depends on whether your intentions are right or wrong. Now you satisfy God in everything, even in the details and small matters; you have a heart that truly loves God and offer a true heart to God; when there are some matters which you cannot see clearly, you come before God with proper intentions, seek God’s purposes, and do everything possible to satisfy God; perhaps the brothers and sisters abandon you, but your heart is satisfying God instead of coveting the enjoyments of the flesh. If you always act in this way, then you’ll be kept when great trials arrive.
What internal state of people do trials take aim at? They are aimed at the rebellious dispositions of people that cannot satisfy God. People’s inner parts have many adulterated things and hypocritical elements. Therefore, God needs to try them, and uses such trials to cleanse them. However, if you’re able to satisfy Him in the present, then the future trials will be a perfection to you. If you can’t satisfy Him in the present, then the future trials will be a temptation to you, and you’ll fall without even knowing it. You’ll be unable to control this, because you can’t keep up with God’s work, and don’t have real stature. Therefore, if you want to stay standing in the future, better satisfy God, and follow God to the end of the road, you must set yourself a good base now by practicing the truth to satisfy God and caring for God’s desires in every matter. If you always act in this manner, a foundation will be laid inside of you, and God will inspire your heart to love Him and give you faith. When one day a trial truly arrives, you may suffer some, you may be sorrowful to a degree, and experience extreme anguish, just as if you were dead, but your love for God won’t change, and will become more profound—this is God’s blessing. If you’re now able to accept everything God says and does with an obedient heart, then God will certainly bless you, and you will be a person who receives God’s blessings and promises. But if you don’t practice this now, when one day a trial comes, you won’t have love or faith. At that time the trial will be a temptation, and you’ll be left in Satan’s temptation without a way to escape. You may still be able to stand when you meet small trials now, but this may not be the case when a big trial comes one day. Some people are full of pride, and think they’re almost perfect. If you don’t go deeper now, and instead are self-satisfied, then you’re in danger. At present God doesn’t bring greater trials, and so all seems well with you, but once God’s trial arrives, you’ll realize that you’re far too lacking. This is because you are too small in stature to pass such a big trial successfully. If you don’t make progress now and instead still remain where you are, you’ll fall over when the big wind blows. Only through being constantly aware of how little stature you have will you be able to improve. If it’s only when the trial comes that you see how small you’re in stature, that your will is still too weak, and that you have few real things and cannot meet God’s desire, it will be too late.
If you don’t understand God’s disposition, you’ll certainly fall during trials, because you don’t know how, or with which methods, God perfects people; when God’s trial arrives for you, you won’t be able to stand if it is different from your notions. God’s true love is God’s whole disposition, and when God’s whole disposition is made manifest to you, what does this give your flesh? When God’s righteous disposition is made manifest to you, your flesh must undergo much suffering. Without this suffering, you cannot be perfected by God, and you cannot offer true love to God. For God to perfect you, His whole disposition must be made manifest to you. From the creation of the world until now, God’s disposition has never been entirely revealed to people, but in the end time God reveals His whole disposition to this group of people He has chosen and predestined. Moreover, God reveals His disposition when He perfects people, and thereby makes complete a group of people. This is God’s true love for people. Experiencing God’s true love for people requires that people experience enormous suffering and pay a high price before they can finally be gained by God, before they can finally return true love to God, and before God’s heart can be satisfied. To be perfected by God, carry out God’s will, and make a complete offering of true love to God, people must experience much suffering and many torments from the circumstances, until the pain can’t be borne anymore, before they have but to return their true hearts to God in the end. Whether or not a person has true love for God is revealed during the course of suffering and refining, and God purifies people’s love also through suffering and refining.
from The Word Appears in the Flesh