Fan Xing Zhumadian City, Henan Province
In the past, I was paired up with a sister to work on some duties. Because I was arrogant and conceited and did not seek after truth, I had some preconceived ideas toward this sister which I always kept in my heart and didn’t openly communicated with her. When we separated, I had not entered the truth of a harmonious working relationship. Later, the church arranged for me to work with another sister and I established a resolution before God: From now on, I will not walk in the paths of failure. I’ve learned my lesson and so this time I will certainly have more open communication with this sister and reach a harmonious working relationship.
Every time there was a conflict or a gap between us as we performed our duties together, I would take the initiative to communicate with the sister and speak my heart. I would ask her which aspects I was performing improperly. The sister would then point out that I was arrogant and conceited and that I would always reject her viewpoints in our communications. She said sometimes I would point out her circumstances and unfairly label her, and that during gatherings, I made all the decisions about reading God’s word. I nodded in agreement to all these things the sister pointed out about me. I thought: “Since you say I am arrogant, then I will speak with more humility from now on and pay particular attention to speaking wisely and tactfully. If I discover any problems you have, then I will downplay them when I mention them. If you don’t recognize them, then I won’t talk about them. During gatherings, I will eat and drink whatever you tell me to eat and drink, and I will listen to everything you say. Wouldn’t this resolve every issue?” After this, I began to put this into practice. Before speaking, I would think how I could avoid negating the sister’s idea. When our viewpoints were not aligned with each other, I would defer to her viewpoint and carry out her idea. When I saw the sister doing something the wrong way, I wouldn’t clearly explain it to her. But after a period of time of behaving this way, I realized that my “forsake the flesh and put truth into practice” ideology had not changed our relationship at all. Rather, it reinforced her preconceived ideas about me. In seeing these results, I felt wronged. I thought: “I have already tried my best to put truth into practice, why isn’t it working? This sister is not easy to get along with, she doesn’t have the least amount of sensibility.” Therefore, I sank into negativity and my heart became extremely pained.
One day, a leader came to us to inspect our work and ask how our situations were during this time period. I then expressed what my situation was. After listening, the leader said: “This method of yours is not putting truth into practice. You are impure inside. You are doing this for your own purpose and are not acting in accordance with truth.” Following this, we read two passages of God’s words. God said: “On the outside, it seems as if you are putting truth into practice, but in reality, the nature of your actions does not show that you are putting truth into practice. There are many people with some outward behaviors, who believe ‘I am putting truth into practice…,’ But God says: ‘I do not acknowledge that you are putting truth into practice.’ What is this? This is a kind of behavior, and seriously speaking, you could be convicted for it; it will not be praised, it will not be commemorated. Even more seriously speaking, in dissecting this, you are doing evil, your behavior is in opposition to God. From the outside, you are not interrupting, disturbing, damaging anything, or violating any truth. It seems what you are doing is logical and reasonable, but you are doing evil and resisting God. Therefore you should look to the source as God has required, to see whether there is a change in your disposition or whether you have put truth into practice. It is not about conforming with the imaginations and opinions of man, or with your personal preferences. It is not these. Rather, it is God who says whether you are conforming with His will; it is God who says whether your actions have truth and whether or not they are up to His standards. Measuring yourself against God’s requirements is the only right way” (“What You Should Know About Transforming Your Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks). “Human ideas usually look good and right to people and they look like they do not violate truth that much. People feel that doing it this way is putting truth into practice, they feel that doing it this way is submitting to God. Actually, people are not really seeking God and praying to God about this. They are not striving to do it well to satisfy God’s will, nor striving to do it well according to His requirements. They do not have this true situation, and they don’t have such desire. This is the greatest error people make in their practice, because you believe in God, but God is not in your heart. How is this not a sin? How is this not deceiving yourself? What effect will believing this way have? Where is the practical significance in believing in God?” (“Seeking God’s Will and Putting Truth Into Practice to the Greatest Extent Possible” in Records of Christ’s Talks). I tried to figure out God’s words and compared them with my so-called situation of “putting truth into practice.” My heart lit up. So, the way I was doing things was not intended to satisfy God. It was intended to protect my own vain dignity. I was afraid the leader would say my nature was flawed, that I didn’t seek truth, and that I didn’t work well with anyone. In addition, I thought it was a pretext for easing my relationship with the sister and breaking away from the embarrassment and pain produced by the conflict. I thought it would redeem the image other people had of me and allow them to see that I had changed. It can be seen that my so-called “putting truth into practice” was for my own purposes. It was all done in front of others and was not established on the basis of seeking to satisfy God. I didn’t despise myself and sincerely forsake the flesh because I wasn’t aware of my arrogant and conceited nature. In reflecting on working with the sister, it was because I didn’t recognize my arrogant and conceited nature, and because I thought highly of myself and always thought I was better than others that when I spoke, I was unwittingly standing on a pedestal belittling others. When handling matters, I loved to be in charge; I did things my own way, and never consulted other people’s ideas. When the sister pointed out these problems that I had, I didn’t seek out the corresponding truth to analyze and understand the substance of my nature. More so, I didn’t seek out how I should put it into practice in accordance with God’s requirements and in accordance with truth. I only changed a few outer actions, thinking that since I stopped doing things that were wrong, I was putting truth into practice. Actually, everything I was practicing was truth based on my own notions. It was all outward actions and had nothing to do with God’s word. God would not acknowledge that I was putting truth into practice. Because I was not practicing in line with God’s requirements and was not practicing in accordance with truth, and everything I did was done to satisfy my personal desires and reach my own purposes, therefore my actions were wicked in God’s sight; it was resisting God.
After becoming aware of this, I consciously combined God’s word to understand my own corrupt nature in life. When I expressed my corruption or I became aware that my situation was not right, I openly revealed my position and I analyzed it and looked for the source according to God’s word. When I did this, my speech and actions were naturally subdued, and I knew the position I should stand. I had respect for people and submitted with patience. Forsaking the flesh became much less difficult and we could also have heart to heart communication. Our association had become much more harmonious than in the past.
Through these experiences, I have come to understand that putting truth into practice should be based on God’s word and should be established on the principles of truth. If one leaves God’s word, then everything becomes an outer action, that is, putting the truth of their own notions into practice. Even if I did things well and correctly, it still wouldn’t be considered putting truth into practice, and it more so wouldn’t bring changes to my life disposition. From now on, regardless of what I am doing, I want God’s words to be the principles of my actions and fully put God’s word into practice so that my conduct will be in accordance with truth and with God’s will and obtain God’s satisfaction.