19. Shaking Off the Shackles of the Spirit
Wu Wen Zhengzhou City, Henan Province
I was a weak person with a sensitive character. When I didn’t believe in God, I would frequently feel down and distressed from things that came up in life. There were many of these times, and I always felt that my life was difficult; there was no joy, no happiness in my heart to speak of. After I started believing in God, there was a period of time where I felt particularly joyous and at peace, but after that, I once again felt the same as ever. I couldn’t make sense of why I was always that way.
That was until the day I saw these words from God: “Because people love themselves too much, their whole lives are anguished and empty….” (“The Forty-sixth Utterance” of God’s Utterances to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). At that time, it seemed I knew the reason for my sorrow—I was too conceited. I would frequently feel distressed and in pain from a few unpleasant words or from a sidelong glance from another person. I felt injured and sad when I was dealt with and pruned. I was worried about my future path in life. … Wasn’t all of this because I cared too much about my own reputation, status, vanity, desires, and future destiny? As for these revelations, in the past, I only thought that this was because there were so many things in my heart and mind, that my thoughts were heavy, that face-saving was important to me, and that I was superficial, but I had not resolved the problem of the path of entering in. Could it be that it was because I was too conceited, I lived amidst the suffering of Satan, in bondage by it? I silently sought within my heart. Later, when I was flipping through God’s words in “Escape From the Influence of Darkness and You Will Be Gained by God,” I saw these words from God: “Men who have not been released, who are always controlled by certain things and unable to give their hearts to God, are men who are under the bondage of Satan, and who are living under an aura of death.” I thought: Isn’t this exactly my condition? I became even more certain. Next, I saw more of God’s words: “To escape from the influence of darkness, you must first be loyal to God and have the eagerness to seek the truth—only then will you have a correct state. Living in the correct state is the precondition for escaping from the influence of darkness. Not having the correct state means that you are not loyal to God and that you do not have the eagerness to seek the truth. Then, escaping from the influence of darkness is out of the question. Man’s escape from the influence of darkness is based on My words, and if man cannot practice in accordance with My words, they will not escape from the bondage of the influence of darkness. To live in the correct state is to live under the guidance of God’s words, to live in the state of being loyal to God, to live in the state of seeking the truth, to live in the reality of sincerely expending for God, to live in the state of genuinely loving God. Those who live in these states and within this reality will gradually transform as they enter more deeply into the truth, and they will transform with the deepening of the work, until eventually they will certainly be gained by God, and they will come to genuinely love God” (“Escape From the Influence of Darkness and You Will Be Gained by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Reading this, I felt my heart brighten. When people love themselves, they cannot possibly have a proper relationship with God, and their heart for pursuing the truth cannot be that great. In the end, because of their conceit, they will ruin themselves by living under Satan’s domain. Thanks to the enlightenment from God’s words that allowed me to see my own danger and that there is a path to throwing off the influence of darkness. First I must have a heart of pursuing of the truth, to allow myself to live a life of being led by the words of God. By only living in the right condition and obtaining the work of the Holy Spirit, the corruption within mankind can change along with the deepening of the truth and the deepening of the work. This is the way of the work of the Holy Spirit. But I had ignored this aspect, only passively trying to deal with my corruption on my own, not proactively relying on the work of the Holy Spirit to change myself. No wonder I only achieved temporary restraint; I had not resolved this condition from its root. Just as it says in God’s words: “Therefore, the more that people are in the presence of God the easier they are to be perfected by God. This is the path by which the Holy Spirit does His work. If you do not understand this, it will be impossible for you to enter onto the right track, and being perfected by God will be out of the question. … with only your own hard work and none of God’s work. Would this not be something wrong with your experience?” (“On Experience” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). After understanding this, I put myself on this path even more consciously, forsaking myself, paying no mind to my feelings and thoughts; instead, I put my heart toward seeking the truth, devoutly fulfilling my duty, to exercise thinking more about God’s words, to rely on God’s words in my actions, to allow myself to live in the right condition. Although there have been times in my specific practice that I have not acted completely correctly, I have felt the release and freedom of living in the light and I have enjoyed the work of the Holy Spirit. Not only have I been able to see my own corruption and deficiencies, but I have had the determination of longing to change soon and the motivation to practice the truth. My outlook has changed as well; I’m no longer gloomy, depressed, and lifeless, but there is vitality and vigor in my heart. I have also become more cheerful, and I feel very happy to be living in the church!
Of course, this aspect of corruption in me is too deep and it is not possible to entirely throw off Satan’s influence from putting these things into practice a few times. However, God has allowed me to have a foretaste of the sweetness of “throwing off the influence of darkness, living in the light,” which has given me motivation and hope in my pursuit. I believe that as long as I continue to persevere in cooperating with God and walk the path God has pointed out, seek the truth in all things, and live by God’s words, I will throw off the shackles of the spirit, throw off the influence of darkness, and be gained by God.