22 It Is Very Important to Know the States of the “Hidden” Passivity
Wu Ming Heze City, Shandong Province
We often have some passive states within us. For example, some people become passive because they are short of money; some become passive because the day of God has not come after so long a time; some become passive because they achieve no results in their work; some become passive because they have been pruned and dealt with; some become passive because they see that they remain unchanged; some become passive because they have serious transgressions and are worried that they cannot be saved; and so on. All these are common passive states in us. As to such obvious passive states that can restrain us from performing our duties properly, usually most of us can realize them and can pay attention to looking for the roots and resolving them through eating and drinking the relevant words of God. However, we also have a kind of extremely harmful passivity, the hidden passivity, in us, which seriously hinders our life entering. With such passivity, we appear to be in a normal state on the surface, and it does not seem to restrain us from performing our duties, nor does it cause us to do things of obviously resisting God and rebelling against God. Thus, we cannot discover it easily, nor can we discern it very easily. We can say that, for those who do not pay attention to the detailed experiences, who do not treat their life entering seriously, and who do not measure and examine themselves strictly against God’s word, it is very difficult to discern such an abnormal state. As it is said in the man’s fellowship attached to Christ’s Talks with Church Leaders and Workers: “Another kind of passivity cannot be discerned easily. They seem to be in a normal state. On the surface, they have the normal church life, perform their duties properly, and can eat and drink God’s word. But they treat nothing seriously, being content with their present situation, and follow the general trend. A careful observation will find that they do not have many elements of progressing positively. This is the hidden passivity. People who live in such negativity are slow in entering into the truth and can hardly achieve the transformation of their disposition. They appear to be in a normal state, but their progress is too slow, so it is still abnormal. Besides, their unconcerned, careless, and indifferent disposition is what God loathes. Such people do not seem to have great difficulties, but actually many things are hidden within them. Without careful observation, they cannot be discovered easily. The people who live for long in the hidden passivity also suffer great harm.” Therefore, it is very crucial to know and resolve the hidden passivity within us.
Now, let us list and dissect some states of the hidden passivity so as to gain some knowledge and discover and resolve these abnormal states in us as soon as possible.
Many people have such a state within: Now I do not pursue to receive any blessing, nor do I earnestly hope for the coming of God’s day. No matter what God will do in the future and when God’s work ends, I will let God control me as he wishes and will not complain. On the surface, people in such a state appear to be in a normal state and to be very sensible, but if we dissect it carefully, we will find that in this seemingly normal state there are not many elements of progressing positively, much less true obedience to God. It is completely a passive state of being reluctant and hopeless. For from the various ways of God’s work and the various steps of God’s work, we have more or less realized that God Godself decides the time when his day comes, and no matter how much man hopes for it, it is useless. Regardless of how many notions man has about God’s work and how seriously man resists and opposes it, in the end, it is still God who decides man’s destiny and man’s everything. Man can only suffer more if he does not obey, so, better be wise and judicious, and “let God control us in everything as he wishes.” This is our so-called obedient mentality. With such a mentality, we do not make active efforts, do not pursue actively, and cannot but adopt a passive, defensive, indifferent attitude toward God’s work. This is a kind of passive resistance. Therefore, when the above said that the year 2006 was full of promise and was the critical period of equipping ourselves with the truth, we turned a deaf ear to it and were unconcerned. We did not seek God’s will, nor pay attention to our entering in, but remained carefree and slack, without the slightest urgency to pursue the truth and life. We believe in God in this way, without knowing God, without pursuing the truth, and without truly knowing ourselves. This is completely a passive and indifferent state. Though on the surface we no longer pursue for the sake of the day, nor do we seem to seek any blessing, this state of not pursuing the truth and not striving to make progress is exactly the state of the hidden passivity. People who live in such a state will not have any real entering in in the truth, much less have transformation in their life disposition. They can only miss the chance to be made perfect by God because of their indifference.
There is also such a state in us: After following God for several years, we have known that God’s work is utterly contrary to man’s notions, and after many times of disobeying and resisting, we have realized that opposing and disobeying can only cause trouble to ourselves. Accordingly, we have learned to keep this principle: Whatever God does is meaningful; I will just obey and will not complain. And we apply it mechanically to the matters we encounter. For example, when we are dealt with and pruned and have disobedience and discontent within ourselves, we admonish ourselves inwardly, “Whatever God does is salvation for me, and I cannot resist”; thus, we obey reluctantly. When we encounter difficulties in our work and resist them in our hearts and want to escape, we remind ourselves silently, “Nothing is too difficult for God, and I will just cooperate actively”; thus, we dismiss the idea of escaping. When illnesses come upon us and we become passive and weak, we encourage ourselves inwardly, “The coming of illness is God’s love, and I should uphold testimony for God without complaining”; thus, we pull through it. When we see that the ones we look up to are removed or are exposed and eliminated and thus form notions and misunderstandings about God, we try hard to exercise self-control and say to ourselves, “There is God’s good purpose behind whatever God does; I cannot have notions.” And so on. Though by keeping this principle we have been somewhat restrained in our behavior, it does not mean that we have met God’s requirements. This is just a passive and defensive state. For by such practices we can only stay in a state of not sinning and not complaining but do not have much entering in on the positive side. That is to say, we do not have a heart to actively seek the truth and seek God’s intention in the various circumstances and each matter we encounter. Thus, we can in no way achieve the results of understanding the truth, knowing God, and knowing ourselves. Our state of not complaining and not sinning does not result from our understanding of the truth, but we just manage to restrain ourselves by our perseverance. It is a state of the hidden passivity in which we only rest content with being conquered but do not actively pursue the truth. If we pay no attention to resolving it, we will not understand and gain the truth or gain the transformation of our life disposition, no matter how long we follow God.
There is another state: When we see that some people are removed or sent home, we think to ourselves, “I must pursue hard lest I be sent home like them after doing things disobedient and resistant to God.” As a result, we are meticulous and overcautious in whatever we do. On the surface, we appear to be in a normal state. We seem to somewhat pursue positively and perform our duties more honestly and conscientiously than before. But by dissecting it carefully, we can find that we do not have many elements of progressing positively within, and have no entering in on the positive side. We are passively defending ourselves, speaking words and doing things warily lest we do wrong things and thus have transgressions and be sent home. Hence, we always live in a state of misgivings, worries, and fears, cannot perform our duties with our whole heart, and cannot exert all our strength and give full play to what we have. When we perform our duties in such a state, we can only treat God perfunctorily and deceivingly and cannot achieve good results. We do not actively cooperate and seek God’s will, do not act on the basis of understanding God’s intention, and do not try to know and summarize why those who were removed or sent home failed, and then equip ourselves with the truth and make up for our deficiencies, but we try hard to restrain ourselves in practices; this is also a state of the hidden passivity. If we perform our duties in such a state, we will not only delay our growth in life but also delay the work of God’s family.
There is another state: When some people have suffered several setbacks on position, they think, “I will never pursue position again in future, nor will I pursue to rise head and shoulders above others. No matter what duty God’s family assigns me to perform and no matter whether I have position or not, I will obey.” On the surface, this is a normal state. But if we observe and dissect it carefully, we will find that such a so-called normal state is not at all normal but is a passive state of letting things drift. On the surface, people who live in such a state have no obvious disobedience and resistance, and no longer endeavor to pursue position as hard as before. Whether they are removed or promoted, they can obey and seem to have no difficulty. But actually, this is only because after several setbacks they think: Position is not something that one can acquire by his pursuit. God will have compassion on whom he will have compassion, and he will have mercy on whom he will have mercy; man cannot change it. Why should I always worry about my position? It would be better to perform some duty steadily on a position that is not too high or too low. People in such a state have lost the will and the driving force to pursue the truth because of losing the position, so they no longer exert themselves in work and completely lose their former enthusiasm. They are careless of anything, and even when they achieve no results in their work, they are unworried and unconcerned. Instead of cooperating actively, they think, “These are all the abilities that I have. It is all the same whatever work I do. Just transfer me to a suitable work if I cannot do this one.” Just like that, they are unconcerned and careless all day long, as if they had discerned everything. They are indifferent to anything and even do not take seriously the matter of pursuing the truth and life. Few elements of making progress actively can be seen in them, and no obvious working of the Holy Spirit can be seen. Therefore, those who are in the state of pursuing position no more do not obey willingly because they have the knowledge of their corrupt nature and of God’s intention in saving man after experiencing God’s chastisement and judgment, but they are in a state of being reluctant and helpless. This is also a state of the hidden passivity. If it is not resolved, it can also imperil man’s life.
Another state of the hidden passivity is like this: Those who have been performing their duties away from home for many years or cannot go home due to the persecutions in their hometowns always have such a thought: “As long as I do whatever God’s family assigns me to do, I will not be sent home easily. Even if I have some transgressions, God’s family will allow for my weaknesses.” Hence, they are satisfied with doing better than the worst in performing their duties. When the result of their work is a bit better, they will be content with the present situation and stop progressing. When they find that they lag behind, they will make some efforts to cooperate. They are careless all day long and spend their days leisurely, but do not exert all their strength to pursue the truth or pursue to satisfy God. Though such a state does not have obvious outward manifestations, and does not seem to restrain us from performing our duties, nor does it cause us to be passive and weak, it, while staying hidden within us, affects our entering in without our knowing it. It is completely a passive state of working in God’s family just to get by, and is exactly what God loathes and hates. If we do not examine ourselves and resolve it in time, it will eventually forfeit our lives.
Another passive state is not easy to be discovered. Some people who perform their duties away from home always think, “Though I do not pursue the truth so hard, I am much better than those in the church who only attend meetings but do not perform duties or perform some duties perfunctorily. God even does not abandon them and gives them chances one after another and requires the leaders to water and sustain them more, people like us who expend ourselves with all our hearts and strength can surely be saved.” Thus, they always live in a state of appreciating themselves and being content with their present situation. Though on the surface they perform their duties, eat and drink God’s word, pray, and fellowship, being occupied all day long, most of the time they just observe regulations and go through the motions with little seeking and thirsting for the truth within. They do not treat their life entering seriously, nor do they know or grasp their needs and deficiencies. They are always cheerful at ordinary times, and do not seem to have great difficulties or appear obviously passive and weak, but they enter into life very slowly. Such a state of the hidden passivity is barely perceptible. If one does not examine his state carefully, he will be blinded by the false appearance and cannot effectively resolve the problems existing in him as soon as possible, thereby delaying his growth in life.
Apart from the several states of the hidden passivity listed above, we also have many other similar states in us. For example, some people have realized the various corrupt dispositions in them, but they always think that the substance of everyone’s corruption is the same and they are not the only ones who are so corrupt, so they need not be so anxious or serious in pursuing transformation. Some think that the transformation of man’s disposition is a lifelong matter and it is impossible for them to be transformed in a short time, so they need not rush. And some think that, though they are also people who are corrupted, they are good people compared with those around them because they can consecrate and expend themselves and, most often, can understand things from the positive side when they encounter them. Thus they live in a state of appreciating themselves without any sense of danger and without any desire to advance. And so on.
The various states of the hidden passivity in us are very harmful to us. One who lives in such negativity for long enters into the truth slowly and can hardly gain the transformation of his disposition. Even though he has followed God for many years without leaving God’s family, he is not pursuing to satisfy God or to fulfill his duty as a created being. Strictly speaking, by believing in God in this way, without a direction or goal, without a desire to progress positively, and without an actively cooperative attitude, he cannot make great progress no matter how many years he believes in God, and he believes in a completely muddled way. As to such a person who believes in God in a indifferent, unconcerned, and careless manner, God will only loathe and desert him and will have no way to do more work on him. Because we do not give chances for the Holy Spirit to work on us, and do not pay attention to examining and knowing our passive states most of the time and even mistake them for normal and positive states, this has become a great difficulty in us. As God says: “At the present time, man’s crucial difficulty is that everyone has within him some imaginations, notions, wishes, and empty dreams that he himself cannot discover. There are these things mixed and accompanying man inside him constantly, and this is indeed very dangerous. … Often he himself cannot perceive them or even thinks that they are quite right and there is nothing wrong with them. When one day he stumbles because of this and becomes passive and weak and cannot rise, he himself still does not know what has gone wrong…. If man has no knowledge of himself, he will not know his own difficulties, and he will not even know what he dies of. Man is just so pitiable. …” From God’s words we see that it is very crucial to examine and know our states in time in the course of our experience. If we are muddle-headed and unconcerned, we will frequently fall into a certain state of the hidden passivity without our knowing it. This passive mentality of being indifferent and not desiring to make progress is exactly the greatest enemy to our pursuing life and the truth, as well as an extremely great hidden danger in the way for us to be saved. If we pay no attention to resolving it, we will be deserted and eliminated by the Holy Spirit because of our indifference, and eventually fall into God’s punishment and curse.
Therefore, we cannot shut our eyes to the passive states hidden in us, much less treat them lightly. At the critical time for equipping ourselves with the truth, we should clear our thoughts, carefully examine and measure ourselves against God’s word, pay attention to discerning and knowing the various abnormal states hidden in us, and seek relevant truths to resolve them, so that we can often live in a normal and positive state and enter in normally. Only thus can our life grow continuously.