In our past fellowship, we often talked about the paths Peter and Paul walked, saying that Peter paid attention to knowing himself and knowing God and he was approved by God, whereas Paul only paid attention to working and to fame and position and he was loathed by God. I always feared that I might take the path of Paul, so at ordinary times I often read God’s words concerning Peter’s experience to see how Peter got to know God. After a period of time, I felt that I was a little more obedient than before, that I pursued fame and position less intensely than before, and that I had some knowledge of myself. Then I thought that though I had not yet fully stepped onto the path of Peter, I was very close to it, and at least I was not walking the path of Paul. However, under the exposing of God’s words, I was put to shame.
One morning, during my spiritual devotions I read God’s words: “When Peter did the work, he was performing his duty as a created being. He worked in the course of pursuing to love God and did not work as an apostle. Paul also had his own pursuit in the course of working. … In his working, he did not have his own experience, and he worked completely for the sake of working and did not work while pursuing to be transformed. In his working, all that he did was a deal and was without any duty or obedience of a created being. In the course of his working, his old nature was not transformed. His working only rendered some service to others but could not cause his nature to be transformed. … Peter was different. He was a man who was pruned, dealt with, and refined. The purposes and intents of their working were totally different. Although Peter did not do many works, his nature was greatly transformed. What he pursued was the truth and real transformation, and he did not just do works.”
God’s words touched my heart. I sank into deep meditation: Peter performed his duty as a created being; he worked in the course of pursuing to love God and did not work on the position of an apostle. Do I perform my duty as a created being or work on the position of a leader?
Then, I recalled my states of the past: When there were many affairs for me to attend to in the church and some brother or sister said to me “You are really burdened for God’s work,” I replied quickly, “I’m a leader; I have to attend to them.” Sometimes at the host home or before my co-workers I wanted to show consideration for my flesh and indulge myself, but then I thought to myself, “I can’t do that. I’m a leader; I have to live out a normal humanity and cannot act unrestrainedly.” When I did not want to eat and drink the word of God, I thought, “I’m a leader; if I don’t eat and drink God’s word, how can I solve others’ problems?” Sometimes when some leader under me took me to the host home where she stayed and I saw the host sister was less warm to me than to her, I felt unhappy and thought, “You may not know who I am; I’m her leader.” Sometimes, for some reason I did not want to have fellowship with the brother and sister of the host home, but then I thought, “I’m a leader; if I don’t have fellowship with them when I am here, what will they think of me? Since I’m a leader, I have to fellowship with them.” …
These manifestations caused me to see that I worked on the position of a leader. Whether I had fellowship with others, held meetings, or attended to the affairs, I was obliged to do such works because I was a leader. I was not performing my duty as a created being, and even less was I working in the course of pursuing to love God as Peter did. Only then did I discover that I was not a person who practiced the truth and cared for God’s heart, but a self-seeking base person who worked for the sake of fame and position. In such working, I could never be faithful to God, but only be perfunctory and deceitful. As I “worked completely for the sake of working and did not work while pursuing to be transformed,” how could my service be after God’s heart? Paul worked on the position of an apostle, and his working was full of deals; I worked and expended myself on the position of a leader. So, was there any difference between me and Paul?
Then I fell down before God: O God, thank you for your timely salvation. It has enabled me to know my true state and see that I still walked the path of Paul. O Almighty God! I will perform my duty properly as a created being, and imitate Peter to do what I should do in the course of pursuing to love you, no longer working on the position of a leader. I will do my utmost to pursue toward and stride onto the path of Peter.
Taiyuan City, Shanxi Province