Chengshi Shenyang City, Liaoning Province
In God’s work of saving man, God has required us many times to be an honest person and not a crafty one. In the man’s fellowship attached to Christ’s Talks with Church Leaders and Workers, it is also said that a crafty person is a devilish person, who can hardly be saved, and that only by being an honest person can one be commended and accepted by God. Although we also know the serious consequences of a crafty person not gaining transformation and also want to get rid of our crafty corrupt disposition and pursue to be an honest person, yet because we do not have much knowledge of the states and manifestations of a craft person, many times even when we have expressed them, we cannot realize them. As a result, we do not know our actual states in our real life, much less have the true knowledge of our crafty nature. So, today, our transformation in this aspect is still very little, and we are still extremely crafty. If this continues, it will be impossible for us to become an honest person. Here, we will list some of the representative manifestations of a crafty person, hoping that it will help us know our crafty nature, pursue the transformation of our disposition, and become an honest person whom God is pleased with.
In the following paragraphs, we will look at the various kinds of manifestations of a crafty person according to God’s word and the man’s fellowship attached to Christ’s Talks with Church Leaders and Workers.
First, a crafty person does not believe in God’s word. No matter what God says, he does not believe it. He only believes in himself as if he himself were the truth and only he himself were the most reliable. In the man’s fellowship attached to Christ’s Talks with Church Leaders and Workers, it says: “A crafty person is not only crafty toward people but also crafty toward God because his nature is crafty. From a crafty person’s attitude toward the word of God, we can see his nature: A crafty person always has doubts about the word of God; he does not quite believe the word of God. … No matter what God says, a crafty person always suspects it to be a way of speaking or to be for the sake of wisdom and he will not easily accept and practice it. … Whoever holds a doubting and disbelieving attitude toward the word of God is an out-and-out crafty person.” According to the man’s fellowship, we will list some more specific states. For example, God says: “No matter how people resisted God before, when they understand the purpose of God’s work and can make efforts to satisfy God, God will not remember any of their former sins.” A crafty person thinks that God speaks these words only to comfort people. Since he has done many things of resisting God before and had some transgressions, even if he pursues to be transformed, God will never forgive him. Again, for example, God says: “…in the end all nations will worship this ordinary person, thank this small person, and obey this small person.” A crafty person does not believe in these words. He thinks that the incarnated flesh of God cannot possibly have such great authority and power and cannot conquer the people all over the universe. A crafty person does not believe in the promises, the blessings, and the pleasant destination that God gives to man. He thinks that such a life cannot be realized at all, and that God only attracts people with these words so as to give them a goal to pursue and arouse their enthusiasm. A crafty person does not believe in God’s words about determining people’s outcomes. He thinks that God only frightens people in order that they all can follow him and dare not betray him. A crafty person does not believe in these words of God: “All evildoers and all unsaved ones … will be destroyed when the holy mankind enters into rest.” He thinks that now the world is so peaceful, technology is so advanced, and the unbelievers are so many, so God cannot destroy all these as he has said. And so on. In brief, a crafty person does not believe in God’s word at all, much less believe that all God’s words will be fulfilled. He always measures everything by his notions and cannot believe unless he sees the facts with his own eyes.
Second, a crafty person cannot accept the searching of God in speaking and doing things, and he acts one way to others’ faces and another behind their backs. God says: “You still do not thoroughly know what crookedness and craftiness are. Every action and behavior that cannot be searched by me and cannot be exposed is crookedness and craftiness.” “Some people behave very well before me but keep on resisting behind my back. This is a manifestation of being crooked and crafty….” In the man’s fellowship attached to Christ’s Talks with Church Leaders and Workers, it says: “A crafty person complies in appearance but opposes in heart, consents outwardly but disagrees inwardly, acts one way to others’ faces and another behind their backs, harbors evil intentions, is malicious-hearted, dares to do anything, and says nice words with his lips but plays devil with others behind their backs.” From these words, we see that every action and behavior that cannot be searched by God and cannot be exposed, our acting one way to others’ faces and another behind their backs, saying fair words yet not practicing the truth afterward, and behaving well before God but baring fangs and brandishing claws and daring to do anything before the Spirit, all these are the manifestations of crookedness and craftiness. For example, in treating the work arrangements from above, sometimes we say with our lips that we are willing to accept and obey it and that we have no notions or objections, but in practice, we act our own ways and do the work according to our own will. Sometimes, after we have said some words disobeying or grieving God or done something that goes against the truth, we come before God and know ourselves in bitter weeping, cry out many words of remorse, and make a resolution to start a new life to comfort God’s heart; but after that we still go our own ways and act arbitrarily. Sometimes, before the leader we behave as if we had a great burden for and were very faithful to the work committed by God’s family, were willing to pursue the truth, and particularly paid attention to our living out of humanity, but after the leader leaves, we immediately become entirely different, having no enthusiasm for actively pursuing the truth anymore, starting to perform our duties perfunctorily and deceivingly, and resuming our old living out of humanity. Sometimes, when among the brothers and sisters, we can be honest and well-behaved and have some likeness of a believer in God, but when among the unbelievers, we become different. We say whatever we want to say, do whatever we want to do, and our speeches and manners are no different from the unbelievers’. Besides, the manifestations of crookedness and craftiness also include engaging in improper sexual relations behind people’s backs, secretly spending the money of God’s family, forming a clique and making demolition, judging the brothers and sisters, and so on. We can say that all the conducts that are done one way to others’ faces and another behind their backs and that cannot be brought before God to accept his searching, are the manifestations of crookedness and craftiness.
Third, no matter what a crafty person says or does, he has his own intents and purposes, it is all for the sake of his own interests, and he makes every plan for himself. God says: “Some people do everything under the facade of doing it for the church, but in fact, they do it to gain profits for themselves. Such people do not have a right intent and are crooked and crafty. They do most things for pursuing their own interests….” In the man’s fellowship attached to Christ’s Talks with Church Leaders and Workers, it says: “A crafty person never speaks according to facts but speaks according to his own intents and purposes. He speaks in whatever way he can be benefited and in whatever way he can gain his own ends. He speaks completely for the sake of his face, for the sake of his own interests, and for the sake of his own ends.” From these words, it can be seen that a crafty person can speak against the facts for the purpose of gaining his own ends. Sometimes outwardly he speaks or does things for the sake of others or for the interests of God’s family, but in fact, he does so to gain his own ends. For example, someone is afraid that frequent going out to perform his duty would bring danger to him and would interfere in his own life, so when God’s family assigns him to perform a duty, he, under the cover of considering others, finds many excuses to refuse to perform his duty, saying that his stature is so small and he understands so little truth that he might hold up the growth of life of the brothers and sisters. Someone dislikes performing his duty away from home because he considers that it is too hard and tiring and that he cannot take care of his family, so he says, “Now God’s family needs host homes. It’s better for me to go back home to do hosting.” Someone is assigned by God’s family to perform a dangerous duty. In order to preserve himself, he overstates the fact, saying that he is well known for his belief in God, or saying, “I lack wisdom and are unfit for this duty. You’d better use another person lest I bring loss to the interests of God’s family.” Someone always asks the leader what he should do or asks others to give him advice when encountering things which are within the scope of his responsibility and which he himself can handle or decide. Outwardly he seems to be quite humble, but in fact, he does so in order that if things become improper or result in negative consequences, he can shirk his responsibility by saying that it is XX or the leader who asked him to do so, so that he will not take the blame or will take less blame. Someone wants others to help him with something, yet he does not say it straight but speaks it to others in a roundabout way, so that others will feel that he is busy and will do it on their own initiatives. Someone always complains of his difficulties before he does a work, by which he means, “You leader needs to know that this work is not easy done. Even if I cannot do it well, you cannot deal with me.” And so on. All these states and manifestations are the habitual practices of a crafty person.
Fourth, a crafty person always suspects and doubts others, and he is full of suspicions of both God and man. God says: “If you are a very crafty person, you will have guard against and suspicion about everything and everyone. So your belief in me is also based on suspicion. Such a belief can never be acknowledged by me. Since you do not have a true belief, much less do you have a truer love. You even doubt God and even suspect him at will, so you are undoubtedly a most crafty person.” From God’s words we see that a crafty person does not believe anyone, and he guards against and suspects everything and everyone. For example, when God requires people to do enough good deeds for the sake of their destinations, he suspects that God is coaxing and cheating people. When he commits some transgressions, he suspects that God cannot forgive him. When God arranges some circumstances to try and refine him, he suspects that God wants to expose and eliminate him through such circumstances. When God’s family tries to learn something about some people’s past for the purpose of selecting leaders, he suspects that God’s family wants to eliminate them after grasping their information. When God’s family assigns him to do hosting or do the work of general affairs, he suspects that God’s family is to make use of him to do service and will eliminate him when he is not needed. When God’s family assigns him to be a leader, he then begins to suspect: Maybe God’s family does not have a suitable person now and so uses me temporarily and will then replace me when a suitable person is found. There are many similar states of suspecting and guarding against God and God’s family everywhere and in everything, too many to count. Besides, a crafty person is full of suspicions of man. When others ask him one question, he suspects, “What do you mean by this question? What is your purpose? Do you try to sound me out?” When he is with others, he always observes their speeches and behavior, and when he sees they are unhappy, he begins to suspect, “What’s gone wrong? Do they despise me or have a prejudice against me?” When others talk about their corruptions according to God’s word, he suspects that they say that in a roundabout way for him to listen. When others speak their minds in prayer, he suspects, “Do they pray in this way intentionally for me to listen?” When a crafty person sees others talking together, he suspects that they are talking about him. In short, a crafty person will suspect and doubt God and man in everything he encounters.
Fifth, a crafty person always views and measures everything by his evil and unrighteous viewpoints. In the man’s fellowship attached to Christ’s Talks with Church Leaders and Workers, it says: “A crafty person cannot accept the truth and is apt to measure others’ corn by his own bushel. He himself is evil, so he suspects that others are evil. He himself cannot accept the truth, so he does not believe that others can practice the truth.” “They have no truth in their hearts, so they do not acknowledge that others are practicing the truth, and they think that others, however good, are hypocritical, and that even if there are some who practice the truth, they must be fools. They are covetous of money, so they think that others are also covetous of money. … They are evil-hearted and stare at others all day long, looking for others’ shortcomings to make a fuss over them. They hide their own secrets deep in their hearts, harbor sinister motives, and are most good at measuring others’ corn by their own bushel. …” From these we see that a crafty person is most good at measuring others’ corn by his own bushel. He believes that others will be the same kind of people as he is, and believes that God’s family will handle things in the same way as he does. A crafty person always measures everything by his evil and unrighteous viewpoints. For example, he thinks that God’s family, like society, also favors those who have a glib tongue and who can fawn and flatter, and that those who do not know how to fawn and flatter can achieve nothing. He thinks that God has no compassion for man and is narrow-minded like man, and that God will not forgive man if he has a trifling transgression. He thinks that those who preach the gospel, do the work of general affairs, or do hosting in God’s family are all service-doers, and those who God makes perfect are all leaders. But when God’s family really assigns him to be a leader, he thinks that God is to purposely reveal him, and he will be replaced and eliminated a few days later after he is promoted. When God’s family arranges for some people who perform their duties in other places to go back to their hometowns, he thinks that God’s family kills the donkey the moment it leaves the millstone and kicks people away when they are of no use. When others fellowship that there is God’s intention in the steps of God’s work, he thinks that God purposely torments people and lets them suffer. When the leader talks about the trend of God’s work, saying that time is short and the day of God is close at hand and so people should lose no time in doing more good deeds, he thinks that they are only using this way to mobilize people’s enthusiasm to preach the gospel. When a leader or a worker wears a decent coat, he thinks that it must be bought with the money of God’s family. When others point out his defects out of good intention, he thinks that they have prejudices against him and look down on him and are looking for a bone in an egg, or thinks that they are laughing at him and making a fool of him. And so on.
Sixth, a crafty person, while performing his duty, barters with God at any time and in everything. God says: “Now those who do evil and who are crooked and crafty also spare no effort to pursue to make progress and pursue to make active efforts after reading my words, wanting to sneak into my kingdom by paying a small price….” In the man’s fellowship attached to Christ’s Talks with Church Leaders and Workers, it says: “A crafty person, while performing his duty, barters with God at all times. He wants wages when he expends himself a little, wants blessings when he performs some duty, and wants enjoyment when he does some work, very much fearing that he will suffer loss if he does not seek enjoyment….” “Some people may be expending themselves against their will. It is only because they see the day of God is close at hand that they begin to give up themselves for God. Besides, while performing their duties, they often deliberate: ‘What if God’s day will come in two years? Won’t I suffer loss?’ It is not hard to see that people have been crafty in the extreme and their mind of dealing is far too developed.” From these we see that no matter what a crafty person does, he takes “for self and benefit self” as his reason and follows the principle of “gaining advantages only and suffering no losses.” No matter what he does, he will weigh gains and losses and advantages and disadvantages. He will not do it if it is unprofitable and will not do it if he gains no advantages from it. He will never do things that bring no reward and that can make him suffer loss. Even if he believes in God, he barters with God in everything. Once he expends a little, he hurries to live off capital, for fear that he might suffer loss. His mind of dealing is very developed, and even in the dream he wants to gain advantages. He always wants to get great blessings in return at little expending. For example, someone focuses on the day of God while expending himself for God. Suppose there are still two years before the day of God comes; he will not come out to perform his duty until there is half a year left. If the day of God does not come half a year later, he begins to feel regretful. Someone believes in God just for receiving blessings and he always worries about his future and destinies. When he feels that his future is bright, he has great enthusiasm to pursue; once he feels that his future is dismal, he will be disappointed and will write himself off as hopeless and act recklessly, thinking that it is meaningless for him to believe in God if he cannot gain blessings. Someone performs his duty reluctantly in God’s family for the purpose of receiving blessings, having pleasant destinations, and not falling into disasters. Someone always wants to perform some light duty, wishing to gain blessings eventually without undergoing any tiredness or suffering, or show himself off through performing his duty, distinguish himself, and be regarded highly. Once his desire is not satisfied, he will betray God and leave God. And so on. All these are the dealing behavior that a crafty person is most good at.
Seventh, a crafty person consents outwardly but disagrees inwardly, and he thinks one way and acts another. He never tells the truth, never opens himself, and is particularly good at justifying, vindicating, and disguising himself. God says: “When you see the mysteries, you all have some response. Although you do not agree or acknowledge in your hearts, you acknowledge with your lips. This kind of people is most crafty.…” “Some people never tell the truth and are good at disguise; but if people stay with them for a long time, they will find that they are too crafty by nature and are not honest at all.…” In the man’s fellowship attached to Christ’s Talks with Church Leaders and Workers, it says: “Among those I come into contact with, there are really some people who never speak their minds to me. I have seen his state very clearly, but he never opens his heart and says one honest word and he always sophisticates and covers things up. No matter how many innermost thoughts you speak to him, you cannot move him. He simply disguises himself as a holy one, and no one can read his heart.…” From these words we see that a crafty person is very good at sophisticating and covering things up and very good at disguising himself, so that others cannot sense what he is thinking in his heart and do not know what state he is in. He never exposes his true features to others, but disguises himself as a holy one, making others feel that he has no corruptions. For example, when God’s work does not conform to his notions, he is full of resistance in his heart, not cooperative at all, and even wants to betray God. But when others ask him what he thinks about it, he refuses to open himself but says instead, “Everything God does is good. I’m willing to obey. I have no particular thought.” When he fellowships with others, he never speaks his mind to them, because he thinks that he will suffer loss if he tells the truth to others and lets them know his true state. Even when he prays to God, he does not speak his true state or his mind to God but just says some hypocritical words of thanksgiving and praise and some superficial words to treat God perfunctorily. When someone does something that hurts him, he evidently owes the other a grudge and has a deep prejudice against him and has expressed many corruptions. But when the other wants to talk to him with an open heart, he says, “It’s no big deal. I didn’t mind it at all.” When the leader wants to learn something about his work and state in this period of time, he only talks about the good results achieved in his duty and his positive state, but says nothing about or skates over his passive state and the loopholes in his work. When he fellowships about knowing himself, he never lays bare his corruptions. Even sometimes when he mentions some, he touches on them lightly. All that he talks about are some outward corruptions that are known to everyone, and he never exposes the ugly things in the depths of his soul. When he does something and brings loss to the work of God’s family, he never faces the truth of the matter to admit his mistake or know himself, but does his utmost to cover it up and sophisticate and look for the objective causes, and even shifts the blame onto others to preserve his fame and position. When he does not do well the thing entrusted by others, he tries his best to justify and vindicate himself, very much fearing that others would misunderstand him or have a bad impression on him. And so on.
Eighth, what a crafty person says and does is all for preserving himself, and he is crafty and smooth in speaking and handling things. When he deals with others, he always observes their speeches and behavior, caters to their pleasure, says sweet words to please them, and does superficial works. He is good at fawning and flattering, trimming his tails to the wind, and acting according to circumstances. He is worldly-wise and plays safe, never offending anyone, and does not say one true word. In the man’s fellowship attached to Christ’s Talks with Church Leaders and Workers, it says: “A crooked and crafty person stops at nothing to preserve himself and gain his own ends. He absolutely does not have a sense of justice, and even if he does some proper things, it is not natural and cannot move others.…” “When a crafty person deals with others, he always battles wits with them and gains advantages from them and is apt to play with them.… A crafty person, when speaking and handling things, beats about the bush and harbors murderous intent behind his smiles. He talks in one way and acts in another.… A crafty person harbors sinister motives, acts according to circumstances, behaves affectedly, and has too much hypocrisy and insincerity. He is loathed by both God and man.” From these we see that a crafty person deals with others with philosophies of life, taking the satanic logics as his principles of handling things, such as “keeping on the right side of everyone,” “choosing less responsibility than more responsibility,” “letting things drift if they do not affect him personally,” and “for self and benefit self.” For example, when he sees that the leader has acted against the principles, he does not point it out, for fear that he would offend the leader and the leader would make things difficult for him. When he sees that the brothers and sisters have deficiencies or do not practice the truth, he does not point them out for fear that they would hate him rather than accept. When he sees the evildoers disturb the church or events of damaging the interests of God’s family occur, he does not come forward courageously but does his best to shirk it or escape it, for fear that it might cause trouble to him and get him involved. When he sees that the brothers and sisters of the host family have a poor sense of safety or behave improperly in some aspects, he does not fellowship about the truth with them, for fear that they would have a critical view of him or give him the cold shoulder or be unwilling to receive him. When he is with others, he will say whatever they like to hear and do whatever things they like after his observation. He is overcautious and indecisive in speaking and doing things, either fearing that he cannot maintain his relationship with this person or fearing that he might offend that person. When the leader asks about his information and prepares to use him, if he perceives that it is to select a leader, he will introduce himself as if he met the requirements for being a leader; if he perceives that it is to select a person who is in charge of the general affairs, he will immediately say that he has no wisdom. When he wants to know something, he does not ask about it directly, for fear that others might have a bad opinion of him; so he asks around or tries to draw it from others. When he talks with others, he always hesitates or tries to cover things up. He speaks as he ponders; he says whatever words that are beneficial to him and says in whatever way that others cannot catch him out.
Ninth, a crafty person always performs his duty perfunctorily and deceivingly and cheats God. He does not hold responsible for God and is not faithful to God. In the man’s fellowship attached to Christ’s Talks with Church Leaders and Workers, it says: “Crafty people, while performing their duties, do not have the least intention to show consideration for God, even less have the intention to satisfy God, but always want to seek gains from it and disregard the interests of God’s family for the sake of meeting their own selfish desires. It is thus clear that crafty people perform their duties all for themselves, that what they consider are their own interests, and that they give no consideration to the interests of God’s family at all. So, crafty people, while performing their duties, always treat God perfunctorily and deceivingly and cheat God, and thus are loathed by God.” According to these words, let us look at some specific states and manifestations: A crafty person, in treating the work committed by God’s family, always first weighs how much it will benefit him. If he finds that he can gain many benefits and profits from it, he will go all out to do it; if he feels that it cannot benefit him a lot, he will be sluggish and do it perfunctorily. A crafty person, while performing his duty, does not care for God’s intention at all and does not give priority to the work of God’s family, and he can disregard the interests of God’s family for the sake of preserving his own position and fame or the interests of his family. A crafty person spares effort in performing his duty and does not seek to achieve the best results. He thinks that it will be enough as long as his work is passable and no serious flaw can be found in it so that he can preserve his position and cannot be replaced. A crafty person, while performing his duty, just goes through the motions for saving troubles and is unwilling to suffer and pay the price. He neither seeks or investigates nor looks into how to do to achieve the best results but only does it superficially and perfunctorily, always feeling that it doesn’t pay to treat everything seriously and thus suffer much more than others. A crafty person, like an employee, needs to be kept an eye on, guarded, imposed on, and checked before he can perform his duty honestly and properly; otherwise, he will do it in an easy and slick way. A crafty person always does superficial works in performing his duty. As to the works that the leader often asks about or the problems that can be seen outwardly, he treats them seriously; but as to the problems existing in the churches, he is unconcerned about and turns a blind eye to them, because he feels that even if he does not solve them, the leader cannot find them easily. A crafty person is most good at putting on a false appearance to cheat others; in treating the work committed by God’s family, outwardly he gives others the impression that he is very obedient and is very responsible, but behind their backs, he behaves differently and does not do any practical work. A crafty person, in treating the events arising in the church that people are deceived and the churches are disturbed, does not care for God’s intention to do his utmost to protect God’s chosen people from being deceived, but just goes through the motions and does not take the brothers’ and sisters’ life seriously, allowing them to be captured by satan. All these are a crafty person’s manifestations of treating God perfunctorily and deceivingly and cheating God in performing his duty.
Tenth, a crafty person, while believing in God, cannot give his heart to God, but always harbors selfish desires and always plans and prepares for his way of escape, very much fearing that he would be left with nothing if he gives his whole heart to God. In the man’s fellowship attached to Christ’s Talks with Church Leaders and Workers, it says: “In people’s hearts, they think that if they surrender their hearts to God, they will suffer heavy losses and will surely head for the cross. So, people all steer their own boats carefully and decide everything for themselves, feeling that it is reliable for them to be their own masters, that it is still they who treat themselves best, and that it is most suitable for them to control themselves. As a result, they achieve no results at all after having believed in God for so many years.” “However, it is extremely difficult for those crafty people to speak honestly and do things honestly, and they would rather go to hell than do these. What is this all about? It seems that if they say an honest word or do an honest thing, they will suffer a heavy loss, and if they give their hearts to others, they will be left with nothing.” From these we see that a crafty person distrust God and never gives his heart to God. He always has his own plans and always considers and prepares for himself. If he gives everything to God, he will feel insecure, fearing that one day God will bring him to a dead end, and he believes it is safer that he should steer his own boat carefully. For example, some people always think that although they have believed in God, they cannot give up their families and works; so even if God’s work does not end, they can have a way of retreat. Some have performed their duties away from home, but they are often concerned for their family members and always keep in contact with them, because they fear that if they cannot stay in God’s family, they can have a place to put their feet when they go back. Some believe in God but only follow the herd. They think that they cannot abandon their families and their family members like those who perform their duties away from home with their whole heart and strength. If so, they will be too stupid. It is better for them to believe in God while not being held up from living their own lives. If they gain blessings, they are lucky; if they gain no blessings, they do not suffer any losses. Some hosting families have financial source and their family condition is pretty good, so they are entirely capable of bearing the reception fee; but they always ask for money from God’s family, for fear that they would become poor after their money runs out. Some brothers and sisters who perform their duties away from home always feel that they have forsaken their families, their lands have become waste, and they have given up making money and thus have no financial source, so they are concerned for themselves: If I am sent home later, what should I do? How should I live? They always feel unsteady and cannot keep their minds on performing their duties. In short, crafty people are always full of misgivings and distrust God, and they are unwilling to give their hearts to God and walk the path of belief in God assuredly and boldly.
The various kinds of states and manifestations of a crafty person that we have mentioned above exist in every one of us in different degrees. Although the duties we perform and the circumstances and backgrounds we are in are different, the things in our nature are the same and are all crookedness and craftiness, and what we express are almost the same. If we can compare us against what we have mentioned above by analogy, can pay attention to the various kinds of manifestations of craftiness we express in our real life, grasp our real states, and have a deeper knowledge of our nature according to the judgment and exposing of God’s word, then we will see how contemptible, ugly, and shameless we are, we will acknowledge from the bottom of our hearts that “man’s heart is deceitful above all things,” “crafty people are devilish ones,” and crafty people really ought to be eliminated, cursed, and destroyed. Then we will hate our crafty nature from our hearts, be willing to forsake the flesh and practice the truth, and pursue to be an honest person whom God is pleased with.