Lingxin Shijiazhuang City, Hebei Province
A few days ago, I read a passage from “The Way to Entering Into Reality” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (IV): “For example, now there is someone who has taken a wrong turn. Using this as a talking point to communicate the truth, how would you do it? … First, you should testify to the work of God, testify to how God saves mankind. Then, you can talk about whether the road he is on leads to God’s salvation, whether he can obtain the work of the Holy Spirit, and whether this is a road which God approves. So, first you testify to God’s work, and then testify to the road God is leading us down, that is, the road to salvation. Let him see God’s love and His salvation, and only then can he go on the right way. To resolve this problem, is it all right for you to not testify to or lift up God? If you only talk about which road leads to salvation and which road does not lead to salvation, but you don’t testify to the work of God, you’re still just talking about doctrines. However, if you testify first to the work of God, then talk about these two roads, then you are no longer talking about doctrines.” When I read these words, I was puzzled inside. In my heart I thought: Both ways talk about how a person should practice the truth. Why is it that the one which does not bring up God’s work is talking about doctrines, but the one which does talk about God’s work and then brings up these things is not talking about doctrines? As I was contemplating this, I thought of the story in the Bible of David defeating the Philistine giant, Goliath. At that time, David first lifted up Jehovah, then slung the stone, and finally defeated Goliath. If David had not lifted up Jehovah at that moment, and just went ahead and directly slung the stone, would he have been able to defeat Goliath? Certainly not. This is because the only reason David was able to defeat Goliath was entirely because he believed in Jehovah, depended on Jehovah, and because Jehovah helped him. If he did not lift up Jehovah, he would be unable to obtain Jehovah’s help. Regardless of his great stone-slinging skills, he would not have been able to defeat Goliath. When I think of this, it suddenly becomes clear in my heart. The reason God asks people to lift Him up and to look toward Him is not to ask people to observe rules or rituals, but rather to have a place for God in their hearts, to honor God as the greatest in their hearts. If a person genuinely allows God to be lifted high and looks toward Him, this shows that they have a place for God and can honor God as the greatest in their heart. In this way, when people go before the face of God they can receive His joy and blessings, and the Holy Spirit will work within them. All the work they do will not rely on their own doing, but on God’s guidance of their work. And the effect will naturally be good. If a person does not lift up God and look toward Him, this shows that his heart has no place for God, and that everything they do is by virtue of their own work. Such a person is detestable to God and will most certainly not receive His blessings or obtain work from the Holy Spirit. Thus, his work will not be effective. At this point, I cannot help but wonder: Is the continuous ineffectiveness of my own practice of the truth related to the fact that I do not lift up God or look toward Him in everything I do? Looking back over the years, I see that my prayers before God and my own way of practicing the truth were completely disjointed. In practicing the truth, I seldom relied on God or looked toward Him. By relying on my own strength to practice the truth, I was unable to receive help from the Holy Spirit. This is why things always felt particularly difficult, strenuous and I was unable to see distinct results.
Since then, I’ve begun making a practice of lifting up God and looking toward Him in every matter in real life. Every morning when I pray, I place myself fully in the hands of God, allowing God to have full control over my life that day. Regarding the important matter of my own salvation, I will commit fully to prayer and look toward God. I do not know what I lack or what I need. However, everything is very clear to God. He understands me best. God knows best what environment I need in my pursuit of salvation, what I need to experience, what I need to enter into. So, I give myself completely into God’s hands, allow God to “sculpt” and control me. I only wish to be a person who is obedient to God, and follow God’s guidance on the road to salvation. Moreover, in every matter in real life, I will look up to God first, allow God to go before me to lead, and I will follow after Him, following God’s will in all my word and deed. After some time, I found that I did not experience each day like my former muddle-headed self. Now when I face something, I know which aspect of the truth I should practice, which aspect of reality I should enter into, and what God’s will is. These are all much clearer than before. Without knowing it, I can easily practice some truths. For example: In the aspect of quieting my heart before God, although before I also wanted to be still when I went before God, I always felt like my heart wasn’t under my own control, and was unconsciously being occupied by meaningless things. Sometimes even when I was editing articles, my mind would wander, and I was unable to control it. Today, I do not have to try really hard to control myself. Without even knowing it, the instances when my heart is occupied by outside things have become less. Although my mind will still occasionally wander, I can immediately realize it, and it is easy for me to bring my mind back. In the aspect of knowing myself, previously I also wanted to make some progress each day, knowing myself a little more. However, I always failed to take hold of my inner thoughts. I always forgot to take hold of them in order to know myself. Oftentimes at night I would think, “How have I failed to know myself again today?” I continuously passed every day like this in vain. Now, whenever certain thoughts appear in my mind, it is quite easy for me to take hold of them. After I realize these thoughts, I will pray to God to know myself better, and in my heart I am particularly hateful of myself, and I have the strength to deny my flesh. When I face certain environments, I also know that God uses this environment to reveal the aspect in which I am corrupt or lacking. Then, I will equip myself with truth in this aspect. Regarding the aspect of fulfilling one’s duty instead of just doing the bare minimum, in the past when I unintentionally revealed my tendency toward doing just enough to get by, sometimes I myself was unaware. Sometimes I was aware, but just did not focus on resolving it. Now, when I have this tendency in my heart, I have awareness in my heart. Then, through prayer I am able to reverse this condition inside of myself. I am deeply aware that all of this results from God leading me and opening me up. It is only through the Holy Spirit giving me strength that I achieve this. All the glory goes to God!
After these realizations, I understood that the reason I felt it was difficult to practice the truth in the past was because I completely relied on myself to practice the truth, relied on myself to walk down the road to salvation. I did not have any place for God in my heart, in my experiences I didn’t practice God’s word, and I did not receive the work of the Holy Spirit. Just as God has said: “It used to be that no one knew the Holy Spirit, and they particularly did not know what the path of the Holy Spirit is. That’s why people always made fools of themselves in front of God. It can be said that nearly all of the people who believe in God do not know the Spirit, but just have a confused kind of belief. It’s clear from this that people do not understand God, and even though they say they believe in Him, in terms of the essence of it, based on their actions they believe in themselves, not God” (“The Path… (5)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). The opening up of God’s word allows me to understand that believers pursuing salvation rely on the work of the Holy Spirit, they are all those who are led by the Holy Spirit. Those who rely on themselves will not achieve it. In the past, I simply did not rely on God, look to Him, nor did I seek God’s lead. I tossed God aside, and blindly did whatever I wanted in my own strength without any results. I also complained that believing in God and practicing the truth was too hard. Now I know that it was because I did not “believe” in God. God’s word says: “What is man capable of doing? Is it not rather that I do it Myself? Why do I say that I personally descend upon the place where battle is joined? What I want is your faith, not your deeds” (“The Tenth Utterance” of God’s Utterances to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “As long as you offer up your heart to God and obey His guidance, all will come to fruition. Why do you think it’s so difficult?” (“Those Whose Disposition Has Changed Are Those Who Have Entered Into the Reality of God’s Words” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Looking back on the Israelites who left Egypt, wasn’t it God who was leading them personally? Israelites did not do anything; they only had to follow the pillar of cloud and fire. Along the way, all of the difficulties they encountered were personally eliminated by Jehovah God Himself. Isn’t today’s road of salvation just like that of the Israelites fleeing Egypt? God simply requires us to have faith in Him, to look to God, give our own heart to God and follow God’s lead. This way, people can receive the work of the Holy Spirit. Once the Holy Spirit starts working within someone, it is very easy for them to practice any aspect of the truth. Because it is God Himself who would battle with Satan, it is the word of God that changes our inner satanic disposition. This cannot be accomplished through our work. After understanding these, my confidence in God grew exponentially. Although now I still only have a very superficial entry into various aspects of the truth, I believe that as long as I continue to lift up God and depend on Him, God will lead me into the whole truth and I will finally achieve salvation!
Thank God for opening me up and for His guidance, allowing me to truly understand that the greatest wisdom is to lift God up and look to Him in my every experience. Only through lifting God up and looking to God can man experience the work of the Holy Spirit. A man can easily practice truth and pursue salvation only with the work of the Holy Spirit. At the same time, God helped me recognize my fatal deviation on my road of believing in God—confessing my belief in God with my mouth, but lacking God in my experience. In the past, I relied on myself to walk the road of salvation, relied on myself to do whatever I wanted to achieve. Ten years of experiments proved that I was on the path to failure. From now on, I’m willing to abandon my previous way of believing in God and the way of experiencing God. I will practice truth according to the new way of experiencing God, through God’s guidance walk the remaining path. I will rely on God to practice His word, understand the truth, and believe that God will surely lead me into the reality of truth.