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Gospel Reader

Testimony of Faith: How to Overcome the Temptations of Satan (Part 2)

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By Geng Xin

Though when I was tempted this time, I had understood God’s will and not been caught out by Satan’s deceitful scheme, Satan was not quite done yet. Not long after, Satan began to attack me once again.

Testimony of Faith: How to Overcome the Temptations of Satan

(Source: Fotolia)

One day, I suddenly and inexplicably developed a high fever and my temperature soared to 39.2 degrees. I quickly found a nurse and asked for an injection to combat my fever, but although my fever abated somewhat for a short time, it then returned, and I had to keep a cold towel pressed to my head even on such cold days. I passed two days like this and still my fever did not abate. Having no choice, I went to hospital for a checkup. The results came back on the third day and the doctor said that I may have contracted a virus that was attacking my brain, and I was told to admit myself into hospital to have a procedure that would confirm my condition. When the doctor said this, I felt very afraid, and I couldn’t help thinking back to five years before when I had interned at a hospital. At that time, I had seen two tax officials who had had the same condition as I seemed to have, and their treatment had cost them 70 or 80 thousand yuan. In the end, one of them had died, and the other had become mentally handicapped. Because it is very difficult for ordinary drugs to penetrate the blood-brain barrier and kill viruses there, if I really had contracted a brain virus and the treatment didn’t work, best-case scenario was that I would become mentally handicapped; worst-case scenario would be that I could die. Thinking these thoughts, I began to feel a little panicked, and I thought: “If I admit myself to hospital for treatment, I will have to spend all the money I’ve saved up over many years, and how then will I be able to live in the future? I could possibly end up without a penny to my name and still die, and then my family would be finished. O God, what should I do? What should I do?” And so, I told the doctor that I would think about it for a while before I decided whether or not to admit myself to hospital.

Once I got home, I lay on my bed to rest. My wife wanted me to get up and have some soupy rice porridge and, just as I was sitting up, everything suddenly went dark before my eyes, I lost all strength in my body and I fell back on the bed like a pile of mud. My heart was beating incredibly fast and my head felt dazed and confused, and I got all dizzy and felt some nausea and pain, as though I was about to die. I called out in my heart: “O God! Am I about to die?” But because of my previous experience, I knew that this was yet another of Satan’s temptations, and so I prayed continuously to God, asking Him to protect me so that I did not complain about God for what was happening to me.

That afternoon, Brother Li and Brother Zhang came to see me. They asked about my condition and asked what I thought about being sick. Lying on my bed, I replied weakly, “God is almighty. My illness is in His hands, but I can’t help feeling weak in my heart. I’m in so much pain. If by chance my fever continues for a few more days and Satan kills me, what then?” Brother Li listened to me and said, “Brother, God’s word says, ‘Starting today, I will let all people begin to know Me—the only true God who created everything, who came among people and was rejected and slandered by them, who controls and arranges all of everything, the King who is in charge of the kingdom, the God Himself who manages the cosmos, even more so the God who controls the life and death of humans, who holds the key of Hades’ (‘Chapter 72’ of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). ‘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. If man has timid and fearful thoughts, they are being fooled by Satan. It fears that we will cross the bridge of faith to enter into God’ (‘Chapter 6’ of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). We are afraid of being killed by Satan because we don’t know God’s almightiness and sovereignty and because Satan is exploiting our weaknesses. Brother, God created heaven and earth and all things therein and He controls all things. The lives and deaths of mankind are also in His hands, and no matter how savagely Satan behaves, it is still under the sovereignty of God. Satan cannot exceed God’s authority, and so if God does not allow Satan to put our lives in danger, then Satan would not dare to disobey God’s order. Take Job, for example, when he encountered such a great temptation. He lost his property and his children, his whole body, from the top of his head to the soles of his feet, became covered in painful boils and he was in extreme pain. But Job believed that his family property, as well as his life and death, were all in God’s hands, and Satan could not take them without God’s permission. Therefore, Job was able to face it all calmly, submit to God’s arrangements and, by means of his faith, he was able to defeat Satan’s temptation. In the end, Satan had come to the end of its resources and dared not try to tempt Job again. Brother, your illness today is yet another of Satan’s deceitful schemes. We must rely on our faith to get through situations like this, for only then can we stand witness for God.” Brother Li’s fellowship filled my heart with light, and I thought: “Yes, I said just now that God is almighty, and when I believed in the Lord, I’d said to brothers and sisters in the church that God keeps the keys to the afterlife and that He controls our lives and deaths. Now, however, illness has befallen me and yet I’m worrying that Satan will kill me. I really have no real understanding of God’s sovereignty.” At that moment, I couldn’t help but feel a little ashamed.

Brother Zhang then asked me to read a passage of God’s words: “Man may have some understanding of God and be willing to live or die for God, yet Satan is still in control of the weaknesses in man, and it can still cause them to suffer. Evil spirits can still work in people to interfere with them, causing them to be in a confused state of mind, to take leave of their senses, to feel mentally disturbed and suffer interference in all things. There are within man still some things of the mind or the soul that can be controlled and manipulated by Satan. This is why it is possible for you to have illnesses, troubles and to feel suicidal, and at times also feel the desolation of the world, or that life has no meaning. That is to say, this suffering is still under Satan’s mastery—this is a fatal weakness of man” (“The Meaning of God’s Experiencing the Pain of the World” in Records of Christ’s Talks).

As I contemplated these words of God, clear understanding flooded my heart. Satan knew that my fatal weakness is my fear of death, and so it was using illness to disturb me and to make me live in a state of pain and unease with my thoughts scattered and disorderly, so that I would unconsciously lose my faith in God—Satan is so despicable!

Afterward, Brother Zhang gave fellowship, saying, “God’s words reveal the dynamics of the war raging in the spiritual world so that we can clearly see the factual truth of how Satan corrupts and harms us, and see how evil and despicable Satan is. It can grab hold of our fatal weaknesses at any time to disturb us, to make us lose our normal relationship with God, and even to make us shun God and betray God. It really won’t rest until it has dragged us all down into hell. At the same time, this allows us to recognize our own rebelliousness and our shortcomings, and with all manner of corrupt dispositions that have not yet been cleansed away, Satan is given opportunities that it can exploit to its own advantage. But we must also understand that God’s good will is behind Him permitting Satan to tempt and disturb us, for thereby does God wish to reveal His almightiness and wisdom, His power and authority, so that we may come to have a true understanding of God and so that true faith may arise within us for God. As long as we actively cooperate with God, wield God’s words as our weapons in the war against Satan and always remain faithful and devoted to God, then we will be able to stand witness and shame Satan.”

Testimony of Faith: How to Overcome the Temptations of Satan

Having understood these things, I once again said a prayer to God: “O Almighty God! Though I believe in God, from my experiences I see that I have such little faith and I do not truly understand Your almightiness and sovereignty. Your words have today opened the eyes of my spirit and allowed me to see through Satan’s deceitful schemes, and to see that Satan is always beside us, looking for opportunities to devour us and trying to use all manner of people, events and things to disrupt and destroy my normal relationship with You. O God! I thank You for Your protection and guidance. From now on, no matter how Satan tries to harass or attack me, I will never surrender to it. I will shame Satan and I am determined to follow You.”

Something unexpected then happened. When I became willing to sacrifice everything to stand witness for God and shame Satan, a miracle occurred. Early the next day, I got out of bed to discover that my fever had miraculously abated, my head was no longer painful, and my body no longer felt any discomfort. My wife was still worried, however, so she told me to go to hospital for another checkup. After I was examined, the doctor said that there was no longer any possibility that I had a brain virus and that my condition was not serious. He just told me to get some more rest and then I’d be fine. When I heard this, I just kept thanking and praising God in my heart.

I thought of how, ever since I’d started believing in God, temptations had befallen me one after another, and every time I hadn’t understood God’s will and had fallen into a state of negativity and weakness, it had been the enlightenment and guidance of God’s words, as well as the timely fellowships and support of my church brothers, that had finally allowed me to stand firm amidst the harassment and temptations of Satan. Also, by having experienced these situations, my wrong view that belief in God was solely to obtain blessings had been remedied, and I now had the correct view on belief in God. Through my experiences, I came to appreciate the importance of God’s words, and I saw that only the truth can defeat Satan, and only by us living by the truth can we see through Satan’s cunning schemes. As the word of God states: “You will be like fluttering snow without the truth, but with the truth, you can be happy and free, where none can attack you. No matter how strong a theory is, it cannot overcome the truth. With the truth, the world itself can be swayed and mountains and seas moved, whereas a lack of the truth leads to ruin by maggots; this is simply fact” (“Practice the Truth Once You Understand It” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). From this day on, I wish to arm myself with more truths and fulfill my duty to repay God’s love.

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