“When you try to forsake your flesh, you will experience a war within. Satan wants you to follow your fleshly notions and safeguard your fleshly interests, but God’s word will inspire and enlighten you and move you and work within you. At such a time, you will have to decide whom to follow. Every time people practice the truth or practice to love God, they will have to experience a great war behind that. Therefore, when you practice the truth, you will have to experience a life-and-death war within. After you go through a fierce war, you will finally overcome. You will not know how many sad tears you have shed behind that….” Every time I heard this hymn of God’s word, I wondered: Is it so difficult to practice the truth? When people do not understand the truth, they can’t put it into practice. Once they have understood the truth, don’t they just need to act according to God’s will? Could they be in such a grave situation that “deep in their heart there is a life-and-death war”? Later, through a practical experience, I came to know that it is indeed not easy to practice the truth, and that God’s words are completely true to fact, without the least exaggeration.
Some time ago, I felt that the sister coordinating with me was arrogant and looked down on me, and I thus fell into a wrong state and began to feel restrained by her. I always worked with restraint, spoke with servility, and acted with caution. And later I even adjusted my words and behavior to her expressions. I lost my burden for the work and lived completely in darkness. Although I knew that I was in a dangerous state, I had no strength to pull myself out of it. In agony, I received God’s guidance within: Talk with the sister with an open heart to seek a path to the light. When I walked to the door of the sister’s room, however, another thought arose in my mind: If I speak my state out, what will the sister think of me? Will she say I’m fussy and troublesome and impossible? At this thought, I seemed to see her strange look and scornful manner, and instantly all my courage was gone. I became weak and limp all over. Then the Holy Spirit inspired me again within: If you have many secrets and can hardly speak them out, then you can hardly come out of the darkness. Are you willing to remain in it? Be brave, I encouraged myself inwardly, it’s not a shameful thing to be simple and open and practice the truth. But along with it, another negative thought pulled me back: If you keep it to yourself, she may think you are good; but if you speak it out, she’ll think you are trivially fussy and will dislike you. Ay! I’d better say nothing of it. When I was again prepared to compromise, God guided me once more: To be an honest person, you can’t be afraid of being shamed. God’s inspiration encouraged me. However, when I just had a little strength, another thought of satan came: If you speak it out, she’ll know your true self and you’ll then be in disgrace. All at once, my heart tightened again. … So the war of positive against negative, white against black, went on and on in my heart. I clearly knew that I was unwilling to speak my state out because I wanted to preserve my vanity and face. But if I preserved them, my state could not be solved, which was not beneficial to the work; only seeking to fellowship and have my problem solved was conducive to the work and was after God’s heart. However, at the thought that after the sister knew my state she might belittle me even more, I lost the courage to practice the truth, feeling that if I really exposed my ugly self I could not live on. For a moment, I was very upset. I felt extremely distressed as if my heart was being burnt, and I found it difficult to take a step forward as if I had to choose between life and death. Insensibly, tears had streamed down my cheeks. Helpless, I had to cry out to God in my heart. At the critical moment, God’s words flashed in my mind: “Young people should not be without the truth, and should not conceal hypocrisy and unrighteousness…. Young people should have the courage to yield not to the oppression by the power of darkness and to change the meaning of your own existence….” God’s words calmed my restless heart at last. No matter what, I can’t be fooled by satan and disobey God anymore. I’ll forsake myself and practice the truth! After I resolvedly opened my heart and fellowshipped with the sister, not only was my problem solved, but my heart lightened as well.
Recalling the fierce inner war of a moment earlier and tasting the agonies of choosing as if between life and death, I realized that my vanity was so strong and it had been a part of my life, so that I lived in darkness and had no strength to struggle free from it despite God’s repeated calling, and could not practice the truth though I understood it. I really had been corrupted by satan too deeply! At the same time, I deeply experienced that it is indeed not easy to practice the truth and to be an honest person.
After this experience, I came to understand that the words “Every time people practice the truth and practice loving God, … deep in their heart there is a life-and-death war. …” in the hymn are spoken in regard to man’s corrupt nature. Because man’s satanic nature has taken its root too deep in man’s flesh, man has been caged and bound by it and it has become man’s life. When man practices the truth, it is also the time he forsakes his fleshly life, which process is just like the one of being thoroughly remolded and raised from the dead. This is truly a life-and-death contest and struggle and is a quite painful process. If one does not have a true knowledge of his nature, does not have the will to suffer, and does not pay some price, he can never put the truth into practice. In the past I thought it easy to practice the truth, because I did not have any knowledge of my corrupt nature and did not know how deeply I have been corrupted. From now on, I will try to know myself more deeply in my experience and pursue to practice the truth and forsake my old self in everything.
Zhengzhou City, Henan Province