RELIGIOUS CULTIVATION BEING UNABLE TO SATISFY MAN’S INNER EMPTINESS
Since man cannot find a solution to the emptiness in his innermost being in the material world, he goes to the religious world to seek for the answer. The religious world’s best attempt to solve the problem of satisfying man’s inner emptiness is teaching. Religion teaches people to turn inward instead of outward; it teaches people to turn to their innermost being and to pay attention to the cultivation of their inner being. Previously a person may have been focused on outward cultivation, on the improvement of his outward behavior; now he must pay attention to the cultivation of his inner being. Religion teaches people to sit still in meditation in order to turn their whole being from the outside to the inside. Previously a person might have always turned outward, but now he must turn within by sitting in meditation; he must exercise his will and his peaceful state of mind to focus his entire being within. This kind of teaching tells people that the more they go outward, the emptier they will be and the greater will be the void within. Therefore, now they must turn their direction from the outward to the inward. They should not be busy laboring for money, commerce, family, wife, children, etc. All these things, which may afford some outward enjoyment, cause people to turn outward and therefore experience a greater emptiness within. The richer a person becomes, the emptier he will feel within; the higher his position is, the less satisfied he will be within. The outward things can easily draw man to the outside; hence, according to religion, the only way to bring him back is to practice self-cultivation. When a part of his being goes outward, a part of his being will be empty; when a part of his being is drawn back, a part of his being will be filled. This is the teaching of religion. However, the part “pulled away” is human, and the part “drawn back” is still human. Regardless of whether a person is drawn outward or inward, he is still human, and as such he is basically still an empty vessel.
GOD DESIRING TO BE MINGLED WITH MEN TO PRODUCE GOD-MEN
In the beginning when God created man, He reserved an empty space for Himself that He might work Himself into man; hence, man was created empty. A person may try to improve himself either outwardly or inwardly, but ultimately he is still an empty vessel. God’s intention is not just for man to be satisfied in himself. God’s main intention in coming into man is not for man to be satisfied but for man to be mingled with God. God comes into us and mingles Himself with us, making us a part of God; the result is that the creating God is mingled with the created man. Thus, we, the created beings, are mingled with the Creator who is within us. The Scriptures reveal that all of us, the saved ones, will arrive at a certain stage; that is, we will be filled unto the fullness of God. In other words, all that God is will become everything to us, the saved ones. This means that He will work Himself into us and will be completely mingled with us. This mingling will go on until one day not only we will be in Him and He in us, but He and we will be inseparable. We may use a glass of orange juice as an illustration. Suppose we mix the juice of an orange and water together to produce a glass of orange juice. When we pour out the drink, there is juice and also water. The juice and the water, the water and the juice, are mingled into one; the two are inseparable. In the same way, God’s intention in man is to mingle Himself with man and to fill man with Himself, thereby producing a God-man, one who is not only man but also God, not only God but also man. When the juice and water are blended together, eventually we may say it is juice or we may say it is water because the two have been blended as one into orange juice. Likewise, God wants to mingle with all the saved ones so that eventually they will all become the God-men.
(Dead to Law but Living to God, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)