Yao Yixin Hanzhong City, Shaanxi Province
In the man’s fellowship attached to Christ’s Talks with Church Leaders and Workers, it says: “In pursuing the transformation of his disposition, one should pay attention to the problem of his arrogant nature, which is a hinge most easily neglected by him. If one has not gained the transformation of his arrogant nature, no matter how many doctrines he understands, it is useless, for this involves the matter of his life substance and the matter of whether he can be saved. If this problem is not resolved, he is not only loathed and hated by God but also loathed and rejected by people, for such a corrupt nature, like a rat running across the street, is hated by everyone. When we see someone displaying arrogance and self-rightness, we feel nauseated and sickened as if we had eaten a dead fly. The arrogant, self-conceited, self-right, and self-important disposition is precisely the nature of the great red dragon, is that which the great red dragon has deeply planted in people, and is the diehard follower of people and the enemy of God.” From this passage, we can see that if we want to gain the transformation of our life disposition, we must resolve our arrogant nature. But in our practical living, we always neglect this matter, paying no attention to knowing and resolving our arrogant nature. So, we always unconsciously display our arrogant disposition and are loathed by God. This is really a hindrance to our entering-in and a problem that has to be resolved urgently.
First of all, let us check with God’s words and the words in the man’s fellowship and see what expressions are actually the displays of the arrogant nature. God says: “Your arrogance and self-conceit will make you despise God and make you have no regard for God, it will make you liable to exalt yourself and make you show off yourself in everything….” In the man’s fellowship, it says: “If you are very arrogant, then you will not accept the true facts and the truth.An arrogant person always has notions and draws conclusions about God, as if only he could see through God and God should work according to his ideas. An arrogant person is unkind to others, cannot treat others equally, and can never live in harmony with others, because he is self-important, self-conceited, and haughty.” We can see from these two passages that as we have the arrogant nature, we can easily form notions about God but can hardly drop them; as we have the arrogant nature, we do not fear God and even scorn what God does; as we have the arrogant nature, we often exalt and testify ourselves; as we have the arrogant nature, we are self-right and often exhibit ourselves and parade our being smart; as we have the arrogant nature, we belittle others and cannot live in harmony with them; and as we have the arrogant nature, we do not easily accept the truth, being obstinate and self-right and sticking to our own opinions and viewpoints. In our living, directed by our arrogant nature, we display too many states of arrogance. For example, when we read these words of God: “…I am not to destroy the world … leave the remaining one third of people, who have been thoroughly conquered by me and who love me, and make them fruitful and multiply on earth like the Israelites under the law,” we thought, “God is inaccurate in his words. He has said that he will break all the families and that there will be no more birth, death, illness and old age. But he says here that he will let the people be fruitful and become numerous.” When we read this word of God: “Mankind has been developing until today for tens of thousands of years,” we began to study it, “Hasn’t God said that he has managed mankind only for six thousand years? Why does he say here that mankind has been developing for tens of thousands of years?” Besides, in 1999, when we were pursuing and expending ourselves zealously for the sake of the day of God, we heard that there would be another seven years of trials. At that time, we condemned, saying, “God deceived us.” In carrying out the work arrangement, if the work arrangement is to our liking, we put it into practice, and if it is not to our liking, we do not. When we go around watering the churches, we talk about in every church how we promoted the works in the places where there were many difficulties and where the churches were hard to administrate, and how our leaders appreciate and think highly of us. When we contact with the brothers and sisters, we always love to talk about how many years we have followed, how many miles we have run, how many places we have been to, what big works we have done, and how many big leaders we have met. When we are together with the brothers and sisters, we always love to talk about the shortcomings and deficiencies of others to set off our being wise and give them the impression that we have the truth and are better than others. Once having opportunities, we love to be teachers to others and give guidance to them concerning how to do and practice in order to achieve the purpose of making them appreciate us and think that we know everything. When we coordinate with others, we are extremely conceited in everything we do; we do not want to listen to their opinions, and even if their opinions are right, we reject them and try every way to refute them. When we are with others, we always want them to listen to us; if we see that they take no notice of us or do not listen to us, we feel uncomfortable and sometimes even speak to them with a sting of sarcasm in our words. When we see that others do not do things and speak according to our ideas, we criticize and lecture them arbitrarily. When we see that the brothers and sisters do not understand God’s word or the fellowship, we conclude that they are spirit-blocked, with poor qualities, and too erroneous, and that they are not the objects of God’s salvation; so we do not want to fellowship with them any more and we even get irritated and lecture them. When others report problems to us, we start to fellowship with them before they finish reporting, with the implication that we have already understood their meaning and that their further talking is a waste of time. Every time we are transferred to a new place, we always want to know the opinions that the people there have of us and know whether we are better than their former leader; if we learn that we are inferior to their former leader, we get jealous of him and compete with him in everything; and when we cannot do better than him, we become passive. When our leaders reproach us with the fact that we have achieved no results in the gospel work, we say nothing but feel unconvinced in our heart, thinking, “If you did it, you would not necessarily do a better job than me.” And so on. These states and expressions are all the displays of our arrogant nature.
Although these arrogant dispositions seriously exist in us, many of us pay no attention to resolving them, and we even think, “Arrogance is a common quality of all people. Everyone has it; I am not the only one. Besides, for us who have the arrogant nature, it is very normal to display a little arrogance.” Sometimes we think, “It is not a serious matter to be somewhat arrogant. As long as I can do the work properly, everything will be all right, and there is no need to be so fussy as to put special effort into resolving it.” Our such a mentality shows that we have not realized the dangerous consequences of our living by our arrogant nature. In the man’s fellowship, it says: “Arrogance is the root cause of man’s trouble. If you cannot get rid of your arrogant disposition, you cannot know yourself, know God, or perform your duty faithfully. If your arrogant disposition is not resolved, even though you appear to be very obedient to God at present, you do not have obedience to God in essence. This is because there are still poison roots in your bones and blood, that is, your nature of disobeying God is not resolved. You are only saying obedience with your mouth and having willingness to obey in your heart, but such an obedience may not last long. Any day you may lose control of your old nature and it will suddenly break out. Then, all these words within you will gush out, such as the notional and complaining words, the emotional words of confounding black and white, the words of vindicating yourself and venting your personal spite, and the preposterous words of complaining against heaven and earth and against others, which will cause you to perish with your body bursting open.” “If one’s satanic nature is arrogant to such an extent that he has no regard for God, considers everybody beneath his notice, obeys no one, and cannot obey the truth in the slightest, he has already offended God. This kind of person will surely be punished.” From these words we can see that if our arrogant nature is not resolved, it is more than enough to bring disasters upon us, and no matter how hard we pursue in other respects, our pursuit will be in vain. This is because our arrogant nature is like a cancer in us, and it can metastasize at any time. Likewise, our arrogant nature can also break out at any time and cause us to involuntarily scorn God, condemn God, and judge God, resist the man used by the Holy Spirit, and disobey the arrangement from above and do otherwise. Consequently, we will be punished by God for having offended God’s disposition. In this respect, we can draw lessons from the transgressions of many arrogant people. For example, there was one who was arrogant and conceited and had no regard for God, and he dared to alter God’s words according to his own ideas. His doing so provoked God’s disposition, and he was eliminated by God. Another one despised the work arrangement, and he always considered the work arrangement in part improper. So, in performing his duty, he did otherwise self-centeredly and thus brought losses to the work. He offended the administrative decrees and was loathed by God. Still another one exalted and testified himself in everything when doing the work, and his many years of working led the people all to himself so that they worshipped him as God and had gained no knowledge of God. He played the role of an antichrist and thus incurred God’s wrath and was expelled from the church. Again still another one obeyed nobody, and when he had prejudices against his church leader, he deliberately made difficulties for the leader in the church; when the brothers and sisters disagreed with him, he kicked up a fuss in the meeting, interrupting and disturbing the church life. Despite of repeated admonition, he refused to mend his transgressions, so he was expelled by God’s family. Paul, familiar to all of us, is also an example. In doing the work, he was arrogant and conceited, exalting and testifying himself in everything to let others submit and listen to him. Because his arrogant disposition was not transformed ultimately, he is still bound and punished by God today. And so on. From these examples we can see that if our arrogant nature is not resolved, we will unconsciously disobey and resist God, and will commit things that cause interruption and disturbance, thus offending God’s administrative decrees. If our arrogant nature is not resolved, we will not respect anyone, even less revere and fear God; instead, we will raise the devil at any time and thus be detested and rejected by God. If our arrogant nature is not resolved, we will unconsciously exalt and testify ourselves, and thus become antichrists and be eliminated by God. If our arrogant nature is not resolved, we will not obey God or accept the truth and practice it, much less be transformed in our disposition and be saved by God. With the arrogant nature, we look like the archangel and are altogether the bitter enemies of God. If we do not resolve this nature promptly, we can never be in harmony with God or receive God’s salvation. Therefore, resolving our own arrogant nature is a matter of great urgency which brooks no delay.
Then, how should we resolve our arrogant nature?
Firstly, we must accept the chastisement and judgment of God as well as the trials and refining of all kinds which God arranges, and we also need to accept the dealings and prunings of God’s family and God’s many times of exposing us with facts. After we have been corrupted by satan, we have a deep-rooted arrogant nature, and what we say and do and think are all under its direction, so without God’s severe judgment and exposure and without experiencing more refining and more times of being exposed by facts, it is not easy for us to gain the transformation of our arrogant nature. Just as it is said in the man’s fellowship: “People’s arrogance, self-rightness, self-importance, and self-conceit is exactly that which resists God, and by nature, people are precisely the hostile force against God. So, making them absolutely obey God is no easy matter, and without the conquering work, this can never be attained. Such a work must be done in the beginning, then all kinds of trials and tribulations are used to perfect them step by step, so that they may get rid of their arrogant, conceited, self-right, and self-important corrupt disposition. Yet within several years, they can at most gain different degrees of transformation, and it is impossible for them to gain a complete transformation.” From these words we see that resolving our arrogant nature is not an easy matter. It requires us to undergo God’s judgment and chastisement plus being exposed by facts and suffer much refining, so that we can achieve the result step by step. Otherwise, it is difficult for us to know ourselves, and we will forever be the arrogant people who consider themselves superior and who admire themselves, and will never be able to obey God and worship God. Only through God’s judgment, refining, and exposing us with facts can we see the true condition of our being corrupted by satan, see our substance of disobeying and resisting God, see our ugliness, baseness, and senselessness of being arrogant and conceited, and see that we are frail and small and have nothing. Only then can we humble ourselves and be obedient before God. From our experience, we all realize that usually, when we feel good about ourselves and do not know ourselves in the slightest, the displays of our arrogant nature are especially obvious. Either we exalt ourselves and show off, or do the work according to our own ideas and by experience without seeking and looking up to God, or regard ourselves as better than anyone else so that we obey no one and listen to no one and act truculently, arrogantly, and presumptuously, or make more excessive demands of God and have stronger extravagant desires, feeling that we deserve to receive and enjoy any good things, etc. Through being put to shame in God’s judgment, being dealt with and pruned, or being exposed by God with facts, we will have some knowledge of ourselves. Then, our supercilious and swaggering air will not be so obvious, our head will droop, and we will feel that we are too corrupt and too disobedient and that we are nothing and deserve nothing but judgment and curse. Our state will completely change. Thus it can be seen that one cannot gain the transformation of his arrogant disposition by strenuously restraining himself in his outward practices; rather, he can only gradually gain it after he has truly known himself through experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement, experiencing all kinds of painful refining and being exposed by facts, and experiencing more dealings and prunings. The more judgments and refining from God we experience and the more exposures and dealings we experience, the more we will know ourselves. Thus, as our knowledge of ourselves goes deeper and deeper, we will gradually gain the transformation of our arrogant disposition.
Secondly, we need to pursue to know our substance, identity, and status from God’s words of exposing man, and need to firmly keep these words as our motto in mind. God says: “You should know that you are the impurities in the sludge of stagnant water, rather than the fish and shrimps in silt that are a feast for the eyes….” “Do you not know what the ‘respectful title’ for you is? …father wolf, mother wolf, son wolf, or grandson wolf. You are the offspring of wolf and a people of wolf. You are a group of nonhumans who are most diabolic among mankind. …a pack of starving wolves, a pile of junk, and a heap of rubbish. …” What God exposes through these words is exactly our true status and identity and substance. When we have known that our inherent nature is a pile of junk, a heap of rubbish, we will no longer be carried away all day long, and will not give ourselves airs and swagger about before others as a result of not knowing who we are. Today we can perform duties in God’s family; this is all ascribable to God’s exceptional uplifting and grace, and we have nothing at all to boast of, to appreciate, and to be proud of. For example, a street beggar was debased, dirty, and left without anybody to care for him. One day, he met a rich and kind-hearted man. The man took him in at his home and assigned him some work that he was capable of doing. From then on, his food, clothing, and shelter were all assured, and he no longer lived a begging life. But, the change of his living condition did not indicate that his original identity and status changed, that he was nobler than other beggars who were still begging, and that he could be on the same footing as his master. Actually, the debased substance of his inherent identity and status did not change. Therefore, we should keep firmly in mind what God has taught us: “Do not forget that you are a created being who was cursed by me and then taught and saved by me, and that you have nothing pleasing to me. … I would advise you to bear in mind all the time that you are only a created being! Although you live with me, you should know your identity and do not regard yourself too high. …” If we can always bear in mind our substance and our inherent identity and status, we will not consider ourselves superior and be supercilious as our environment changes. And at that point, even if we want to be arrogant, we will not try.
Thirdly, we should stand in the right position of a created being and be the ones who have sense and who seek and accept the truth, and should stand in the position of a created being to worship God and obey God absolutely. God says: “I am a consuming fire and do not tolerate man’s offense. As all men were created by me, they must obey whatever I say and do and must not revolt against them. Men have no right to interfere in my work, much less are they entitled to judge the right and wrong of my work and word. I am the Creator, so created beings should meet all my requirements with a heart fearing me and should not reason with me, much less resist me. …every created being created by me should submit to my authority.” “As to the word of God, the work of God, all the environments that God arranges, the man to whom God testifies, and the practical God, you must have a correct knowledge of them and a right attitude toward them … be able to seek the truth in everything, and stand in the position of a created being to obey all the work of God.” From these words of God, we can see that God’s disposition does not tolerate man’s offense. As created beings, what we should live up to is worshipping and obeying God, the Creator, in the original position of a created being, and that no matter what God does or how he does it, even if it is completely beyond our understanding and comprehension, we should obey it first and then get to know God’s wonderful deeds through seeking and fellowshipping. This is the sense that we should have. God’s wonder and wisdom are forever unfathomable to man; if we always want to go beyond the position of a created being and use our notions and imaginations to measure and condemn God, and cannot obey everything from God, we will eventually provoke God’s anger and be punished because of being arrogant and conceited. Today no matter what duties we perform in God’s family, there is not the difference of lower and higher positions between us. Whether we are leaders or the ones who coordinate with others in doing a certain work, we have the same position, the position of a created being; only we perform different duties. If for a period of time we feel that our positions are higher than that of the brothers and sisters, it proves that our arrogant nature is again flowing out and we are standing in a wrong position. God has exposed us: “Even if you are in a highest position, aren’t you still a tiny bug in the dunghill? Could you grow wings and change into a white dove in the sky?” From God’s words we can see that God loathes our considering ourselves to be the ones of high position and loathes our always desiring to be out of the ordinary. In doing the work, if we can stand in the position of a servant and do all we can to help and sustain the brothers and sisters and to perform our duties properly according to God’s requirements, we are the ones who have sense, who stand in the right position of a created being, and who serve God according to his heart’s desire. Therefore, no matter what we do or encounter, as long as we can stand in the right position of a created being, seek God’s intention more often, and obey everything from God, our arrogant airs and manner of speaking will naturally become less.
Fourthly, we must put effort into exalting God and testifying God. Because we are arrogant and conceited by nature, we cannot help exalting and testifying ourselves when we are together with others; and in our daily living, we most frequently display being overweening, being self-centered, putting “I” above everything else, and not doing things by God’s word. For example, when we come into contact with the brothers and sisters, we often say such words as, “Let me tell you.” “Just go and do what I have told you; it won’t be wrong.” “Just say it’s my word.” “I preached the gospel like this formerly.” “I came out of the refining like this.” “I promoted the work like this.”, etc. Our saying these words sufficiently proves that we are exalting and testifying ourselves rather than revering God as supreme and magnifying God. In this respect, if we have no proper ways to enter in, we will only lead people to us and cause them to look up to us, adore us, and draw near to us and become more and more distant from God; and we will only become more and more hostile to God, lose the meaning of being created, and lose the responsibilities of a man, and eventually we will be detested and punished by God for testifying ourselves in everything. Therefore, we must enter into exalting God and testifying God. In the man’s fellowship, it says: “…we can give God preeminence and let God’s word reign in us in whatever we do, and can also endeavor to proclaim and praise God’s deeds…. Whether in our own personal life or in our life with other people, in our speaking and fellowshipping or in our handling things and performing duties, we should let God be the head and rule over everything. The primary principle is to put God in the first place and let God direct our everything. We should let God’s word have the absolute sovereignty over everything, and should obey God’s arrangement, sanctify God, and revere God as supreme in everything.” This passage points out for us the ways to practice exalting God and testifying God. Thus, we see that God’s requiring us to exalt him and testify him means that we should worship him in spirit and truth, put him in the first place at all times, and speak more about “God” and less about “I” in everything; and that no matter what problem we encounter, we should first drop ourselves, and come before him more often to pray and seek and see how his word says about it, how the fellowship from above says about it, and how the work arrangement says about it. If we constantly exercise and practice to exalt God, testify God, and lead others to God, and if in our personal practices we exercise to let God’s word, the truth, direct our every word and deed and every act and move, and let God control our everything, then we are entering in from the positive side. As our entering in from the positive side increases, the displays of our arrogant nature will become less and less.
Fifthly, we must realize that our natural talents and our being able to achieve results in the work are both derived from God’s blessing and not the fruits of our own efforts, and that we ourselves have no usable part. When we can truly realize this, we will see that we are essentially without a single virtue, and at that time, even if we want to be arrogant, we will not try. For example, some people have accepted this stage of the work for a longer time than others, so they feel they have some seniority, and they always pose as seniors when speaking. If we can realize that everything originates with God’s ordination, and that it is all the more God’s predestination that we have accepted this stage of the work for a longer time, and we actually did not step onto this path on our own initiative, then we will never again pose as seniors but will feel ashamed of ourselves for having gained no transformation. Some think that they have experienced many things and are knowledgeable, so they love to parade their unusual experiences wherever they go. If we can see that without God’s care and keeping, we never could have followed until today by our nature of betrayal, then we will no longer talk boastfully and show off everywhere. Some become swollen-headed and forget who they are once they have achieved some results in their work. If we can understand this word of God: “Man may only be usable when the Holy Spirit works on him,” and can realize that without the working of the Holy Spirit, we can achieve nothing, then when we achieve results again, we will give the glory to God instead of stealing it and crowning ourselves with it. Some are quick to understand the truth and have equipped themselves with much of God’s word. When they see that others are slow of understanding God’s word when eating and drinking it, they look down upon them, and even draw conclusions about them and do not want to fellowship with them. If we can do some self-reflection: “Without the truth expressed by God incarnate today, where could I find the truth to equip with? Without God’s grace and mercy, how could I have the ability to understand the truth?”, then we will no longer look down on others, but on the contrary, we will help them with love. Some people have some experience of God’s word and can fellowship a little more practical knowledge of it than others, so they consider themselves no ordinary beings, and when speaking, they stand in a high position lecturing the brothers and sisters. If we can realize that all our experience and knowledge are the results achieved by God’s step-by-step working and guidance, by God’s doing the work of chastisement and judgment on us and practically leading us, then we will give the glory to God and no longer consider ourselves higher than others. Some people consider themselves more resolute than others because they can leave their families and give up their careers and expend themselves for God. If we know that by nature, none of us can give up anything for God’s sake, and that even our very little resolution and cooperation are given by the Holy Spirit, then we will have nothing to be arrogant about. Actually, every strong point of us, if counted carefully, is bestowed by God. For example, some of us are good at managing and arranging things, some are good at singing and dancing, and still some are more eloquent than others. Aren’t all these bestowed by God? If not, how come some people also love to sing but are born with a poor ear and voice and simply sing out of tune? From this we see that our everything is derived from God’s blessing and grace, and that we ourselves indeed have nothing and are without a single virtue. So we should give all the glory to God. When we truly see that we are essentially without a single virtue but we are boasting about and showing off ourselves everywhere, we will have a hatred of our arrogance and have the strength to forsake our flesh. When we truly know that even the little virtue we have is bestowed by God, we will not become dizzy with our little “capital.” At that point, we will have rather sound sense and judgment of propriety in our speaking and doing things, and know in what position we should stand, what we should say, and what we should not say.
In summary, if we want to resolve our arrogant nature, we must experience the judgment and chastisement of God and the sufferings and refining. At the same time, we must bear in mind our identity and status, stand in the right position of a created being, and exercise to exalt God and testify God consciously in everything, letting God have the preeminence among us, and never again having “I” as the center. And we also need to clearly know that our everything comes from the bestowal of God, we ourselves have nothing, and we should give all the glory to God in everything. Besides, at usual times we should spend more time on eating and drinking God’s words of exposing man’s arrogant nature, put effort into equipping the truths in all respects, and take great pains to practice forsaking the flesh. By doing so, our arrogant nature will be gradually conquered by the truth, our life disposition will be transformed step by step, and we will be saved by God.