God’s Word Made Me Know Myself
Because of the need of the work of God’s family, I was transferred to another place to perform duty. At that time, the gospel work there was at low ebb and the state of the brothers and sisters was generally bad. But due to the moving of the Holy Spirit, I accepted the commission with full confidence. After accepting it, I felt that I was full of burdens and inspirations, and I even felt that I had a lot of drive, thinking that I was capable and could do this work well. Actually, at that time I had no knowledge of the Holy Spirit’s working or of my inherent nature, and I completely lived in self-satisfaction and self-appreciation.
When I was complacent, in a host home I met a brother in charge of the work. He made some inquiries about my work, and I answered them one by one. I thought to myself, “He will surely appreciate my ability of managing the work and my original views.” But, contrary to my expectation, after hearing my answers, he did not nod his commendation, but instead he said that my work was underdone, that the people were not much mobilized, that few results were achieved, and so on. Looking at his dissatisfied expression and listening to his evaluation of my work, I felt my heart sink within me. I thought, “My work is underdone? If I have not achieved the results, then to what extent do I have to do it before you say I have? It’s good enough that I did not complain about the mess of the work and was willing to undertake it, but you should say I have done it poorly.” I could not take his remarks at all. I felt so wronged that tears nearly came to my eyes. Disagreement, dissatisfaction, and disobedience kept welling up within me: “My quality can only carry me so far. Anyway I’ve done all that I can. If you think I’m incompetent, get someone else to do it….” At that time I was very distressed. I felt so embarrassed and bewildered that I did not hear anything he said afterward. In those few days, I turned from being confident to being disheartened, from being pleased with myself to being full of grievances. And a sense of loss possessed me… In a daze, I thought of God’s words: “Peter pursued to live out the image of a man who loves God and to be a man who obeys God, who accepts dealing and pruning….” But what about me? When the leader criticized me, saying that I had done the work poorly, I felt distressed and wanted to throw up my duty. Was I a person who is willing to accept dealing and pruning? Was I pursuing to love God like Peter? Wasn’t what I expressed loathsome to God? I did not like others’ saying that I did the work poorly, but always wanted to receive others’ commendations and compliments; wasn’t this a lowest pursuit? At the moment, a glimmer of light sprang up in my heart. Then I opened the book of God’s word and read this passage: “You had better exert some effort on the truths of knowing oneself. Why does God not appreciate you? Why is your nature loathed by him? Why is your speaking hated by him? You boast about yourselves when you are a bit faithful, want a reward when you make some contribution, look down upon others when you are a bit obedient, and have no regard for God when you do some small work. … Such humanity of yours is simply unspeakable and is intolerable to the ear. What do you have to boast of in your words and acts? … Don’t you feel that it is ridiculous? You clearly know that you believe in God, but you cannot be compatible with God. You clearly know that you are good for nothing, but you still boast about yourselves. Don’t you feel that your sense has got to the point of being uncontrollable? With such sense, how can you be worthy to come into contact with God? Now aren’t you worried about yourselves? Your nature has got to the point of being incompatible with God. So isn’t your belief very ridiculous? Isn’t your belief very absurd? How will you treat your future? How will you choose the path you walk?” God’s words, like a sharp sword, pierced through my substance and caused me to have nothing to say. I really felt ashamed and guilty, wanting to sink through the ground. My justification and my inner resistance vanished in a flash. At that moment, from the bottom of my heart I felt the power and authority of God’s words. In the disclosure of God’s words, I came to know myself. In performing my duty, I did not pursue to do the work better to satisfy God, but I was content with the existing state of affairs and was pleased with myself. God’s word says: “…you are forever a newborn baby in God’s eyes and do not have many elements that please God, because you are created beings in God’s hand after all. If man has a mind of self-contentment, won’t he be one loathed by God?” I, however, not only did not realize that my state was loathed by God, but when someone else criticized me I even felt wronged. I was really ignorant and unreasonable! When I did some small work, I always wanted praise; once I could not get it, I worked listlessly. When I exerted myself a little and yet received no praise and was dealt with, I pouted and wanted to quit my duty. From these, I saw my hypocritical features. I saw that in performing my duty I made demands and bargains and was full of mixtures; I was not to satisfy God and repay God’s love but had other intentions.
In the past, when I read God’s words disclosing that man is low, I was always unclear about it and suspected that God’s words were exaggerated. Through God’s exposing, I somewhat woke up: It is God’s great uplifting and great love that I can perform this duty today. However, I did not cherish and treasure it, but I pursued the worthless, meaningless things—pursued to be complimented, praised, and regarded highly by others, and to have a place in their heart. What meaning does this have? God says that man does not live on bread alone, but on the words expressed by the mouth of Christ. But what did I live on? I lived on others’ attitudes toward me and on their opinions of me. It is so ridiculous and absurd a thing to say, but I indeed lived in this way and often worried about personal gains and losses in terms of them. A complimentary remark or a comforting, considerate word would redouble my enthusiasm; a critical remark or an unpleasant countenance would make me become disheartened and lose the motivation and direction for my pursuit. Then what do I believe in God for? Simply for others’ recognition of me? As God’s words disclose, what I care about is not the truth, the principles of being a man, or God’s painstaking work, but the things that my flesh likes and that are of no benefit to my life. Even if others were warm to me, could it prove that God approves me? If I cannot be compatible with God, isn’t my pursuit in vain? Thank God for his inspiration! I turned my thought from my expression to Christ’s being. Christ has come to earth to work to save man, but what is mankind’s attitude toward Christ? Christ is holy and honorable and is the glorious God Godself, but who truly regards her as precious? Who lets her have a place in his heart? And who truly gives glory to her? Besides disobeying and resisting her, mankind blasphemes and rejects her, but she never squares accounts with men and never treats men according to their transgressions. She silently endures being wrecked, bullied, and oppressed by men, never fighting back. But who utters praises from his heart for her humbleness, kindness, and bosom? By contrast, I saw more clearly my selfish, contemptible, shameless, and revolting manners: being narrow-minded, taking things hard, always wanting to be praised and valued by others, and so on. I am so low in character, yet I viewed myself as precious as gold. No wonder God says that man’s sense has got to the point of being uncontrollable. God’s word made me sincerely convinced. At the moment, a thirst and attachment for Christ—the ruler of all things—was spontaneously conceived in the depths of my heart. I could not help praying to God, “O God, your nature, your substance, and your beauty make me overflow with admiration. Who can compare with you? What you have expressed and manifested among us and what you have disclosed about us all reflect your beauty, your kindness, and your righteousness and majesty. O God, you have made me broad-minded and made me feel ashamed and disgraced and fall on my face. You deeply know my arrogance and vanity. If it had not been for your wonderful manipulation and arrangement and your dealing and discipline through man, I would have early forgotten who I am. I stole your glory but thought myself honorable. I am really shameless! O God! Thanks to your exposing and keeping, I have known myself and discovered your loveliness. O God, I do not want to be passive or live for those debased things anymore. I only desire to know you and pursue you in your chastisement and judgment, and smiting and discipline, and even more, to perform my duty properly in your dealing and pruning to repay you.”
Xuzhou City, Jiangsu Province