16. Breaking Off the Shackles
Zhenxi Zhengzhou City, Henan Province
Ten years ago, driven by my arrogant nature, I was never able to completely obey the church’s arrangements. I would obey if it suited me, but if it didn’t I would choose whether or not to obey. This resulted in seriously violating work arrangements during the fulfilling of my duty. I did my own thing and offended God’s disposition, and was subsequently sent home. After several years of self-reflection, I had more or less some knowledge of my own nature, but regarding the aspect of the truth that is God’s essence I still did not have much knowledge. Later, the church gave me another chance, but when I was in charge of gospel work, I began to have suspicions about God: I’m so corrupted and had also offended God’s disposition. Why would God use me? Is He taking advantage of me? Will I be eliminated after being taken advantage of? Ah! Since the church gave me a chance I am going to cherish it, even if I have to become a service-doer. From then on, I fulfilled my duty carrying such a mentality, but without seeking a higher goal—being made perfect by God.
Once, when I was practicing spiritual devotion, I saw these words of God: “Today, you cannot only be content with how you are conquered, but must also consider the path that you will walk in the future. You must have aspirations and the courage to be made perfect, and should not always think yourself incapable. Does the truth have favorites? Can the truth deliberately oppose people? If you pursue the truth, can it overwhelm you? If you stand firm for justice, will it knock you down? If it is truly your aspiration to pursue life, can life elude you? If you are without the truth, that is not because the truth does not acknowledge you, but because you stay away from the truth; if you cannot stand fast for justice, that is not because there is something wrong with justice, but because you believe it is out of line with the facts; if you have not gained life after pursuing it for many years, that is not because life has no conscience toward you, but because you have no conscience toward life, and have driven away life…. If you do not pursue, then it can only be said that you are worthless trash, and have no courage in your life, and do not have the spirit to resist the forces of darkness. You are too weak! You are unable to escape the forces of Satan that lay siege to you, and are only willing to lead this kind of safe and secure life and die in ignorance. What you should achieve is your pursuit of being conquered; this is your bounden duty. If you are content to be conquered, then you drive out the existence of the light” (“The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). After eating and drinking this passage of God’s word, I was very moved inside. I saw that God’s intention is to allow all people to seek being perfected and fit for use by God. I then made up my mind: I am going to put away my own apprehensions and no longer be negative and passive. I will believe in God’s words and strive to be perfected by God. But gradually, because I still did not know the essence of God’s faithfulness, I began to not believe in God’s words again, always thinking that these words were aimed at someone else, and could merely provide a bit of comfort and encouragement for someone like me. I kept remembering how I once offended God’s disposition, that my nature is so corrupted, that I sometimes even revealed my corrupt disposition while fulfilling my duty, that I could never be perfected no matter how much I pursued, and thinking I should be content with just being a service-doer. Just like that, I unwittingly started living in passiveness again. The above later communicated many times on the aspect of the truth about knowing God’s essence, but I was still not very illuminated. Until one day, when I was eating and drinking God’s word, I saw the following words of God: “The essence of God is faithful—He does what He says and whatever He does is achieved. He is faithful …” (“The Second Aspect of Significance of the Incarnation” in Records of Christ’s Talks). At this moment, it seemed something suddenly clicked inside me, as though a mist that had spread over my heart instantly dissipated. Years of misunderstandings and apprehensions suddenly vanished. I then again remembered that passage of God’s word I used to eat and drink: “If it is truly your aspiration to pursue life, can life elude you? If you are without the truth, that is not because the truth does not acknowledge you, but because you stay away from the truth; if you cannot stand fast for justice, that is not because there is something wrong with justice, but because you believe it is out of line with the facts; if you have not gained life after pursuing it for many years, that is not because life has no conscience toward you, but because you have no conscience toward life, and have driven away life …” (“The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). In this moment, I felt the transmission of awe-inspiring righteousness and boundless love from between the lines of God’s words, making Him appear so noble and great, while at the same time making me see my own lowliness, narrowness, and decadence. God is faithful. This is undoubtable and unquestionable. God has a faithful essence, He is trustworthy, and He is trying to save man to the greatest extent possible. As long as man pursues the truth and dispositional change in accordance with God’s requirements, God shall make man complete, because what God says He shall do, and what He does shall be done! Rather, I suspected that God was like man and would discard me once I ceased to be useful. I did not treat God’s word as the truth at all, and moreover did not genuinely and positively believe in God. Instead, I lived in the imagination and suspicions in my mind, lacking courage before the truth and cowardly yielding to dark influences, unable to stand up for justice. It was then that I truly appreciated that pursuing knowledge of God’s essence is too important. If I had already paid attention to pursuing knowledge of God’s disposition and essence before, I wouldn’t have spent so many years living in apprehension, delaying the progression of my own life.
Thank You, Almighty God! It is You who cared for me and enlightened and guided me to get rid of the shackles that had controlled me for so many years, allowing me to walk out of the haze. In the past, I did not know You and often lived in misunderstanding, unable to trust Your word and treated it as merely for comforting and encouraging people. I did not treat Your word as the truth and life, and moreover did not treat You as God. But You did not treat me in accordance with my transgressions. You tolerated me, were patient toward me, and gave me the opportunity to repent. You enlightened and shined Your light on me, so that I would have a bit of knowledge of Your faithful and righteous essence. This is precisely an exemplification of Your love for man. Oh God! From now on I will put in an enormous effort into the truth regarding knowing You, live up to what You expect of me, pursue knowledge of Your essence, and seek dispositional change soon so I can be perfected by You!
After knowing these things, a kind of stunning power surged within my heart. I am no longer passive in the face of difficulties, and my many years of misunderstandings, suspicions, and apprehensions have all disappeared. I am now living entirely in an active situation, seeking to be perfected by God.