Wuzhi Linyi City, Shandong Province
In the spring of 2006, I was stripped of my position as leader and sent back to where I had come from because I was considered too much of a “yes-man.” When I first got back, I plunged into a crucible of torment and agony. I never thought that after years of leadership things would go downhill on account of being a “yes-man.” This was the end for me, I thought, everyone familiar with me would know of my failure and I would be held up as a bad example in the church. How could I face others after all this? The more I thought, the more negative I became, until I finally lost the faith to continue seeking the truth. However, when I thought of all the sacrifices and expenditures I had made in these past few years, I couldn’t bring myself to quit. If I completely write myself off and accept failure, won’t all my efforts be for naught? Won’t people then think even less of me? I can’t let that happen! I’ve got to stand up for myself and not let others look down their noses at me. Now, no matter how hard I must try, how many wrongs I suffer, I’ve got to buck up—I can’t quit halfway! As long as I remember the lessons of failure and focus on seeking the truth, maybe one day I can become a leader again. With these thoughts in mind, all the negativity and sadness faded and I felt a renewed energy in my pursuit.
From that moment onward, I put in long hours every day, actively eating and drinking God’s word to equip myself with truth while reflecting and making insight into my past transgressions. I wrote countless essays detailing my experience of life, as well as sermons. A while later, when I saw that two of my essays had been selected, I felt even more faith in my pursuit. I thought to myself: Just keep working and soon enough my dream will become a reality. In that way, I continued in my pursuit and felt comforted that my condition had more or less returned to “normal.”
One day during spiritual cultivation, I was drawn to a certain passage of God’s word: “If you are to understand yourself, you must understand your true situation; the most important thing in understanding your own situation is to have a grasp on your own thoughts and ideas. In every time period, people’s thoughts have been controlled by one major thing; if you can get a hold of your thoughts, you can get a hold of the thing behind them” (“People Who Always Have Requirements for God Are the Least Reasonable” in Records of Christ’s Talks). Thinking over God’s word, I suddenly turned the question back on myself: What dominates my thoughts now? What lies behind all my thoughts? I began to carefully reflect on my thought process and, with God’s guidance, came to realize that ever since I had been replaced, my thoughts had been dominated by the desire that “I must wrest back my former reputation and status and stand up for myself. I can’t keep being looked down upon by others.” This thought had been like a spiritual pillar, allowing me to persevere through the crucible of my own despair and giving me the drive to pursue my goal. With this thought in mind, I had remained “staunch and unyielding” under the constant barrage of “insults and humiliation.” At this moment, I realized that my pursuit was impure, full of desire and not in the least bit positive.
Thinking back, I see that God had exposed me to allow me to reflect on myself and understand my own satanic nature so that I could be grounded and forthright in my pursuit of truth, cast of evil and sin and receive the salvation of God. However, I certainly did not thank God for His gift of salvation, nor did I hate myself for the evils I committed. What’s more, I didn’t reproach myself or feel repentant for failing to live up to God’s hopes. Rather, driven by the arrogant nature that “I must prevail at any cost,” I poured myself into the scheming of this plot, thinking only of the day when I would rise again, be reanointed as a leader, and regain the reputation that I had so thoroughly damaged. Effectively, I was hoping to rebuild a satanic image of myself for others to admire and worship. Clearly, I had grand ambitions—so grand that I was willing to go fist for fist against God to the very end. I was arrogant in the extreme and had not the least bit of reverence or fear for God in my heart. Reflecting back on my former state, I felt the hair stand up on my neck. I never would have imagined that such wild ambition lay behind my thoughts. No wonder God said, “if you can get a hold of your thoughts, you can get a hold of the thing behind them.” Indeed. In the past, I viewed my thoughts as fleeting notions and never took the time to analyze and understand them. Only now do I understand that grasping one’s thoughts and actively analyzing the things held deep within one’s heart is of grave importance to understand one’s inner nature!
Thank God for this enlightenment, which has lifted me out of blindness. If not, I would still be hoodwinked by my own falsity—careening forth with blind ambition toward my own imminent demise. How incredibly scary! In the process, I also realized that in replacing me, God was protecting me and granting me salvation. For someone with such arrogance and mad ambition, if I had not gone through the tormenting crucible of God’s chastisement and judgment, I would invariably become an antichrist and invite my own demise. Dear God, I vow to abandon all wrongful pursuits, turn away from my arrogance and ambition and obey Your every command. I will pursue the truth in earnestness, fulfill my every duty and live as a real and true person to comfort Your heart.