3 How to Resolve the Problem of Performing Duty Perfunctorily and Deceitfully
Ding Yu Weifang City, Shandong Province
Most of us desire to be faithful to God in our duties to satisfy God, but in performing our duties, we often treat God perfunctorily and deceitfully and cheat God in spite of ourselves, and are always unable to exert all our strength to perform our duties faithfully. So, we have never achieved the desired results in our work, and our life entering is also hindered greatly. We feel deeply distressed about this, wondering: Why do we always disobey and resist God though we desire to satisfy him? What are the causes? How can we resolve the problem of our performing duties perfunctorily and deceitfully?
First of all, we must find out the root of our always performing duties perfunctorily and deceitfully. This is the key to resolving this problem. If we cannot find out the root, we will easily put effort into dealing with superficial things and fuss about our outward practices. If so, our problem of performing duties perfunctorily and deceitfully will never be truly resolved. In the man’s fellowship attached to Christ’s Talks with Church Leaders and Workers, it says: “Having been corrupted by satan, everyone has a crooked and crafty corrupt disposition, even the most honest and kind ones. So, all can treat God perfunctorily and deceitfully and cheat God in performing duty. This is an undeniable fact. … Actually, in performing duty, no one likes to treat God perfunctorily and deceitfully and cheat God but all want to satisfy God; however, without knowing it, they have involuntarily done perfunctory and deceitful things to cheat God. It shows that man’s craftiness and deceit have become his nature.” “In everyone’s nature, he puts ‘profit’ in the first place; his ‘conscientiousness’ can only be brought on by profit; and without profit, he does everything perfunctorily and deceitfully. This is man’s nature and is also a characteristic of corrupt mankind. People all seek nothing but profits, so they do everything perfunctorily and deceitfully and in a just-to-get-by manner.” From these words, we can see that our tendency to treat God perfunctorily and deceitfully and cheat God in performing our duties has a direct bearing on our nature of being crooked and crafty and seeking nothing but profits. Because we are crafty by nature and are greatly selfish, we only think about our own interests in every aspect and in everything, and we fully take “benefiting the self and for the self” as our principle of living. We only diligently do those things we consider profitable to us, but toward those we consider unprofitable, we take a perfunctory and deceitful attitude and are unwilling to pay any price, for fear that we may suffer losses. Because we have the nature of being crooked and crafty and seeking nothing but profits, therefore in performing our duties, we treat God perfunctorily and deceitfully and cheat God in spite of ourselves, and when we encounter things that affect our personal interests, it is even more natural for us to safeguard our own interests. For example, when we go around the churches, we are always content with having said what we need to say; and as to the problems we find out, we turn a blind eye to them and do not want to take the trouble to solve them, or, though we sometimes deal with them, we just go through the motions for fear that our flesh may suffer and get tired. In the selection of leaders, although we clearly know that some leader is unfit for use and should be replaced, because he is poor at fellowshipping about the truth, yet we put up with his unfitness and continue using him, as we see that he can forsake everything and can attend the meetings for days without being bound by his family and that we do not need to worry much about his management and arrangement of general affairs. We also know that someone meets the conditions for selection as a leader in God’s family, but we do not use him, because he is bound by his family and cannot leave home to perform his duty. Besides, if we use him, we will have to fellowship with him and help him solve his present difficulties, and moreover, he is little informed of all the principles and is also inexperienced, so we will have to teach him to do the work from the very beginning, and have to concern ourselves a lot with whatever work he does and often inquire of him about it, which will really tax our brain and strength. In the gospel work, whenever we have the gospel meeting, we merely fellowship some ways and methods to preach the gospel, and we neither supervise the work nor care about how these ways and methods should be properly used, because if we supervise it, we will have to help the brothers and sisters analyze some specific gospel clues and help them plan and arrange the evangelization, which is rather troublesome. In carrying out the work arrangement, we do not arrange and assign the work concretely according to the practical requirements of the work arrangement and afterward supervise and check up on the work; instead, we only fellowship about the work arrangement casually and then casually inquire about the work, yet we think it is all right. In training the people, we do not pay attention to looking for the right ones at usual times, so when it becomes necessary to make an adjustment in the use of some leader, we tear down the east wall to repair the west, casually picking one and using him. As a result, only after a few days, we find him unfit for the work and we have to replace him. During our preaching the gospel, when we see that some gospel friend has many notions though he is young, educated, thirsty, and active in pursuing, we give him up and go to evangelize some muddled old people who have some zeal and have no notions, because in doing so, we do not need to pay much price but will make others see the results. We will achieve two things at one stroke, obtaining both fame and gain. And so on. From all these expressions, we can see that in performing our duties, we do not have a heart to satisfy God at all, nor do we have a sense of responsibility to fulfill them faithfully at all costs; what we are following is indeed such a principle of living as is “for the self and benefiting the self,” the principle of gaining advantages only and suffering no losses; and we are altogether treating God perfunctorily, and it is absolutely in order to gain blessings and achieve our own ends that we reluctantly perform some duties. We are so selfish and crafty! Our intents are so base and are really hurting God! Today, God has told us the truths in every aspect concerning the significance of performing duty, the blessing of God, the future destination of mankind, etc.; however, we are too crafty by nature, so we always take a suspicious and doubtful attitude toward God’s word, and before we are certain whether it will really profit us to perform duty, we can never do the works of God’s family diligently as valuable things or as our own things, but always do them half-heartedly and perfunctorily. I realize this deeply from my own experience. When I was in the world, in order to make money I rose early and slept late and bustled about every day, and I even worked through the night frequently but without any complaints. No matter what great difficulties I encountered, I could think of ways to work them out, and even make every effort to solve them still better. However, when it comes to doing the work entrusted by God’s family, if I have run a few more miles or done the work a little more than others, I feel aggrieved and think that I have suffered losses; besides, I merely do the work with a get-it-over-and-done-with attitude, and never think and consider how to achieve the best results. Although outwardly I am buzzing around doing the work with ardor, yet I know it clearly in my heart that I exert myself reluctantly and passively, only exerting a little strength, and that I am not doing it diligently with all my heart and ability and might. Even though sometimes I take some hard thinking to cooperate, it is also for myself, and it is a temporary effort made for my own interests, either for my position, for my fame and gain, for my ingratiation with my leader, or for my face and vanity. Once my desire is not satisfied, I will follow my own nature to do the work perfunctorily and deceitfully, and even be slack in my work and totally ignore the interests of God’s family. This has really exposed what I am! Dissecting carefully our perfunctory and deceitful behavior, we can see that the satanic nature of being crooked and crafty and seeking nothing but profits is the root of our performing duties perfunctorily and deceitfully. As we are greatly selfish, we are always afraid of suffering losses and unwilling to spend ourselves. As we are crooked and crafty by nature, we are always bargaining and favoring calculation, and we can never take the things unprofitable to us seriously, even less do those things that will cause us to suffer losses. Therefore, in order to no longer perform our duties perfunctorily and deceitfully, we must know our crafty nature of being self-concerned, calculating, and being unwilling to expend ourselves for God, and thus forsake the “for gain and for the self” satanic poison in us and no longer speak or do things by it.
Secondly, we must see clearly the substance and the dangerous consequences of performing duty perfunctorily and deceitfully. This is also very important. Failing to do so, we will not become aware how serious the problem is or develop a heart that fears God, nor will we watch our actions and behavior, and even less will we pursue the truth on our own initiative and thus perform our duties faithfully. In the man’s fellowship, it says: “The fact that mankind can cheat God proves that they have become a hostile force against God and have completely regarded God as the opposite side. Those who can cheat God absolutely have no fear of God. As they can cheat God, they, of course, are God’s enemies. The fact is just that terrible.” From these words we can see that the substance of perfunctoriness and deceit is cheat, betrayal, and hostility to God, which is bitterly hated by God. In essence, performing duty perfunctorily and deceitfully is frustrating and disturbing the work of God’s family, and it is altogether the deeds of satan. Some people may think that it is somewhat exaggerated to say so and that the problem is not as serious as that. Then, let us dissect a few examples. In the work of purging the wicked from the churches, someone violated the work arrangement and kept certain wicked persons in the church according to his emotions and preferences. This left some hidden troubles in the work of God’s family and afforded satan opportunities to work. In resolving the problem of false christs’ deceiving people, someone set his mind on his flesh and did the work perfunctorily and deceitfully. So, he did not fellowship with the brothers and sisters in time about the relevant truths and the dangerous consequences of following false christs, nor did he do the remedial work properly after the false christ deceived them. As a result, many brothers and sisters were deceived and fell into the trap of the false christ. God’s family constantly emphasized that we should put safety first in whatever work we did. However, someone was always careless and never observed the safety principles. Finally his negligence brought persecution upon God’s family, so that the church work came to a standstill for a long time and the brothers’ and sisters’ life suffered great losses. Didn’t these dire consequences all result from our giving no serious thought to our work and doing it perfunctorily and deceitfully? Weren’t these manifestations deeds of cheating and betraying God? God loathes the most that people cheat him. If we always perform our duties in a perfunctory way and with a hireling’s attitude, and cannot treat the commission given by God’s family with a sincere heart and expend ourselves for God with all our might, then we will be detested by God and thus lose the working of the Holy Spirit and fall into darkness. In that case, we will not achieve results in our work or gain the transformation of our life disposition. And we will even commit various transgressions because of performing our duties perfunctorily and deceitfully and will thus be rejected by God and despised by all people. Take a sister whom I knew for example. She performed her duty perfunctorily and deceitfully all along, being negligent and irresponsible in every work. Despite of repeated fellowship, she refused to mend her way. Consequently, she made a mess of the work and brought great losses to the interests of God’s family and the life of the brothers and sisters: The brothers and sisters became passive and weak, and the number of the people they won every month through preaching of the gospel was less than that of those who dropped out. The people in charge of the general affairs got into dangerous situations, and some evangelists were arrested. A sum of money was embezzled by a wicked person because of not properly kept by principles. The works required by the above that should be carried out promptly were also delayed by her. And so on. All that she did incurred God’s loathing and hatred, and eventually she was dismissed and sent home. She lived in darkness and suffered unspeakably. Another is the case of “Zhenxin,” a sister known to us all. Wasn’t she also eliminated by God because she completely disregarded the interests of God’s family in the work and did it perfunctorily and deceitfully and cheated God in order to achieve her own ends? Today, in our duties, if we cannot offer our loyalty to God and achieve all that our instinct can achieve, but still remain perfunctory toward God and cheat God time and again, then we will end up like “Zhenxin,” because God is a righteous God and his disposition tolerates no offense. At present, God has not punished us for our perfunctoriness and cheat, because he is merciful and gracious to us and he overlooks our transgressions and gives us enough opportunities to repent and make a fresh start. Yet if we still muddle along and pay no attention to resolving our corruption of being perfunctory and deceitful, then we will commit more and more transgressions, even to the extent that we will provoke God’s anger and be eliminated and punished by God. Just as God’s word says: “If in his service one cannot express what he should express and cannot do what he is able to do, but acts deceitfully and perfunctorily, he has lost the function he should have as a created being. Such a person is a so-called ‘good-for-nothing’ and is a useless one. How could such a person be called a worthy created being? Isn’t he a rotten thing that is fair without and foul within? …Such people and such good-for-nothings as you are simply not worthy to enjoy any heavenly grace. You will only be accompanied by miserable days and endless punishment! If you cannot be faithful to me, your destiny will be to suffer. If you cannot be responsible for my word and work, your outcome will be to be punished. And you will have no share in such things as grace, blessings, and the wonderful life in the kingdom. That will be the end you deserve, and it will be reaping what you have sown!” So, we should see clearly the substance and the pernicious effects of our performing duties perfunctorily and deceitfully, and should always warn ourselves never again to perform our duties perfunctorily and deceitfully and cheat God without scruple. Our today’s perfunctoriness and cheat is increasingly provoking God’s wrath for our tomorrow and accumulating evil deeds for our destination. Our doing so can only cause us to lose God’s salvation and thus forfeit ourselves.
If we want to resolve the problem of our performing duties perfunctorily and deceitfully, we also need to find concrete ways to practice. Let us read a passage from the man’s fellowship: “If you want to perform your duty without perfunctoriness or deceit and without cheating God, you have to be an honest person. While performing your duty, you must accept pruning and dealing and have yourself searched by the Spirit of God; besides, you need to practice strictly according to God’s requirements. Once you find your perfunctoriness and deceit, you should pray to God. Once you find that you have cheated God, you should confess your transgression; you should not cover it up or disguise yourself, much less distort the fact to shift the blame onto others. You have to be serious like this in doing things….” This passage has clearly pointed out to us the ways to perform our duties without perfunctoriness and deceit and without cheating God. That is, we can enter in and practice from the following aspects.
First, we must face the true fact and accept dealings and pruning. We all unconsciously and involuntarily perform our duties in a perfunctory and deceitful way, and besides, we are arrogant and conceited and self-right by nature. So, without dealings and pruning, we will not easily know in which aspect we have performed our duties perfunctorily and deceitfully but will consider ourselves very faithful; without dealings and pruning, we will easily become self-content, and will not find that we lack too much or realize that what we have done falls far short of God’s requirements; without dealings and pruning, we will not have a deeper knowledge of our perfunctoriness and deceit, and accordingly, we will not easily gain the transformation of it. Only through dealings and pruning can we see clearly the fact that we perform our duties perfunctorily and deceitfully. Only after we have suffered and been refined in dealings can we have a true hatred of our crafty, deceitful, and self-seeking nature, and have a real abhorrence of our perfunctory and deceitful corrupt disposition, and can we then repent bitterly and pay attention to resolving and transforming it. Nevertheless, having been corrupted by satan too deeply, we are by nature arrogant and conceited, self-important and self-right, and vain, and we like to enjoy reputation and honor, so it is difficult for us to face up to the true fact. Thus, when we are dealt with and pruned, we often try our best to justify and vindicate ourselves so as to preserve our face and position, and we even reject, evade, and exercise passive resistance to it, simply unwilling to accept it. For example, when we consider that we have spared no effort in our work, but our leaders find that there are some deviations and holes in it, we often feel wronged and distressed, and are unconvinced and disgruntled in our heart, refusing to admit doing the work perfunctorily and deceitfully. When we are dealt with and pruned for violating the work arrangement and doing the work according to our own ideas, we often explain and vindicate ourselves and overemphasize the objective factors to preserve our face. When the brothers and sisters point out to us our deviations in the work, we not only do not seriously examine and know ourselves, but on the contrary, hold prejudice against them and think that they are picking on us. Because we reject dealings and pruning, we do not truly know the substance and the various manifestations of our perfunctoriness and deceit although we have followed God for years; thus, even though we want to get rid of our perfunctoriness and deceit and be faithful to God, we are powerless to do so. Therefore, we must realize that dealings and pruning are indeed what we need, and that they are indispensable for resolving the problem of our perfunctoriness and deceit. Henceforth, when we are dealt with and pruned again, we should face up to the true facts, quiet ourselves before God to do soul-searching seriously and know the various manifestations of our treating God perfunctorily and deceitfully, and accept God’s chastisement and judgment. Only by doing so will we have less and less perfunctoriness and deceit.
Secondly, we must have ourselves searched by God in everything. We are willful and unscrupulous by nature, so if we are free from restraint and do not have ourselves searched by God, we will follow our own nature and do things according to our own will without considering God’s will at all, and we will indulge our flesh, deceive and cheat God unscrupulously, and do those things of resisting God. As a result, we will be loathed and rejected by God. For example, when someone fellowshipped with the brothers and sisters in a meeting, he knew clearly that what he was communicating were doctrines, but he kept on talking in order to save his face. And he even thought, “Anyhow, the brothers and sisters can’t perceive it and others won’t know it either.” So, he became inwardly dark and lost the revelation and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Another one was a leader of the churches in a certain area. As he assumed himself to be under nobody’s personal charge and supervision, he acted willfully and unscrupulously and did whatever he wanted. Eventually he became a local tyrant in the churches and was thus eliminated. Another one was a worker. When he performed his duty, he indulged in the enjoyment of his position. Instead of setting an example of doing the practical work toward God, he stood in the position of a leader issuing orders and making a show of his domineering influence. Consequently, he lost the working of the Holy Spirit and was thus eliminated. Another leader violated the work arrangement in training people and selecting people. He thought that God’s family was far away and would not know what he was doing if he kept it secret. He selected some people who could forsake everything outwardly and who were eloquent to undertake the work. As a result, he made a mess of the work and could not account for that. And I had a similar experience, which is still vivid in my memory. It was in a meeting, and my leader inquired after my state and work. At that time, my state was obviously not good and there were also many problems and difficulties in my work. But for the sake of my vanity and face, I concealed the true fact. As a result, those problems and difficulties in the work were not promptly resolved, and my state went from bad to worse. Eventually, I made a big mess of the work and brought great losses to the interests of God’s family. All these lessons of the failures sufficiently show us that if one cannot have himself searched by God, he will treat God perfunctorily and cheat God at any time and will not fear God; and in doing things, he will be audacious and presumptuous and will do them willfully and unscrupulously according to his own ideas, and he will even do those things of offending God’s disposition. Eventually, he will be detested and eliminated by God.
On the contrary, if we believe that our actions and behavior, even our every idea and thought, are in God’s sight and under his searching, we will be cautious and honest in whatever we do. Thus, we will have less and less perfunctoriness and deceit in performing our duties. For example, when carrying out the work of purging the wicked from the churches, we wanted to seize this opportunity to purge from the church those brothers and sisters who were often passive and unwilling to perform duties, because we did not want to spent more effort on them. Yet we dared not commit such a willful transgression before God, because we believed that God searches everything and we feared God. For another example, when we had the meeting with the brothers and sisters and encountered a problem we were unclear about, we had the thought of pretending to understand it and just giving a perfunctory fellowship to preserve our face and position. But knowing that none of our words or deeds could escape God’s eyes, we dared not give such a fellowship according to our flesh; instead, we could humble ourselves and seek the revelation of the Holy Spirit together with the brothers and sisters. From this we see that if we can have ourselves searched by God all the time and in everything and have a heart that fears God, we will not dare to do things willfully and unscrupulously, our conduct of cheating and deceiving God will become less and less, and we will perform our duties more and more according to God’s heart’s desire. As God’s word says: “Your every intent and every thought and idea should be brought before God to let God examine. … Practicing this will be helpful to your growing in life. The process of having yourself searched by God is a process for you to be purified. The more you have yourself searched by God, the more you will be purified, the more you will be after God’s heart. And you will not act unrestrainedly and your heart will live before God. The more you have yourself searched by God, the more satan will be put to shame, the more you will be able to forsake your flesh. Therefore, to have yourself searched by God is a way you should practice by.”
Thirdly, if we want to perform our duties properly and without perfunctoriness and deceit, we must do the work in strict accordance with God’s requirements and the work arrangements. And whenever we find that we perform our duties perfunctorily and deceitfully and cheat God, we should confess our transgression instead of concealing or disguising it, or even distorting the fact and shifting the blame onto others. As we are crooked and crafty by nature, we often do things against God’s requirements to safeguard our personal interests; and we know clearly that we have treated God perfunctorily and deceitfully and cheated God, yet we find many high-sounding reasons and excuses to conceal the fact, and we even shift the blame onto others by means of lies, sophistry, and deceit. For example, we paid no attention to talent seeking and training at usual times. When the church needed talent but could not find any, instead of searching for the reasons in ourselves, we reported that the brothers and sisters were with poor qualities, in order to conceal our perfunctoriness and deceit. Sometimes when we brought losses to the interests of God’s family because of our perfunctoriness and deceit and God’s family investigated where the responsibility lay, we wept bitterly and appeared to extremely repent and hate ourselves. But in fact, we had no true knowledge of our perfunctoriness and deceit, and we only tried to win others’ sympathy and trust through the outward disguise. When we did the work in coordination with others, if there were holes and deviations found in the work, we gave every detail of our striving for the results so as to absolve ourselves of responsibility and shift the blame onto others in disguised form. And so on. Because we did not admit our transgressions but disguised them or covered them up, we do not have the knowledge of our conduct of treating God perfunctorily and deceitfully and cheating God, to say nothing of gaining the transformation of it. If we continue to do so, we will never be free from this kind of transgression, so that we will never be able to meet God’s requirements. Therefore, at usual times, we should treat our every word and deed seriously, practice and enter in strictly according to God’s requirements, and exercise to speak and do things in a down-to-earth manner and without any falsehood. And once we find we have perfunctoriness and deceit, we should not forgive ourselves but should treat them seriously; we should not only repent and confess to God, but we should bare and expose our transgressions and confess them openly. If we exercise and enter in persistently like this, we will have fewer and fewer states of performing duties perfunctorily and deceitfully.
In addition, to resolve the problem of our performing duties perfunctorily and deceitfully, we also need to seek God more, do everything by the requirements of God and the principles of God’s family, and often measure and check ourselves with God’s requirements to see whether we have achieved the best results in whatever we do. And we should never be complacent or live in our imaginations. Besides, we need to do everything with a heart that loves and satisfies God, and need to consciously give up our personal interests and put God’s satisfaction above everything else. If we invariably practice in this way, we will have less and less perfunctoriness and deceit in performing our duties.
We have briefly fellowshipped about the several ways to resolve our perfunctoriness and deceit. However, we also should be clear that it is no easy matter to truly resolve our perfunctoriness and deceit and thereby perform our duties faithfully, and that we can never resolve it in one day or in a breeze. In the course of resolving it, we need to spend more effort on God’s word to know the substance and root of our perfunctoriness and deceit and see more clearly our baseness and ugliness. Besides, we need God to expose and discipline us, need to willingly accept God’s chastisement, judgment, pruning, and dealing, and also need to have ourselves searched by God in everything and do things in strict accordance with God’s requirements. Anyhow, as long as we have faith and stamina and can cooperate with God perseveringly, we will get rid of our perfunctory and deceitful corrupt disposition step by step and become ones who perform their duties faithfully.