Xiaowei Shanghai City
Some time ago, even though I always received some inspiration and benefit when a sister who partnered with me shared the enlightenment she had attained while eating and drinking the word of God, I also always had the lingering sense that she was showing off. I would think to myself, “If I respond to her right now, won’t I be pandering to her? In that sense, will I not then seem lesser than her?” As a result, I refused to bring up my own views in communion or comment on any of the thoughts that she shared. One time, my sister, having received some insights from eating and drinking a particular passage of God’s word, felt that there was something wrong with our situation and asked me if I would be willing to commune with her on that passage of God’s word. As soon as she asked, all these thoughts and feelings of resentment floated to the surface: “You just want to testify to yourself, to have an audience to preach to. Why should I commune with you?” I even went so far as to skip out on a meeting so I wouldn’t have to hear her. After a while, I felt a heavy weight in my heart, I knew something was wrong with my situation, but I couldn’t think of a good way to resolve my inner conflict. All I could do was to fully invest myself in my duties, eat and drink the word of God, and sing the hymns to distract myself from these negative feelings. However, whenever I had to face the current situation, the same corruption would rise in my heart—things were getting worse, not better—and I hadn’t a clue what to do about it.
A few days later, I had a confrontation with the sister during communion. The sister said: “Recently you’ve been very quiet during communion, something seems off with you lately.” I felt those words like a punch in the gut, but to not lose face I denied that there was any problem. At the time it seemed to me that the sister had been too arrogant: She seemed to speak without any regard to my own dignity and I got the sense she was looking down on me. All the old corrupt thoughts came rushing back. The more I struggled, the darker grew my spirit; I had lost touch with God. Feeling utterly helpless, I knelt before God and prayed that He enlighten me to my actual state. In the midst of prayer, the word of God came to me: “Those who see the work of the Holy Spirit as a game are frivolous!” (“Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Afterward, I also came upon the following passage: “The Holy Spirit not only works in certain men who are used by God, but even more in the church. He could be working in anyone. He may work in you now, and after you have experienced it, He may work in someone else next. Follow closely; the more you follow the present light, the more your life can grow. Follow those whom the Holy Spirit works in, whatever kind of man he may be. Take in his experiences through your own, and you will receive even higher things. In so doing you will see growth more quickly. This is the path of perfection for man and a way through which life grows. The path to perfection is reached through your obedience to the work of the Holy Spirit. You do not know through what kind of person God will work to perfect you, nor through what person, occurrence, or thing He will bring you profit and enable you to gain some insight. If you are able to walk onto this right track, this shows that there is great hope for you to be perfected by God. If you are unable to do so, this shows that your future is bleakness and one of darkness” (“The Truly Obedient Shall Surely Be Gained by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Reading this passage, I realized with a start: All this time I’ve been resisting the work of the Holy Spirit! In these days, my sister has often received enlightenment from eating and drinking the word of God, she has some burden for her duty and the life of others, and is happy to support and help others; clearly the Holy Spirit is working through her. I should be obedient to the work of the Holy Spirit and accept her help, but instead I took the sister for a show-off, thinking she only wanted to prove how much better she was than everyone else. As a result, I rejected her insights, and refused to commune with her. God was working through the sister to show me my state and help me and all I did was cast resentment and prejudice and take her as my enemy. On the surface, it looks as though this was just a conflict between me and the sister, but in reality I’ve been pitting myself against God! Was I not rejecting and resisting the work of the Holy Spirit? How crafty, ugly, arrogant, and obstinate I’ve been! To save face and preserve my status, I refused to put myself aside to receive her help and even rejected, avoided and passed judgment on her communion! Not an ounce of reason or humanity to be found! At this point, I realized I hadn’t truly been living in obedience and fear of God, I did not love the truth and I was blind to the precious work of the Holy Spirit in my sister. Instead, I placed my own personal status and vanity ahead of anything else. I would have rather abandoned the work of the Holy Spirit than lose face. How were my actions any different from those religious leaders, who, in order to secure their fame and status, resisted and condemned God even while knowing that this is the way of truth? Was I not just another frivolous person who, just as God said, sees the work of the Holy Spirit as a game? Looking back, I realize that the Holy Spirit was not just working in the sister, He was also trying to improve me, to open my eyes and gain something from the process. What did I do in return? I was arrogant and conceited and refused God’s grace at every moment. How many opportunities did I miss to be perfected, to be enlightened and gain more insights into the truths! How foolish I’ve been, how stupid!
At that moment, I felt even greater rancor and guilt for all that I’ve done, so I prayed to God, “God, I have been blind, foolish, and arrogant, and in no way deserve the work You have carried out in me or to be perfected by You. God, thank You for Your guidance and enlightenment, for showing me my own ignorance and absurdity. I promise You, from now on, whichever of my sisters and brothers is communing, as long as they speak in line with God’s word or with God’s will, I will follow, obey and accept, because this is the path toward growth in my life and a mark of Your blessing. I am not obedient to any one person, but rather to all the positive things that come from You. It is a chance to accept Your perfection. Should I disobey or rebel against You again, I ask that You cast punishment upon me.”