In Your Experience, How Much Practical Understanding Do You Have of God’s Salvation?
Since I was small, I had always had a strong desire to be better than others. No matter what group of people I was in, I always sought to be the best. While I was still at school, though I had an average mind and my grades weren’t outstanding, I studied very hard so that I wouldn’t fall behind the other students. Teachers praised me for my desire to make progress, and relatives also praised me for being such a diligent student and taking my studies so seriously. I would often feel proud of myself for receiving their praise and getting favorable comments from them, and I considered myself top of my age group. After I’d accepted God’s work in the last days, I came to understand some truths by reading God’s words and living the church life, and I saw that, no matter what disposition God expresses, whether it be mercy, lovingkindness or righteous judgment and chastisement, they are all God’s true love for man. My heart was moved and inspired by God’s love, and I felt that the only right path in life was to believe in God and seek to be perfected by God. I therefore made a resolution to pursue the truth in earnest, to give up everything and expend myself for God to repay His love. But because my deeply-rooted corrupt disposition and satanic nature had not yet been resolved, I still sought to distinguish myself and to make others look highly upon me when performing my duties. I remember one time when I was given the choice of two duties, and without any hesitation whatsoever I chose the duty that I thought would cause others to look highly upon me. Once I’d started this duty, a sense of superiority arose in my heart, so much so that I looked down on other brothers and sisters, thinking that they were only doing common duties, whereas I was performing an important duty, and that I was a person of talent in God’s family.
In June 2016, I started performing a duty that required me to use English. This was something I’d never dared to even dream of, and my heart was totally elated. I hadn’t expected to see a day when I could distinguish myself, and I had always used to feel distressed about not being smart enough, thinking that I’d be like this the rest of my life and that I had no great future prospects. Little did I realize that even lilies of the field have a spring too, and my spring had come at last. This was a turning point in my life and it was the beginning of the realization of my dreams—I would show my skills to the best of my ability. Thinking this, I felt so elated. How I wished I could immediately tell this news to my brothers and sisters in the church at home, letting them know what duty I was doing. I was even beginning to imagine how envious my brothers and sisters would feel once they came to know that I was doing this duty…. While I was so immersed in happiness and joy that I had forgotten myself completely, God’s judgment and chastisement came upon me again and again …
Though the brothers and sisters around me were young, they could read English very fluently and their pronunciation was very clear. In their everyday lives, they often used English to converse with each other, and they even used English to communicate and exchange ideas during meetings and when performing their duties. Compared with them, my English was so much poorer, and I felt both admiration and anxiety. At the same time, I quietly gave myself encouragement: “It doesn’t matter. As long as I study hard, I’ll catch up with you one day, and even surpass you.” In the days that followed, I rose up early and went to bed late so that I would have time to memorize vocabulary and read English. In my free time, I would always wonder how I could be more efficient at my duty, and whenever someone said about some experience they’d had in their professional work, I would note it down straight away. Every time I listened to an audio file while I did my duty, I recorded the time it took to finish it, in order to see whether or not I’d made any progress…. In the blink of an eye, several months had passed and, although I’d studied hard and made some progress, the results I obtained in my duties were still so much poorer than those obtained by my brothers and sisters. When I used English to exchange ideas with others, I would often express myself inaccurately, so afterward my brothers and sisters would always help me to correct my mistakes. When discussing work, the views and suggestions I offered were mostly useless. Thinking of how I wasn’t performing well at my duty and that I still needed my brothers and sisters to help me and set me right, I really felt like I was losing face, and in my heart there was a feeling of dejection and pain that I couldn’t give words to. But the more things went on like this, the stronger my desire to be better than others became and the more I didn’t want to give up, thinking that one day in the future I would surely stand out conspicuously and receive others’ approval.
Not long after, the person in charge arranged for me to perform duty together with another sister. Seeing that the sister was unfamiliar with the duty and that her level of English was not as good as mine, I secretly rejoiced: I could finally be rid of the dunce hat. The sister later encountered difficulties in her duty and, when she came to me seeking answers, I kept some information to myself. I didn’t want to fellowship too much with her for fear of her progressing too quickly and surpassing me. Sometimes I saw this sister obtaining no results in her duty and living in a state of negativity. I knew I should help her with a loving heart but I was afraid that, if her state became better and she obtained good results in her duty, then I wouldn’t outshine her anymore, so I behaved indifferently toward her. Little did I realize that when the sister encountered difficulties she would seek the truth, and when she lacked some professional knowledge she would often learn from other brothers and sisters. After two or three months she gradually managed to grasp the principles of doing her duty, her English quickly improved and she obtained good results in her duty. This made me panic, and I thought: “If things carried on this way, I was afraid that I’d once again be the least able member of the group. Oh, compared with the brothers and sisters who’d been doing this duty for a long time, it was OK for me not to be as good as them. But this sister had joined the group after me. If she was better than me too, where would I be able to hide my face for shame? What would my brothers and sisters think of me?” So, in this way, I lived all day in a state of vying for fame and gain from which I couldn’t escape, my mind entertained all sorts of ideas, my spirit was in darkness and in pain, and I lived in torment every day. At that time, I couldn’t help but recall with nostalgia the great time I’d had before, doing my duty back at home. When we’d discussed work back then, my sisters all approved of my views. Besides, the church leader held me in high esteem. How wonderful those days were, and yet now I had sunk to such a low…. The more I thought about it, the more painful it was, and the more disconsolate and wronged I felt, and I couldn’t help but hide away in the bathroom, crying my eyes out. In my pain, I prayed to God: “Oh, God! I don’t know what lessons I should be learning in this situation, and I don’t know why You have orchestrated this kind of environment for me. Are You exposing me? Oh, God! What is Your will? May You enlighten and illuminate me….” That evening, I lay in bed tossing and turning, unable to sleep. I kept thinking: “Doing my duty here is just too painful and I feel so dispirited. I don’t want to stay here in this place any longer. I’d rather go work as a coolie than stay here.” But when I thought this, I remembered how I had previously made a solemn vow to God to expend myself and repay God’s love for as long as I lived. If I really gave up my duty, wouldn’t that vow become just a lie? Wouldn’t I have deceived and betrayed God? But if I stayed here and did my duty, living in a pained, stifling state, I wouldn’t be willing to face the situation God had arranged for me—what was I to do? I was in a dilemma and I cried constantly. Crying, I prayed to God: “Oh, God! I’m so upset. I don’t know how I should be pursuing the truth in this situation, and I don’t know what lessons I should be learning. I ask that You enlighten and guide me, and allow me to understand Your will….”
Afterward, I turned my phone on and listened to a hymn of God’s words. As I listened, some of the lyrics touched my heart: “For many years, the thoughts that people have relied upon for their survival have been corroding their hearts to the point that they have become treacherous, cowardly, and despicable. Not only do they lack willpower and resolve, but they have also become greedy, arrogant, and willful. They are utterly lacking any resolve that transcends the self, and even more, they don’t have a bit of courage to shake off the strictures of these dark influences. People’s thoughts and lives are rotten, their perspectives on believing in God are still unbearably ugly, and even when people speak of their perspectives on belief in God it is simply unbearable to hear. People are all cowardly, incompetent, despicable, as well as fragile. They do not feel disgust for the forces of darkness, and they do not feel love for the light and the truth; instead, they do their utmost to expel them” (“Man’s True Condition of Being Corrupted by Satan” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). Listening to these words, I suddenly thought: Wasn’t I now living out the ugly life that God had exposed? All day long, I pulled a long, moping face, was pessimistic and despairing, and in my duty I was negative and passive, so much so that I even had the idea to throw down God’s commission and go out and get a job, and I hadn’t even a shred of resolve to pursue the truth and change myself. Only because the thoughts people live by are corroding their hearts do they have these states that God exposes. So exactly what thoughts was I living by? What thoughts had actually been tormenting me so painfully, to the point where I was even going to break my vow and give up my duty? As I contemplated God’s words, I began to calm down and reflect on exactly what I was pursuing and what things I had become fond of. I then thought of a scene in a music video. Written all over it were all kinds of satanic poisons and satanic laws, and three of them were: “I am my own Lord throughout heaven and earth,” “rising above others,” and “One should bring honor to his ancestors.” I suddenly realized that I had always lived by these poisons, and had therefore sought to be treated as important and held in high esteem by other people, and to gain their respect. At the very least, I wanted to be taken seriously, and at best, everyone would like me, admire me, agree with and approve of me. Only that was a life of value and meaning. Only that was the life. If I wasn’t held in high esteem by other people, but instead was seen as unimportant or snubbed, I would feel that life was so painful and meaningless, and that kind of life was so disheartening and degrading. Since I was small, I had always been worshiping and admiring those people with a towering image, always seeking to be someone like them. After I had come to the church to perform my duty, I was still living by Satan’s poisons. These things had become the beliefs I lived by and they had become my motivation and my goal, and no matter what situation I was in, I always worked hard and struggled to achieve this goal. When I had tried my hardest and failed to be seen as important and held in high esteem by other people, I would become despondent and would feel pained and downhearted, so much so that I wanted to give up my duty and betray God. Thoughts of pursuing fame and gain were in firm control of me and were dominating me. I suffered for them and struggled for them, so that all my joys and sorrows were affected by them and controlled by them. They were like phantoms, entwined so tightly around every piece of the deepest part of my soul, that if someone had dared to lay a finger on them, it would have killed me. At that moment, I realized that the direction in which I was pursuing was wrong. I was believing in God and doing my duty not to pursue the truth or repay God’s love, but instead I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to do my duty to satisfy my desire for status, and achieve my ambition and desire to distinguish myself. The enlightenment of God’s words enabled me to have some knowledge of my corrupt disposition of pursuing fame, gain and status, and I came to see clearly my future path. My heart felt very much unburdened. Although I was still bottom of the group, I didn’t feel as pained as I had before, for I knew that it was unimportant whether I was bottom of the group or not, and whether other people looked highly upon me or not was equally unimportant; what was most important was to be able to obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements, seek to practice the truth and satisfy God in all things, live by God’s words, fulfill my own duty well and ultimately earn God’s praise.
Once I had come to this realization, I felt so much stronger than I had before, and when I encountered matters that touched upon my self-regard and status, I wasn’t as frail, and I could face them somewhat correctly. But my satanic nature of pursuing status had been deeply rooted within me and it had become my life. It wasn’t something that could be utterly resolved by undergoing a few instances of judgment, chastisement, trials and refinement. In order to better purify and change me, God continued to arrange situations in which He could judge, chastise, try and refine me.
In the days that followed, the person in charge arranged for two sisters to direct the work due to them being so capable. So as not to interrupt me doing my duty, whenever they had to exchange ideas with other brothers and sisters, they would go into another room. When I saw them leave the room, I felt both admiration and envy: “How come I’m not as capable as them? They are able to direct the brothers and sisters in their work, which sounds great, whereas I just sit in an empty room, next to a huge desk, doing some small jobs that don’t require any skill whatsoever. Oh! Aren’t I just a dogsbody?” Afterward, although I was elected to be group leader, I couldn’t muster up any happiness at all, and I even looked down on this duty. I always felt that the titles of “skilled” and “talented” sounded so fantastic, whereas the job of group leader was only done by idle people who weren’t skilled enough to do anything else. No matter how well I did at this duty, who would look highly upon me? Ah … Doing this duty, I felt so dejected. Because I had the wrong state of mind, because I was disobedient and paid no consideration to God’s will, the Holy Spirit didn’t work in me. I couldn’t summon up any energy to perform my duty, and every now and then I would think: “What special skill has God actually given me? When will I be able to bring my talents into full play in a duty I’m genuinely good at? …” Little by little, I once again began to follow the wrong path, my feelings of resentment got stronger and stronger and I felt more and more agitated, so that whenever one of the two sisters asked me to conveniently close a door or open a window, I always got angry, and thought: “How old are you? How long have you believed in God? You’re better at professional work than I am, but even if that’s the case, it doesn’t mean you can order me around.” I therefore developed prejudices about her, and I wasn’t willing to pay any attention to anything she said to me. Sometimes when she asked me a question I would purposefully pretend not to have heard and I wouldn’t make a sound. Sometimes, even though I did respond to her, I wouldn’t use a nice tone of voice. One morning, the two sisters had to go out to take care of some things. I saw that they were dressed so neatly and that they looked so classy, and my heart felt uneasy. I thought: “It’s fine if I’m not to go with you, but at the very least you could show me the courtesy of sparing me embarrassment, and ask me if I want to go with you. It seems as though you both look down on me, and that you just don’t have any regard for me at all….” While I was eating lunch that day, a sister asked me: “Where were those two going?” I then felt even more like I’d lost face, and I thought: “Just don’t ask, OK? You all know that the main strength of our group is those two. You must surely think I’m so lacking in ability and that I can’t do anything.” Although I knew very well my own weaknesses and that I wasn’t able to do that kind of duty, yet losing face had made me seethe with secret rage. At seven o’clock that evening, the two sisters returned, and all the sisters in the house went to welcome them and ask them about their day, and some sisters busied themselves with preparing a meal for them. I wanted to go over and ask them how their work had gone that day, but as I watched the scene unfold, the envy in my heart once again rushed to the fore, and I thought: “You two have bound to have been successful and impressive today, and all the brothers and sisters revolve around you. Looks as though I’m even more worthless.” Thinking these thoughts, I turned around and went to my room without saying a word. Once in my room, I just couldn’t calm my heart and I didn’t feel like doing my duty. I felt such pain in my heart and so, weeping bitter tears, I came before God and prayed: “Oh, God! I know that my desire for status is causing trouble again. I know in principle that I shouldn’t seek to be looked highly upon by others, much less seek to have status in other people’s hearts, but I feel so distressed and pained. Oh, God! I want to relinquish my self-regard and the desire for status and not think about the opinions others may have of me, but I can’t accomplish that at the moment and I feel incapable of action. Oh, God! I pray that You guide me, lead me and save me, allow me to understand Your will and cast off the bonds and constraints of status and reputation.” That evening, my heart was in such pain that I didn’t want to talk at all. As the night drew on, the sisters one by one went to bed, but I couldn’t sleep at all …
The next day, one of the sisters realized that I was in a bad state and came to help me, and together we read two passages of God’s fellowship. God said: “As soon as it involves position, face, or reputation, everyone’s heart leaps in anticipation, and you always want to stand out, to be famous, to be glorified. You are unwilling to yield, always wanting to contend, although contending is embarrassing. However, you are not content not to contend. When you see someone stand out, you are jealous, feel hatred, complain, and feel it is unfair. ‘Why can’t I stand out? Why is it never me? Why is it always he who gets to stand out and it’s never my turn?’ There is some resentment. You try to repress the resentment, but you can’t, so you pray. After praying, you feel better for a little while, but later when you encounter the matter again you cannot overcome it. Is this not a case of immature stature? Is not a person’s falling into these conditions a trap? This is the bondage of a satanically corrupted nature” (“You Can Obtain Truth After Turning Your True Heart Over to God” in Records of Christ’s Talks). “What kind of person does God want? Is it someone who is great, a celebrity, a noble person, a world-shaking person? Is that the kind of person that God wants? (No.) So what kind of person does God want, then? Tell Me. (Someone with their feet firmly on the ground, who is a worthy creature.) Aha, so someone with their feet firmly on the ground who pursues to be a worthy creature, who can fulfill a creature’s duty” (“Only Seeking the Truth and Obeying God Can Resolve a Corrupt Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks). In contrast with God’s words, I saw that the views I’d always had on what to pursue had not changed at all. I always wanted to stand out and show myself off, wanting to be a star or an A-list hotshot, to be seen as important by others. I always wanted to do some important, skilled work, believing that, only by doing work like this could I be held in high esteem by other people and obtain God’s approval, and the blessings I’d ultimately receive from God would be proportionally great. Dominated by these thoughts, I always wanted to do important work and take great strides, and disdained having to do what I considered small jobs or odd jobs, so much so that I even looked down on the duty of group leader, blaming God for not having given me a good caliber—I was so completely without sense! In fact, God doesn’t want noble people or world-shaking people; the people God wants are those who can perform the duty of a created being with their feet planted firmly on the ground. No matter what duty is arranged for them to do, as long as they use every ounce of strength they possess to cooperate with God and bring all their power into play, as long as they do not mask their treachery and act all slick, are not petty, but are able to perform their duty so as to satisfy God, then God will be well pleased. God hadn’t demanded that I have some great ability in professional work or that I possess some amazing caliber, or that I achieve incredibly high standards in my duty. There’s no way I could achieve this all in an instant. God only required me to perform the duty of a created being, to do my utmost and put my all into cooperating with God, not to be slipshod, but to be devoted to my duty—this is something I could achieve. Though my caliber was not up to scratch, as long as I brought it all into play and acted with all my heart, all my mind, all my soul and all my strength, then I would achieve what God required. This was all I should be pursuing. God had arranged for several of us with different calibers to do our duty together in the hope that each of us would perform our own function, work together and make up for what each other lacked, and fulfill our duty well. But because I was pursuing status and reputation, whenever I saw someone else being able to perform an important duty, whereas I was left only doing some jobs no one could see and not being able to show myself off, I would become jealous, even to the point where I would cause disturbances and undermine other people. When my desire for status was left unsatisfied, I wouldn’t be diligent in my duty and I would get in a huff with my sisters, pull a long face when around them, and have a bad attitude and vent my displeasure. Not only was I completely ineffectual in my group, but on the contrary I would cause disturbances, make trouble for our work and would cause harm to my sisters. This is how I was—I still didn’t know myself and hatred arose in me for my sisters. What kind of person was I? Was I not a living demon? I was so selfish and mean, without a shred of normal humanity. The more I thought about it, the more I reproached myself. I saw that my corrupt disposition was so severe, that my pursuit of status and reputation had caused so many disturbances to the work of God’s family and that I’d caused so much trouble for my brothers and sisters. These kinds of expressions I was making were indeed satanic behaviors. I was defying God, and I was truly following the path of opposition to God. Seeing my own nature and essence of defying God, I felt afraid, but at the same time I felt God’s mercy and salvation. God hadn’t given up on me because I hadn’t been pursuing the truth or walking the right path. Instead, God was exposing my corrupt disposition by means of His judgment, chastisement, trials and refinement, so that I would come to know my own nature and essence, turn back to God, and become someone who submitted to the sovereignty and arrangements of God. Only then did I understand the care and thought God was taking on my behalf, and some reverence for God awoke in my heart. In remorse, I fell to my knees and prayed to God: “Oh, God! I give thanks for Your judgment and chastisement. I now see that the pursuit of reputation and status is so dangerous, and that this pursuit is what has led me to live in my satanic, corrupt disposition and to be opposed to You. I have lost my humanity, and when I encounter issues I don’t seek the truth or practice Your words, nor do I pay any consideration to Your will or put my heart into my duty. On the contrary, I live a life vying for fame and gain, in which I interrupt and disturb Your work. I’m so selfish and mean, and I really haven’t a shred of humanity. Oh, God! I keep saying that I want to be Your close friend, that I want to pursue the truth in earnest, perform my duty properly and repay Your love, but thinking about it now, they’re all just empty words, all lies and all said to deceive You. Oh, God! I don’t want to cause You any more grief. I want to relinquish my desire for status and self-regard, and seek to be someone who is considerate to Your will. No matter what duty You allocate me in the future, even if it’s the most unremarkable duty, I will still earnestly cooperate. I wish to be the most insignificant servant in God’s family and submit to Your sovereignty and arrangements.”
Afterward, I read some more of God’s words: “I decide the destination of each person not on the basis of age, seniority, amount of suffering, and least of all, the degree to which they invite pity, but according to whether they possess the truth. There is no other choice but this. You must realize that all those who do not follow the will of God will be punished. This is an immutable fact” (“You Ought to Prepare a Sufficiency of Good Deeds for Your Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “I do not care how meritorious your hard work is, how impressive your qualifications, how closely you follow Me, how renowned you are, or how improved your attitude; so long as you have not done what I have demanded, you will never be able to win My praise. … for I cannot bring My enemies and people reeking of evil on the model of Satan into My kingdom, into the next age” (“Transgressions Will Take Man to Hell” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words tell us in absolute clarity about His disposition, His will, what people He praises and what people He eliminates and punishes. From God’s words, I came to understand that God doesn’t base His decisions on what person to praise or what destination a person may have on whether that person has status, fame or prestige, or on how many people endorse and approve of them, or on how much capital they have—God doesn’t look at these things. He only looks at whether or not people follow His way and whether or not they practice the truth. He looks at whether or not the views people have about what to pursue and the path they follow in their belief in God are in accordance with His will, and whether or not they meet His requirements. All through the ages, despite the fact so many famous, prestigious people held status amongst other people and were worshiped, yet they were unable to follow God’s way. When God’s work was at odds with their notions, they defied and judged God, they stubbornly clung to their own notions, they didn’t acknowledge God’s words, they didn’t pursue life and, in the end, they all embarked upon the path of defying God and opposing God, and were condemned and eliminated for their having done all manner of evil. For example, the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees had status and influence, and amongst the common people of Israel, they had much prestige and were endorsed by a great many people. But when the Lord Jesus came to do His work, they did not seek the truth or investigate the true way. Instead, so as to protect their own positions and livelihoods, they wildly condemned and defied the Lord Jesus, and ultimately nailed Him to the cross, and thus were cursed and punished by God. God is righteous, and in God’s work, only those who can fear God and shun evil are able to earn God’s praise. Those people are able to obey God and heed His words. They know their own mission in life and can hold to their own duty. Because they are able to submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangements, practice God’s words and bear witness for God, they obtain God’s praise and blessings. Take Noah, for example; he was a righteous man in the eyes of God. He did what God told him to do; he was capable of heeding God’s words and cooperating with God’s work. He completed the commission God gave him to do and built the ark in accordance with God’s requirements, and ultimately he attained God’s salvation and survived. As another example, Abraham was able to follow God’s words and wholeheartedly return his beloved only son to God. Because of his absolute obedience, the offspring God blessed him with built a great nation. And also, Job merely heard tell of God and was then able to follow the path of fearing God and shunning evil. Although he encountered a trial whereby his property and his children were all taken from him, he would rather have cursed himself than blame God, and was actually able to extol the name of God, therefore becoming a perfect man in the eyes of God. Even the poor widow who gave two copper coins, although to other people this may not have seemed worth mentioning, to God, this woman was giving everything she had to Him, and by doing so she earned God’s praise. … Comparing and contemplating along these lines, I saw how righteous God is. As long as people can heed God’s words, submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangements, practice His words in accordance with His requirements and perform the duty of a created being, even if that duty is not considered by others to be worth mentioning, they will earn God’s praise by offering up their sincerity. Only then did I appreciate that what people should most be pursuing in their belief in God and as they follow God was how to satisfy God’s will, how to follow God’s way, and they should not seek to make others look highly on them; the most precious people are those who live to satisfy God, and only they can live out a true human life.
Suddenly, all was revealed, and I understood: God has arranged for me to be doing my duty in this environment and has arranged these people, matters and things intentionally to puncture my inflated self-pride. All this was done to allow me to experience the pain of living in Satan’s domain striving for fame and gain, thereby to understand God’s will, cast off Satan’s net, remedy my absurd outlook on life, live before God in freedom and perform the duty of a created being. After I came to this realization, I also came to appreciate the care and thought God took, and I was able to understand God. God knew my desire for status was too strong and that I had to experience these situations in order for God to refine me, to enable me to know myself and cast off my corrupt disposition. This was the best way for God to purify and change me, and it was a special favor for me, so I must obey God’s words and grab hold of this opportunity with both hands. I then went before God to pray: “Oh, God! My desire to pursue fame, gain and status is so strong, and I can be purified only by experiencing this judgment and chastisement. I now know in my heart that You prepared this environment for me, and that it was You who carefully arranged it in order to purify and change me. Oh God, I give thanks to You! I now ask for nothing else, only that You guide me to learn the lessons in this environment. If I don’t learn them, then may this situation last forever.” After I’d prayed, I felt the courage and the resolve to submit to my current situation arise in my heart, and my state became somewhat positive.
When I had become willing to relinquish my pursuit of status, steadfastly pursue the truth and conscientiously do my duty to satisfy God, God tested me by means of some situations. One time, I heard that some of us had to be temporarily transferred elsewhere to perform their duties because of the requirements of our work. When I heard this, desire once again lifted its head: Maybe this time I’d have the chance to go somewhere new and distinguish myself. When the sisters were discussing this work, I listened closely, hoping to be able to go together with them. But a sister said that it wasn’t necessary to get so many people involved. They would go, and I could stay at home and keep things ticking along this end. When I heard this, I felt somewhat disheartened and I felt like I was someone who only ever worked behind the scenes and there would never come a day when I could shine…. I then realized that my motives were wrong. I wasn’t putting my heart into my duty and was once again vying with my sisters for fame and gain. A passage from a sermon came to mind: “If people always scheme against each other, are they able to do their work well? When everyone just does their own thing and takes care of their own business, then they will be incapable of doing their work well. People working together is terrific; when people are able to work together harmoniously then they are blessed by God, and as the proverb goes: ‘If people all work together with one mind, they can turn ocher into gold’” (“Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word ‘God Himself, the Unique II’ (XXIII)” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (XII)). And God’s words say: “What did the Lord Jesus say? (‘That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven’ (Mat 18:19).) There’s another. (‘For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the middle of them’ (Mat 18:20).) So what’s the issue here? (We can’t act all on our own.) … Using the language of a believer in God, what do these words refer to? (We should collaborate harmoniously.) Collaborate harmoniously, do things with one heart and mind, have a common goal. Colloquially, it can be said that ‘sticks in a bundle cannot be broken.’ So how can you become like a bundle of sticks? You must be in accord, and then the Holy Spirit will work; that is how the Holy Spirit works” (Records of Christ’s Talks). From God’s words and the passage of a sermon, I realized that we are blessed when we work together with one mind, and that God hates it when we live within our satanic, corrupt dispositions and each do our own thing, striving for fame and gain, and doing whatever suits ourselves. And there I was, once again beginning to vie with my sisters for the sake of self-regard and status—living within this kind of corrupt disposition, how could I possibly gain God’s blessing? And how could I possibly perform my duty well? I then thought of some of God’s words that say: “The functions are not the same. There is one body. Each does his duty, each in his place and doing his very best—for each spark there is one flash of light—and seeking maturity in life. Thus will I be satisfied” (Utterances and Testimonies of Christ in the Beginning). I saw in God’s words that the mission God entrusts to each of us is different and that, in God’s eyes, there is no distinction between high or low, noble or humble when it comes to the duties we perform. God requires only that we act dutifully to keep the principle of “each in his place and doing his very best.” If we can achieve this, then God is satisfied. In fact, regardless of whether other people look highly upon me or not, my identity as a created being will not change, and no one can strip me of my right to pursue the truth and follow the right path in life. Thinking carefully about all this, I realized that I hadn’t put my heart into pursuing the truth or doing my duty for such a long time, but instead had single-mindedly pursued status, fame and gain, and had vainly squandered all this precious time and energy on these worthless things. What could I actually gain in the end by pursuing these things? Could I earn God’s praise? Could they bring me God’s blessing? They couldn’t do anything for me. There would be pain and then more pain. Every time I’d wanted to gain fame and benefit but had failed, I really had suffered unspeakably, and I always had a feeling like I was being toyed with in the palm of Satan’s hand and was distorted so that I resembled beasts of unbearable ugliness. Thinking about it now, status and self-regard really are so harmful to people, and I really don’t need them. God had predestined and chosen me, and my caliber and stature had long since been predetermined by God. Since I didn’t have the ability to perform any important duty, I would dutifully work to the best of my ability and become someone with sense who obeyed God. If the work I did could satisfy God’s will, then my life would not have been lived in vain and I would not have wasted this time spent following God. The more I thought along these lines, the more encouraged I felt, and I felt that God was beside me, leading me out of the bonds of fame, gain and status. From that moment on, my state of mind about doing my duty underwent a huge transformation; my initiative in doing my duty increased, and my heart felt calm and liberated. When the two sisters needed to go out to perform their duties, I prayed for them and asked God to enlighten and guide them. I then did all I could to get the preparatory work done, in order to lessen their unnecessary worries, and to save them both time and energy so they could more easily give all their attention to doing their important work. When I started practicing in this way, my heart felt a sense of ease and peace it had never felt before, and I felt that this was a great way to do my duty. Besides this, when I had time, I would urge others to focus more on their spiritual devotions and on writing articles, so that they wouldn’t overlook life entry while they were doing their duties. This was the function I should perform and it was also the most suitable position God arranged for me, therefore I should take my place, accomplish everything I was capable of accomplishing and practice God’s words that say “for each spark there is one flash of light.” This is the sense a created being should have, and this is both my responsibility and my duty. After undergoing this kind of transformation, I gradually came to like this duty and my heart was calmed. I no longer thought about when I’d be able to distinguish myself, but thought only of steadfastly performing my duty well; so long as God was pleased, then that was my greatest comfort and greatest happiness.
From then on, whenever I expressed my corrupt disposition of vying for fame and gain, I would quickly realize that I was living in a wrong state. In order to deal with my corrupt disposition, I would both pray to God to forsake my satanic nature and practice being an honest person. I was open and honest with my sisters about my corruption, and I would never let Satan trick me again. When I saw my sisters encounter difficulties in their duties and get into a bad state, I was able to relinquish myself and proactively commune and fellowship about God’s words with them. Even if I couldn’t fellowship about God’s words very clearly, I was still willing to rely on God and cooperate, be considerate toward God’s will and do all I could to help my sisters. Furthermore, although most of the time I was only doing some inconspicuous duties and doing some unremarkable things that weren’t worth mentioning, when I applied my heart to every single thing I did, I would feel at ease and at peace. Before, there had always been status, fame and gain between me and God, and I had been unable to sincerely perform my duty before God. In my heart I was always demanding things from God, and I had never had a normal relationship with God. Now, I was no longer constrained by status or self-regard, and I had fewer requirements of God. I felt that my relationship with God had become closer and my relationship with other brothers and sisters had also become normal. I felt that I was no longer that kind of extremely petty person I had been before, and my mind had now been broadened somewhat. Seeing that I could change in these ways, my heart became filled with gratitude to God—it truly was God’s judgment and chastisement that had saved and changed me.
God’s words say: “God pays a price—a painstaking price—for every individual, and they each have His will. God has expectations for everyone, and He entrusts them all with His hope. He freely pays the painstaking price for those people of His own will, and He willingly gives His life and truth to every individual. So God is gratified if anyone is able to understand this aim of His. If you can accept and obey the things He does, and if you can receive all from God, He then feels that the painstaking price has not been paid in vain. This means that, if you have lived up to the care and thought God has invested in you, you have reaped the rewards in every environment, and haven’t disappointed God’s hopes in you, and if what God does on you has had the expected effect and has reached the expected objective, then God’s heart is satisfied” (“To Attain the Truth, You Must Learn From the People, Matters, and Things Around You” in Records of Christ’s Talks). God’s words allowed me to feel His love and warmth, and allowed me to perceive that every tiny thing God did for me contains God’s care, thought and painstaking effort, just as God’s words say: “… how important God’s love is to man. But what is even more crucial is man’s appreciation and comprehension of God’s love” (“God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself I” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I recalled how I always used to have a sense of superiority when performing my duties in the church at home, and in that kind of environment, my vain heart derived satisfaction and I suffered nothing at all—how then could I have realized the harm reputation and status were causing me? Only God knew what vital weaknesses I still had that had not yet been resolved, and God knew what environment to orchestrate for me in which He could better save me. God treated me like an ignorant child who doesn’t know what it is to be hungry. When parents prepare a bowl of nutritious food that is best for the child and they bring it to him, then even if the child doesn’t want to eat it or cries and screams because he doesn’t like the taste, the parents will patiently use all kinds of methods and apply all their wisdom to get the child to eat it, so that he grows up healthy and strong. This was how God was supplying and nurturing me now, and yet I was like that ignorant child, harboring so many misunderstandings and so much blame toward God, so much so that there were many times when I wanted to rid myself of God’s sovereignty and arrangements and flee from these situations. But God had not made a fuss about my transgressions, but instead had used His words to enlighten and guide me, had worked to save me and had delivered me onto the right path in life. While God worked in this way, I truly felt how real God’s salvation of me was, and how sincere God’s heart was. In order to get me to understand the truth and so that He could change my corrupt disposition, God maneuvered so many people, matters and things and arranged so many situations in my service. Some I let slip by, some I stubbornly rejected, and there were so many times when I misunderstood God or rebelled against Him, and there were so many times when I cried and wailed before God. That I can today have this knowledge and be transformed is the result of God judging, chastising, trying and refining me time and time again. In order for the truth to be wrought within me and in order to change my corrupt disposition, God expended such great painstaking effort on me—God’s love is so real. From now on, no matter what situations God arranges for me, or what duties He arranges for me to do, I will always accept them and obey. I will use my heart to experience, savor and feel God’s love, so that I can know God even more, become someone who obeys God, worships God and loves God, and live out a life of value and meaning.
Thanks for your listening. All the glory be to Almighty God!