2. Seeing My True Colors Clearly
Xiaoxiao Xuzhou City, Jiangsu Province
Due to the needs of the church’s work, I was reallocated to another place to fulfill my duty. At the time, the gospel work at that place was at a low ebb, and the situation of brothers and sisters was generally not good. But because I was touched by the Holy Spirit, I still took on everything that was entrusted with full confidence. After accepting the entrustment, I felt full of responsibility, full of enlightenment, and even thought I had quite a bit of resolve. I believed I was capable and could perform this job well. In reality, at the time I had no knowledge whatsoever of the work of the Holy Spirit or my own nature. I was living completely in self-satisfaction and self-admiration.
Right when I was brimming with self-pride, I met a brother at a host family who was in charge of the work. He asked me about the situation regarding my work, and I answered his questions one by one while thinking: He will surely admire my work abilities and my unique insights. But never did I expect that after listening to my responses, he not only did not nod in appreciation, he said that my work was inadequate, that personnel has not really been mobilized properly, that I haven’t achieved any results, and so forth. Watching his dissatisfied expression and listening to his assessment of my work, my heart suddenly felt cold. I thought: “He says my work is inadequate? If I haven’t achieved any results, then to what extent will I have to go for it to count as achieving results? It should be good enough that I haven’t resented this rotten task and was willing to take it on, and yet he says I haven’t done a good job.” I was very defiant in my heart and felt so wronged that tears nearly started falling. Those defiant, dissatisfied and rebellious things inside me shot straight to the surface: My caliber can only achieve this much; I’ve done my best anyway, so if I’m inadequate then they might as well find someone else…. My heart was feeling extremely uncomfortable and I was at a loss, unsure of what to make of it, and so I was unable to hear a word he said after that. In those few days, my situation went from brimming with self-pride to feeling depressed and disheartened, from being very pleased with myself to having a stomach full of grievances. A sense of loss engulfed me. … Amid the darkness, I remembered God’s words: “Peter sought to live out the image of one who loves God, to be someone who obeyed God, to be someone who accepted dealing and pruning …” (“Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). What about me? All someone did was criticize me a little, say my work was not good enough, and I felt upset and wanted to quit my job. Is this a person who is willing to accept dealing and pruning? Is this seeking to love God like Peter? Isn’t what I have revealed what God resents? Not wanting others to say I didn’t do good enough and only wanting to receive the praise and recognition of others—isn’t that the basest of pursuits? In that moment, I had a ray of light in my heart, so I opened up The Word Appears in the Flesh and saw such a passage: “It would be best for you to devote more effort on the truth of knowing the self. Why have you not found favor with God? Why is your disposition abominable to Him? Why are your words loathsome to Him? You praise yourselves for your little loyalty and want reward for your small sacrifice; you look down upon others when you show a bit obedience, and become contemptuous of God upon performing some petty work. … A humanity such as yours is really offensive to speak of or hear. What is praiseworthy of your words and actions? … Do you not find this laughable? Surely you know that you believe in God, yet you cannot be compatible with God. Surely you know that you are unworthy, yet you remain boastful. Do you not feel that your sense has become such that you no longer have self-control? How can you with such sense be fit for association with God? Now are you not afraid for yourselves? Your disposition has already become such that you cannot be compatible with God. Is your faith not preposterous? Is your faith not absurd? How will you deal with your future? How will you choose the path to travel down?” (“Those Incompatible With Christ Are Surely Opponents of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words shot through my essence like a sharp sword, rendering me speechless. I was deeply ashamed and overcome with embarrassment. My reasons and my inner struggles vanished like smoke in thin air. In that instant, I experienced the power and authority of God’s word deep in my heart. Through the revelations of God’s word, I finally got to know myself: In the fulfillment of my duty I did not constantly strive for perfection to achieve the best results in order to satisfy God, but was instead content with the status quo and felt very pleased with myself. God says, “… man will ever be as infants before God.” Yet, I not only failed to recognize that my own situation would be resented by God, I even felt wronged when someone criticized me. I really was ignorant and unreasonable! I was always looking for praise for doing a little work, and as soon as it wasn’t received, all my energy would be gone; I sulked petulantly when my efforts were questioned instead of appreciated. At that moment, I saw my face of hypocrisy. I saw that the fulfillment of my duty came with demands and transactions and was full of impurities. It was not for satisfying God or repaying His love, but for ulterior motives.
In the past, when I saw God’s word expose the baseness of man’s humanity, it never used to shine through in my heart and I suspected that God’s word was exaggerating. It was only through God making it manifest that I had an awakening: To be able to fulfill my duty today is God’s great exaltation and His great love. Yet I did not cherish it or treasure it, and instead I pursued things that had no value and no meaning—being praised by people, celebrated by people, noticed by people, and to have standing in people’s hearts. What meaning do these things have? God says man lives not only by relying on food, but also the words expressed through Christ. But what was my life reliant on? I lived by relying on people’s attitude toward me and how they saw me, and I often worried about personal gains and losses because of such things. A few words of recognition or praise or a few words of comfort or consideration would make my energy multiply; a few words of criticism or a negative facial expression would make me disheartened and lose the power and direction of my pursuits. Then why do I ultimately believe in God? Could it be just for the sake of people’s approval? As God’s words revealed, what I cared about was not the truth, not the principles of being human, and not God’s painstaking work, but what my flesh loves, things that have absolutely no benefit to my life. Can another’s enthusiasm toward me prove that God praises me? If I cannot be compatible with God, then aren’t my pursuits still in vain? Thank God for enlightening me! From my own revelations I then thought of Christ’s being, of how Christ came to work on earth to save mankind. But what is mankind’s attitude toward God? He is holy and honorable, the glorious God Himself, but who really treasures God, who lets Him have a place in their hearts, and who truly gives glory to God? Apart from rebellion and resistance, all man presents is blasphemy and rejection, and yet Christ never makes a fuss with mankind or treats people in accordance with their transgressions. He silently endures their devastation and oppression, without ever resisting, but does anyone ever express praise from their heart for Christ’s humility, His kindness or His generosity? By comparison, I saw more and more of my own narrow-mindedness, how I fussed over things, how I always hoped to be praised by people or be valued by them, and other selfish, despicable and shameless behaviors. Even with such lowly character, I still saw myself to be as precious as gold. No wonder God says human sense has reached the point where it has become difficult for mankind to control. God’s words have utterly convinced me. At this time, a kind of longing and attachment for Christ—the Master of all things—generated spontaneously in the depths of my heart. I couldn’t help myself from praying to God: “Oh God! Your disposition, essence, and goodness makes me endlessly envious. Who can compare to You? What You have expressed and revealed among us and everything You have shown to us are all manifestations of Your beauty, Your virtuousness, Your righteousness and majesty. Oh God! You have opened up my heart and made me ashamed of myself, making me bow my face to the ground. You know deeply of my pride, my vanity. If not for Your wonderful orchestrations and arrangements, if not for the brother You sent to deal with me, I would have forgotten who I am long ago. Stealing Your glory yet feeling proud of myself—I really knew no shame! Oh God! Thanks to Your revelations and protection, I managed to see my true self clearly and discover Your loveliness. Oh God! I no longer want to be negative, and I no longer want to live for those lowly things. My only wish is, through Your chastisement and judgment, Your strikes and discipline, to know You, to seek You, and moreover through Your dealing and pruning to fulfill my duty so I can repay You!”