What I Gained Through Personally Experiencing Satan’s Temptations
By Xinzhi, Australia
When returning to South Africa to handle some affairs in December 2017, I met a sister in the Lord, who told me that the Lord Jesus has returned as the incarnated Almighty God. She also fellowshiped with me in detail about such truths and mysteries as God’s six-thousand-year management plan, the purpose of God’s three stages of work and the significance of God’s name. After listening to her fellowship, I felt both amazed and excited. I had never before heard these truths, but I knew that only God Himself could reveal the mysteries of His work. I therefore became certain from the bottom of my heart that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned, and I gladly accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. Every day, I enjoyed the watering and supply of God’s words and I felt incredibly at ease and supported. Little did I know, however, that Satan’s temptations were hiding just around the corner …
After I accepted God’s work of the last days, I actively attended church meetings. However, for reasons unbeknownst to me, whenever my brothers and sisters began reading God’s words, I would become sleepy. This would happen even when I rested before the meeting. My brothers and sisters would have to wake me several times, but no sooner had they woken me than I would fall asleep again. In this manner, I would doze through almost an entire meeting, my mind was always fuzzy, nothing would sink in, and this upset me greatly. I was deeply puzzled: I wouldn’t normally feel sleepy when doing anything else, so why did I feel so sleepy as soon as I got to a church meeting? I ended up hoping for the meetings to end as soon as possible, and it eventually got to the point where I didn’t even want to attend meetings anymore. One sister saw that I was always dozing at meetings, and so she shared fellowship with me, saying that this was a spiritual battle. She then read to me a passage of God’s words, “God works, God cares for a person, looks upon a person, and Satan dogs His every step. Whoever God favors, Satan also watches, trailing along behind. If God wants this person, Satan would do everything in its power to obstruct God, using various evil ways to tempt, harass and wreck the work God does in order to achieve its hidden objective. What is its objective? It does not want God to have anyone; it wants all those that God wants, to occupy them, control them, to take charge of them so they worship it” (“God Himself, the Unique IV” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
She gave fellowship, saying, “In the last days, Almighty God expresses the words and performs the work of judgment in order to transform and purify our satanic dispositions, to enable us to be totally free of the shackles of sin and be purified and saved by God. Satan, however, does not wish for us to be saved by God, and so it tries to disturb us in every possible way. For instance, we feel sleepy as soon as we start reading God’s words at a meeting, and yet have lots of energy when we do anything else—this is obviously Satan trying to disturb us. Satan disturbs us so much that we are unable to quiet ourselves before God to hear and contemplate His words. In this way, we will never be able to understand the truth or understand God’s will no matter how long we attend meetings for. On the contrary, because of the suffering of our flesh, we become increasingly fed up with attending meetings, and it may even get to such a dangerous level that we desire to betray and leave God and return under Satan’s domain. This is the cunning scheme and the malicious intent of Satan. Sister, we must see through Satan’s cunning schemes, pray more and rely on God more, and have the resolve to forsake Satan, for only in this way will we be able to overcome the disturbances and attacks of Satan!”
After listening to the sister’s fellowship, everything suddenly became clear, and I felt a little afraid and also somewhat angry. I thought: “Satan is truly terrible! No wonder I feel sleepy as soon as I get to a meeting. It turns out that this is Satan trying to disturb me.” I thought about how I had been dozing off as soon as I got to meetings, how my brain would feel like sludge even after the brothers and sisters woke me, and how I had even entertained the idea of not attending meetings anymore; as it turned out, I had been falling prey to Satan’s cunning scheme. “No,” I thought. “Next time I attend a meeting, I will forsake my flesh and give battle to Satan, and I will stand firm in my testimony in this spiritual battle!” I then prayed with the sister to God, and I announced to Satan that, no matter how it may try to disturb me, I would always persist in attending meetings and worshiping God, and that I would not be fooled by it again. In this way, when I felt sleepy again during a meeting, I would constantly declare my resolve to Satan. At the same time, I would keep praying to God, asking Him to protect my heart, and I would make a conscious effort to quiet my heart before God and contemplate His words. A week later, I no longer felt sleepy, and I was able to properly attend meetings with the brothers and sisters and fellowship God’s words.
This experience allowed me to see that Satan was using this despicable method to disturb me so as to make me give up the true way—Satan is so evil and contemptible! I also came to perceive that, if we don’t come before God and accept His salvation, we will only be able to live under Satan’s domain, being harmed and controlled by it. Thinking about this, I made a resolution to God: No matter how Satan may try to disturb me, I will never surrender. I will believe in and follow God in earnest, and I will spread God’s kingdom gospel to even more people who live under Satan’s domain, so that they too might attain God’s salvation of the last days and be rid of Satan’s harm.
One day, I testified to a friend about God’s work of the last days. She wanted to look into it further, so I planned on talking with her about it again in a couple of days’ time. Unexpectedly, however, two days later I suddenly started to feel very drowsy and my right ear became swollen inside and out. It hurt so bad that I couldn’t even touch it. I thought it might have been a symptom of the flu, so I didn’t think too much of it.
One morning a week later, as I was washing my face, I discovered that the right side of my face had gone numb, I couldn’t close my right eye all the way, I couldn’t move my eyebrow and my mouth looked askew. When I looked at myself in the mirror, I realized I looked like an old person with Alzheimer’s, and I panicked, thinking: “My hearing hasn’t recovered yet and now my face is all askew. I’ve never had this condition before. How could this have happened?” I was very afraid, so I hurried to the hospital. The doctor said I had facial paralysis and my condition was very serious, and that it wasn’t certain whether or not it could be cured. Just then, I became completely enveloped in fear, and I thought: “How could I have gotten such a serious illness? What will I do if it can’t be cured?” I was terror-stricken and prayed constantly to God: “O God, I’m so afraid. O God, please help me, please be with me….” After praying, God’s words came to mind, “Almighty God, the Head of all things, wields His kingly power from His throne. He rules over the universe and all things and He is guiding us on the whole earth. We shall often be close to Him, and come before Him in quietness; never shall we miss a single moment, and there are things to learn at all times. The environment around us as well as the people, matters and objects, all are permitted by His throne. Do not have a complaining heart, or God will not bestow His grace upon you. When sickness happens it is due to God’s love, and His good intentions are surely behind it. Even when your body endures suffering, take no ideas from Satan. Praise God in the midst of illness and enjoy God in the midst of your praise. Do not lose heart in the face of illness, keep seeking and never give up, and God shall shine His light on you. How faithful was Job? Almighty God is an all-powerful physician! To dwell in sickness is to be sick, but to dwell in the spirit is to be well. If you have but one breath, God will not let you die” (“Chapter 6” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s authoritative words gave me faith and strength. “Yes,” I thought. “God is all-powerful, and all things are in His hands. He also holds my life and my death in His hands, and whether or not my face will get better is up to God. Although I don’t understand how I could have been struck with this illness so suddenly, I believe that God’s good will is behind it. I must not misunderstand God but should instead have faith in Him. When Job lost everything and his whole body broke out in painful boils, he still kept his faith in God and ultimately stood firm in his testimony to God. I must be like Job!” Having thought this, my anxious heart was eased.
Later, I saw the following words from God: “Those who truly follow God are able to withstand the test of their work, whereas those who do not truly follow God are incapable of withstanding any of God’s trials. Sooner or later they will be expelled, while the overcomers will remain in the kingdom. Whether or not man truly seeks God is determined by the test of his work, that is, by God’s trials, and has nothing to do with the decision by man himself. God does not reject any person at whim; all that He does can utterly convince man. He does not do anything that is invisible to man, or any work that cannot convince man. Whether man’s belief is true or not is proved by the facts, and cannot be decided by man. That ‘wheat cannot be made into tares, and tares cannot be made into wheat’ is without doubt. All those who truly love God will ultimately remain in the kingdom, and God will not mistreat anyone who truly loves Him” (“God’s Work and Man’s Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Thanks be to God! By reading God’s words, I understood that God does not commend every single person who believes in Him. The ones God will save are those who follow Him sincerely, who do not leave Him no matter what pain or tribulations they encounter, and who can stand witness for Him during trials. Those false believers, on the other hand, who merely believe in God with the intent of gaining His blessings will be exposed and weeded out during trials. As I contemplated God’s words, I thought again about Job. During his trials, he lost his property, his children, and his whole body broke out in painful boils, yet he did not lose his faith in God, but maintained a God-fearing, God-obeying heart, extolling the holy name of Jehovah God, saying, “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21). “[S]hall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). By saying these words, he bore resounding and beautiful testimony to God, and he caused Satan to be shamed. Then there was Abraham. When God asked him to offer up his only son Isaac as a burnt offering to God, though his heart was rent with pain, he did not complain or resist, nor did he argue with God. Instead, he obeyed God unconditionally, bore faithful testimony, and obtained God’s blessing and promise. I then understood that this illness that had befallen me was another spiritual battle, behind which Satan was trying to tempt me. It was also God testing me to see whether I had true faith in God and whether or not I was a true believer in God. Thinking back over the time since I began to believe in God, I realized that Satan had always tried to disturb me, from feeling sleepy during church meetings to my head feeling drowsy and my ear swelling up, and then suffering from facial paralysis—each of Satan’s disturbances was more severe than the last. Satan was not reconciled to allow me to accept God’s salvation but wanted to keep me under its control and within its grip, to be corrupted and toyed with at will. Through the guidance of God’s words, I came to have some discernment of Satan’s despicable motives, and I knew that I must not fall prey to its cunning schemes again, but that I must give my true heart to God and submit to His orchestrations and arrangements. Thinking about this, I no longer felt constrained by my illness, and I felt a great sense of ease and release. I then entrusted my illness to God, and I made this resolution: Whether I get better or not, I will not blame God or deny God, but will follow God till the very end!
When I became willing to bear testimony for God, I witnessed His wondrous deeds. A week later, a doctor friend of mine found out about my situation and suggested that I go to her for acupuncture. I thought that my friend’s suggestion might have come from God, so I agreed to give it a try. To my surprise, after only around three weeks of acupuncture treatment, my face began to gradually recover. I then stopped going for acupuncture, and just constantly prayed to God, entrusting my illness into His hands, and trusting God to have the final say on when I would get better. Thanks be to God! Before a month had passed, my facial paralysis was completely cured. Even my friend was surprised and said that there was no way my condition could have gotten better so quickly. I knew that God had opened a way out for me, and my faith in God grew.
Some time later, I moved to Australia after being transferred to a new job. After making contact with the brothers and sisters in the church, they came to my home to help me download Almighty God’s words as well as the software needed to attend online meetings. To my surprise, no sooner had I downloaded this software, than out of nowhere I began to feel a pain in my head and my whole body broke out in a sweat. I hurriedly lay down on the sofa, I was utterly drained of energy and felt for all the world like I was falling to pieces. It almost felt as though there were something growing in my head, and I clutched my head with both hands in pain. One of the church brothers saw the state I was in and hurriedly gave me fellowship, saying that this was Satan trying to disturb me. He told me to pray more to God, to keep my faith and stand witness for God, and not to fall prey to Satan’s cunning schemes. The brother’s reminder made me realize that a spiritual battle was once again upon me, so I hurriedly drew close to God in my heart and asked the brother to play a recitation of God’s words for me to listen to. Through continually praying and listening to God’s words, the pain began to subside a little. That evening, however, the pain in my head got worse. I felt as though my head were about to split open, and the pain was accompanied by a feeling of vertigo which made me so dizzy that I threw up. I was in great pain and suffering, and I couldn’t help but cry, thinking: “I feel so dizzy. Will I make it through the night?” The more I thought about it, the more afraid I became, and I was really worried that I would suddenly faint and die. But I knew that these thoughts were Satan trying to disturb me, and I knew I must not blame God again like I had before. And so, I said a prayer to God: “O God, I’m suffering so much right now. I don’t know why Satan won’t ever let me go, and I don’t know how long this illness will last. But I do not regret believing in You in this life, and no matter how much I suffer, I will never blame You, for I am sure that You are the one true God, and I will believe in You and worship You!” I prayed this way to God in my heart over and over. Just then, a line of God’s words suddenly came to mind: “Faith is like a single log bridge, those who cling abjectly to life will have difficulty in crossing it, but those who are ready to sacrifice themselves can pass over without worry” (“Chapter 6” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words soothed my nerves, and they calmed my suffering, restless heart. They also showed me the path of practice: Only by being willing to give my life could I shame Satan and make it admit defeat. I thought about how I had always treasured my flesh a great deal and had considered my life more important than anything else. Satan knew my weaknesses, and so it used the illness of my flesh to disturb and attack me, trying to make me blame God and betray God. But after experiencing the temptations and disturbances of Satan time and time again, I understood that these were all cunning schemes employed by Satan to try and stop me from coming before God, and that they were also God’s way of testing me. I therefore made a resolution to God: “No matter how Satan might try to disturb me or how my flesh might suffer, I will hold onto my faith and follow You till the very end!” Thanks be to God, for when I became willing to stand witness for God even at the cost of my own life, the pain in my head gradually went away, and my health has stayed fine ever since.
During Satan’s repeated attempts to disturb and tempt me, my flesh did indeed suffer to a degree, but I feel like it was all valuable and meaningful. By experiencing Satan’s temptations, I saw clearly Satan’s despicable and evil ugly countenance, as well as the truth of how it harms and hurts people. I saw that Satan uses all manner of underhanded means, even exploiting our Achilles’ heels, in order to attack and tempt us, vainly attempting to make us misunderstand and blame God and even betray God and lose God’s salvation of the last days. Satan is so evil and despicable! During my experiences, I always felt God beside me, using His words to enlighten and guide me, enabling me to understand His will, to see through Satan’s cunning schemes and to have the faith to stand witness for God! I truly witnessed the fact that God’s wisdom is eternally exercised based on the cunning schemes of Satan, and that God uses Satan’s temptations and cunning schemes to test us, and to perfect our faith in Him and our love for Him—I have truly come to appreciate the love God has for me, and I give thanks and praise to God!