34. A Turn for the Better on the Road of Believing in God
Zhuanbian Shanghai City
Although I had been following God for many years, I had made almost no progress with my entering into life, and this made me feel very anxious. Especially when I listened to a recording of a preaching about life entry, and heard the man used by the Holy Spirit talking to the brothers and sisters who were present and listening to the preaching, I felt filled with anxiety hearing him say this kind of thing, “You now believe in God and have tasted the sweetness of the pursuit of truth. You have started to enter onto the right track and are full of faith in your pursuit of salvation.” I thought, “These people have believed in God for such a short time but have already entered and are so full of faith about being saved. Yet here I am having so far believed in God and I still haven’t obtained the truth and my disposition in life has undergone no change whatsoever, never mind having entered onto the right track. To attain salvation is easier said than done!” I thought of how the above fellowshiped that the truth can resolve all of man’s corruptions, but I had never experienced this at all. I even felt that the truth could resolve other people’s corruptions but not my own, so I lost faith in my pursuit of the truth and of salvation. Although I was aware that my own condition was not right, there was no way I could escape it, so I could only cry to God for help. Afterward, His words enlightened me, causing me to see the reasons why I had believed in God for so many years yet had not progressed in life, and why my disposition had not undergone any change. God also set me on the path of practicing and entering the truth.
God’s words say: “Growth in man’s life and changes in his disposition are all achieved by entering into reality and, moreover, through entering into detailed experiences” (“The Difference Between the Ministry of the Incarnate God and the Duty of Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Some people know the truth but do not put it into practice, believing that the truth is just this and nothing more. They believe it can’t solve their own ideas and their corruption. Isn’t this kind of person ridiculous? Aren’t they absurd? Do they not fancy themselves clever? If people act according to the truth, their corrupt disposition will be transformed; if people believe in and serve God according to their natural personality, none of them can have their disposition transformed. Some people are caught up in their own concerns all day long and fail to investigate or practice the truth that is readily available. This practice is very absurd; such people are inherent sufferers, having the blessing but not enjoying it!” (“Those Who Love the Truth Have a Way to Follow” in Records of Christ’s Talks). Only through the enlightenment of God’s words did I realize that my disposition had undergone no change despite the many years I had believed in Him, and that this was mainly because when I read God’s words I focused only on understanding the literal, theoretical meaning, and had only a thinking understanding. I was not focusing on putting the truth into practice or entering into reality, nor was I focusing on experiencing God’s words through practical experience. Thinking back on these years of my belief in God, no matter what aspect of the truth, I never sought to have a deeper understanding of it or to attain an understanding of the essence of the truth, much less did I plan to enter into detailed practice, through which I could have obtained an aspect of the truth. Instead, I thought it was enough just to have a theoretical knowledge and understanding. For example, in real life I always struggled for fame and gain, always wanted to make others listen to me, make them respect me and endorse me. After revealing these corruptions, I just thought for a while, and prayed before God, acknowledging my own corruption and knowing that it was an expression of arrogance, and nothing more. The result was that, no matter how many times I felt remorse or confessed my sins before God, my old nature had not changed and I was doomed to repeat the same old mistakes. Within the environment arranged by God, through praying and seeking I came to know that God was using this environment to deal with my corruption. After I came to this understanding, however, I just acknowledged that all of God’s trials and refinements, all of God’s dealing with me and pruning me was His salvation, was His love, that God’s heart is always good, period. The outcome was that, although I underwent some hardship, I had not undergone any change as a result. After I heard the man’s preaching, I felt that these fellowships were indeed what I needed, that they had allowed me to understand the truth that I had not previously understood. But all I did was just remember the content of the fellowships in my head and then not pay any attention to them, resulting in that little bit of understanding disappearing after a while, and me having obtained nothing at all.
Facing facts, I saw that I had not been seeking the truth at all. I had believed in God for many years but had never put any effort into practicing the truth or entering reality, to the extent that I had so far still not obtained the truth, nor had my disposition undergone any change. This was entirely the revelation of God’s righteous disposition, as God had said long ago: “You must devote effort to living out the words of God so that they may be realized in your practice. If you have only doctrinal knowledge, then your faith in God will come to naught. Only if you then also practice and live out His word can your faith be considered complete and in accord with God’s will” (“You Ought to Live for the Truth Since You Believe in God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God is righteous. God has never treated anyone unfairly, and has never wantonly given to man, much less given to man unconditionally. I do not practice the truth, have not made any effort to live out His words, with the result that today, I must reap as I have sown. At this time I couldn’t help but feel extreme remorse, regretting bitterly that, although I had experienced God’s work, I lacked my own entry, so that today I still had nothing to show for my belief and I really hadn’t lived up to God’s salvation. And yet I did not wish to continue degenerating in such a way, but instead I wished to start from scratch, to start again, to make effort in my practice and to implement God’s words on myself.
Afterward, I began to train in practicing the truth and in entering reality. I was no longer like the way I had been when I had wanted others to listen to me, respect me and endorse me, just praying and confessing to God. Instead, I came before God to seek the truth, searching for words of God to eat and drink that were related specifically to this issue and accepting the judgment and chastisement of the words of God, resolving my own corruption in this way. When I practiced and entered in such a way, God showed me a special grace that allowed me to realize that I had been vying with God for His position, making people worship me as though I was their ancestor, or worship me as though I was God. I saw that I was the devil Satan with a nature and essence completely akin to those of the great red dragon, and disgust and loathing for my own nature unknowingly arose. Afterward, I equipped myself with the truth about raising God up, about bearing witness to God, and in reality I trained for entry. Through this practice, I saw even more clearly the ugliness and loathsomeness of myself standing on high and telling people what was what. I loathed and cursed myself even more, and became willing to forsake the flesh and practice the truth in order to satisfy God. After training in this way for a while, I discovered that the expressions of my own arrogant disposition reduced a great deal.
In normal interpersonal relationships, in the past I knew I had to practice tolerance, patience, to use wisdom, have principles, and be an honest person. But in reality I never entered these five aspects. Therefore, when getting along with brothers and sisters, there often arose in me prejudice toward them due to some trivial matter or their revealing some corruption, to the extent that I had no way to get along well with them. Now, I bring my past understanding into real life to train and practice. When I take unkindly to others due to their expressions of corruption, I pray to God and seek the truth, asking how I should understand this matter that I have come across, and how I should practice and enter God’s words. Under God’s guidance, it occurred to me that everyone is now in the process of seeking change, so there will certainly be expressions of corruption, that maybe so-and-so isn’t aware of the corruption he reveals, or maybe he is dominated involuntarily by his own nature and is not acting this way toward me on purpose. It was just the same as when my usually arrogant disposition had been disgusting to others, yet I myself had remained unaware. This is all harm that is done to man by Satan. It is Satan that should be hated, and one should not form opinions about one’s brothers and sisters. When I thought like this, the resentment and grudges I had held inside me disappeared in a flash, and were replaced by hatred for Satan and sympathy and forgiveness for my brothers and sisters, even wanting to find suitable opportunities to help others. When I tried voluntarily to help other people, I found that my relationship with them became a lot friendlier and I got a taste of the happiness that comes from helping others.
When I trained to enter God’s words and practice the truth, not only did I gain some practical experience and entry in all aspects of the truth, I also saw God’s wonderful works. I felt God’s leadership and guidance and tasted the sureness, peace and joy that practicing the truth had given to my heart. I felt that there was nothing empty about life, that there was a lesson to be learned every day, that there were new views and understandings every day, that I was able to see God saving me every day, feeling that seeking the truth was so meaningful, that the truth really could save and change people!
Once I had this bit of personal experience and understanding, I felt that my own road of believing in God had taken a turn for the better, never again to feel that salvation was beyond my grasp. I believe that, so long as I work with God, continually equip myself with truth and practice and enter the truth, I will certainly reach a change in my corrupt disposition. I believe that God’s work is able to save man and God’s words are able to change man: I have this faith because I have tasted it already. From today on, I wish to seek the truth and practice the truth with my feet planted firmly on the ground. I wish for God to continue to lead me, to make me soon reach a change in my disposition, to live out the manner of a true person in order to bear witness for God, to bear witness to God’s work to save me, to bear witness to God’s power to save man, and to bear witness to God’s wonderful deeds!