35. Only Now Do I Understand What Life Entry Is
By Yulu, Portugal
Early in 2017, I was fulfilling a leadership duty in the church. After training for a period of time, some brothers and sisters gave me a recommendation: They said I had very little understanding with regard to their situations and difficulties, and had not done any real work. To turn this deviation around, I prepared to do a round of follow-ups so that I could understand the situations of all of the brothers and sisters of the church. To this end, I shuttled back and forth through the church every day, busying myself with fellowshiping with brothers and sisters and offering support and assistance. When they had made a bit of a turnaround in their situations and resolution to their difficulties, I concluded that I was indeed capable of doing a bit of real work, and felt quite satisfied. To my great surprise, one day the watering group leader said to me, “During today’s meeting, after getting an understanding of our situation, the upper-level leadership said that we have recently been keeping busy only with work and not with life entry. …” Hearing this, I felt very shocked, and thought, “I thought the brothers and sisters had communicated their states during the meeting and gained some knowledge about themselves, so how can it be said that they have no life entry? If none of them has attained life entry, and I am responsible for their work, then doesn’t this say that I haven’t attained life entry either?” I felt conflicted, and was unable to accept my superiors’ pointers.
A few days later, Sister Li approached me after a meeting and said to me in a somber tone, “After listening to your fellowship today, I felt no enjoyment. While you were communicating you mentioned that the upper-level leaders had said the sisters and brothers of the watering group had not attained life entry—so how do you know about this? Have you paid any attention to your own life entry recently? You should spend some time in self-reflection.” The sister’s words were like a basin of ice-cold water poured all over my body. Feeling too overwhelmed to accept them, I thought to myself, “I hold meetings and fellowship with my brothers and sisters every day, and whatever their situations, I am able to give my assistance and support. When communicating God’s words, I integrate and talk about my personal experiences, too, so how can you say I haven’t attained life entry? Can you actually discern whether I have or not? You ask too much of me. In my opinion, when you fellowship, you don’t even have the depth of understanding that I do; if I go by your demands, I have no idea how I’ll fellowship.” The sister’s words lingered in my mind, and the more I thought about them, the angrier I felt. I did not even want to lay eyes on Sister Li anymore. The next morning, my partner, Sister Wang, said to me, “Yesterday evening, Sister Zhang also asked me whether or not we had merely focused on doing work recently and not on attaining life entry.” Hearing this, I felt especially upset. I thought to myself, “How could Sister Zhang also say that? I often hold meetings with her, and I always integrate my own experiences into my fellowship, and she has heard me do it—so how can she say I haven’t had any life entry? Now two sisters have said the same thing; could it be that I really haven’t attained any life entry? If so, how could I water brothers and sisters? Is it that I am incapable of performing this duty?” By then I was like a deflated rubber ball; I felt completely dispirited. Amid my suffering, I prayed to God: “Almighty God! I feel so much anguish in my heart right now. I do not know how to experience this environment, nor do I know what lesson I should learn. God! I implore You to guide; make me understand Your will. …”
After prayer, I thought of a passage in the fellowship, “God’s will is very simple. It is to use all sorts of environments, all sorts of brothers and sisters, and all sorts of issues to test you, have you run into a wall, have you undergo refinement and then have you understand yourself. Finally, you will truly know yourself and see that you are nothing at all, happily accepting the truth, accepting being dealt with and pruned, and obeying God’s work to enter into the right track in your faith. This is God’s will. God’s will is absolutely not to use environments to have you fall down and be unable to get up, then allow you to die. That’s not what it is. It is to have you fully understand yourself and then quickly pull yourself back up and pursue the truth. This is because people only lean on God and pursue the truth when they are desperate. … Is the reason for tempering you and pruning you to make you lie down or to make you more fit for use? Is exposing your lack of truth and reality done to judge and condemn you, or to make you stand up and equip yourself with the truth and pursue the truth? If you mull this over and over, will you not understand God’s will?” (“Questions & Answers” in Sermons and Fellowship VII). After contemplating this sermon, I had the sudden realization that these disagreeable people, events, and things that I had encountered one after another recently had actually come out of God’s pruning and dealing with me; they were His righteous disposition, manifested upon me, and in them were God’s good intentions. His will was not to make me retreat in negativity, nor was it to make me exist in a state of arguing over right and wrong; rather, it was to bring me before Him in self-reflection so that I might know myself, focus on pursuing the truth, and strive to achieve a transformation in my disposition. However, upon being pruned and dealt with, I had instead refused to reflect upon myself or seek the truth. My heart had been filled with conflict and disobedience, and I had even thought that the purpose of my having been thrust into such an environment had been to expose me for being unsuitable for fulfilling this sort of duty, and so I had lived in a state of negative passivity. I truly had been impervious to reason! I thought about how, over the past few days, a few sisters had told me I had not achieved any life entry, and realized that God had been using them to remind me that I must calm down and diligently reflect upon myself to figure out just what my problems were, why the sisters had said I had not attained entry into life, and exactly what life entry meant in the first place.
Later, I read the following from the fellowship “What Is Entry Into Life and the Path for Entry Into Life”: “Entry into life refers to entry into the truth and to God’s words. It refers to understanding of the truth of people’s corruption, and the essence of their corruption, and then being able to accept the truth, accept God’s words, and have them become their life. Only anything relevant to this kind of experience is entry into life.” “Entry into life refers to entry into the truth. Entry into the truth is based on people experiencing the word of God and reaching an understanding of the truth.” “When we have a true knowledge of God, it proves that we have true entry into His words. When we have true knowledge of our own corrupt essence and the truth of our own corruption, that also proves that we have true entry into God’s words. When we are truly obedient to God’s work, His reality, and His essence, when we truly obey and satisfy all of His requirements, that proves as well that we have true entry into His words. As long as there is true entry that is based on His words, which is true entry into the truth, and the results that should be achieved have been achieved, this means we possess the reality of entry into life” (Sermons and Fellowship II). These words gave me a sudden flash of insight: As it turned out, life entry referred to people’s experiencing God’s words and gaining an understanding of the truth, and entering into the reality of the truth. In other words, it meant that when experiencing God’s work, they could put His words into practice and gradually comprehend the truth until they had gained knowledge of God’s disposition and His work, as well as a real knowledge of their own corrupt nature and essence and the true face of their corruption. It meant they could despise themselves, turn their backs on their own erroneous intentions and satanic nature, and implement the truth, submit to God, and satisfy Him in accordance with His will and requirements. Only in this way could they be counted as truly having attained life entry. Comparing myself to these conditions and displays, I could not help but reflect upon my recent situation: Ever since my brothers and sisters made the recommendation that I had not borne the burden of my duty and had not paid attention to resolving their problems, in order to keep them from saying such things about me, I had busied myself with following up on my brothers’ and sisters’ situations and even used time set aside for spiritual devotions to search for passages of God’s words that could resolve their problems. Very seldom had I calmed down and contemplated God’s words myself, though, or sought the truth and God’s will in those utterances. In my fulfilling of my duty, I had not paid any attention at all to my own thoughts and ideas, nor had I self-reflected to discover which corrupt dispositions I had revealed and which truths I needed to enter into, much less whether the path I’d been on had been right or wrong. Every time I had fellowshiped in meetings with them, I had merely taken God’s words and communicated them to my brothers and sisters so that they could go and practice the truth, yet I myself had not taken these opportunities to reflect upon myself or enter into God’s words along with them. Sometimes, after some of my corrupt disposition had been revealed, I had merely matched it up with God’s words or looked for some encouraging or comforting passages to read. This had satisfied the discomfort I felt in my heart, but I had very seldom reflected upon or analyzed myself in accordance with God’s utterances to get to know my corrupt essence. As a result, I had not loathed myself, and subsequently had not focused on practicing the truth. When encountering further such environments, I had again shown the same corruption. Given all these indications apparent in me, how could I say I had attained life entry? For the sake of reputation and status, I had done my utmost to devote myself to the work, yet had not placed importance upon pondering them when eating and drinking of God’s words. I had simply satisfied myself with doctrinal knowledge, but had not genuinely understood His will and demands as well as what results He meant to achieve with these words He uttered. I had not truly understood the truth, much less had the testimony of practicing God’s words. I really had no actual experience, and had not attained any life entry at all! After thinking further about how I had been pruned and dealt with recently by the upper-level leaders and my brothers and sisters, I saw that I had been revealed to be contradictory, disobedient, and argumentative. If I had truly attained life entry, then upon being pruned and dealt with I would have been able to seek the truth and reflect upon myself, and would not have found myself living in negativity and contrariness. Only now was I thoroughly convinced that I really had not attained life entry, and that in my fellowship with my brothers and sisters, I had just talked a lot of big talk about words and doctrines. As the saying goes, “The actions of generals affect the actions of their soldiers.” Since I myself had not attained life entry, how could I bring my brothers and sisters into the reality of God’s words? Was this way in which I worked not liable to entrap and ruin my brothers and sisters? This realization made me feel rather frightened. Luckily, God had used those sisters to give me a timely reminder to self-reflect so that I could know myself; otherwise, I would have continued to only focus on external work and errands, yet would not have entered life myself, and finally there would not have been the tiniest transformation to my life disposition—and I could only have been exposed and eliminated by God. I thank God for His guidance! God’s arrangement of such people, events, and things had been so wonderful, and was exactly what I had needed. Only by way of being pruned and dealt with like that had I come to understand what real life entry was, and gained some knowledge of my own actual situation. I saw that in neither pursuing the truth nor paying attention to attaining life entry, I would have kept on in my faith until, finally, I ended in failure.
After that, I consciously focused on my own entry. Every day during my spiritual devotions, I trained myself in earnest to try to ponder God’s words and paid attention to seeking the truth in them, as well as implementing them in real life. Among the people, events, and things I encountered, I focused on grasping my own thoughts and ideas, reflecting upon my intentions and impurities in my fulfilling of my duty, dissecting my nature and essence, and seeking out a path from God’s words to practice and enter life. When solving my brothers’ and sisters’ problems, I no longer merely fellowshiped to resolve their situations; I focused on self-reflecting and knowing myself to figure out whether or not I had the same issues, that I might attain entry along with my brothers and sisters. After a while of doing this, I felt my relationship with God was a lot closer, and I gained a bit of experience and knowledge of His words. I also achieved some results in my work for the church. Later on, I saw from the fellowship of my brothers and sisters that when encountering problems, they had all begun to reflect upon their own intentions and impurities, and were analyzing their own natures and essences. They, too, were able to enter into some of God’s words. Thank God!
After this instance of being pruned and dealt with, I had gained some real knowledge of what life entry is, and had come to see my own shortcomings a bit more clearly. In the fulfilling of my duty, I started to pay attention to my own entry and got a taste for how sweet it was to pursue the truth and put it into practice. All of these were effects of God’s work on me. Thank God! In everything I experience from now on, I hope to be steadfast and realistic in my pursuit of the truth, and strive to achieve a transformation in my disposition one day soon.