35. What Is It That Has Deceived My Spirit?
Xu Lei Zaozhuang City, Shandong Province
One day I received a notice about a meeting. Normally this is a happy event, but as soon as I thought about what a complete mess my own work had been in lately, I couldn’t help feeling worried. If my superior knew how I hadn’t finished any of my work, he would certainly have to deal with me, and may even replace me. What would I do then? The next day I went along to the meeting with a heavy heart. When I got there, I saw that my superior had not yet arrived, but some co-workers were there already. I thought: “I don’t know what state any of their work is in. At the last meeting, I heard them say how they’d pretty much done their work, and this time they must surely have finished it all. If they have finished all their work and it’s only me who is so bad, then I’m done for.” I was surprised then that, when we were together talking about our own work situations, many of my co-workers were saying how they hadn’t finished some parts of their work. When I heard this, my heart that had been so heavy before suddenly felt a lot lighter. I thought: “It turns out that no one has finished their work, not just me. No need to worry then. We can’t all be replaced.” The greater part of my uneasy feelings then disappeared in an instant.
Just as I was starting to get comfortable in my state of self-consolation, a passage in a fellowship from the above drifted into my mind: “If one brings worldly views into God’s family, then they are conceptions and they defy God. Many people have the same views on things as unbelievers. Because they have no truth within them, once they arrive at God’s family they use worldly views to view the work of God’s family, to comment on the matters of God’s family, with the result that they hold themselves back, causing themselves to always be weak and negative, to be unable to seek the truth or pay the price. Is this not created by their ignorance?” (“How to Know Man’s Conceptions and Judgments” in Sermons and Fellowship On Entry Into Life (III)). These words made me think of my reaction a moment ago. When I thought of how I hadn’t finished my work, my heart felt very heavy and I couldn’t stop worrying. But when I knew that my co-workers had also not finished their work, I felt immediately relieved, and thought with an easy conscience that it wasn’t just me whose work had not achieved anything. If our superior was to deal with us, then everyone would have their share. Since so many of us had not finished our work, our supervisor certainly couldn’t replace us all. Wasn’t this type of thinking dominated by Satan’s viewpoint: “It is not a sin if everyone does it”? Wasn’t I really using Satan’s viewpoint to measure the principles of the church’s work? I had applied Satan’s logical viewpoint to the church, used it to console myself, to indulge myself—but wasn’t I just harming myself? I was in fact so blind and ignorant! Thinking back, there were many times when I accepted the domination of this viewpoint of Satan’s to console myself. For a while, I lived in the flesh with no entry into life and, although worried about my own salvation, when I saw some brothers and sisters having also made no entry into the truth, I became free from anxiety and stopped giving myself a hard time. I thought that if so many people had not entered into life, then God couldn’t sift us all out, could He? I therefore lived in a laissez-faire state of self-indulgence, carrying no real burden for my own life. When I had not written any article for a long time and had feelings of self-condemnation, I would see others who also hadn’t written anything, and the condemnation in my heart would disappear. I would think: It’s no big deal to not write an article and, anyway, it’s not just me who hasn’t written one. When I never saw any result from my gospel work, I would feel anxious. But when I saw the gospel work of others having no result either, I would feel calm, thinking that everyone was like this, that it wasn’t just me who never brought anyone into the church. … At that time, I saw that the viewpoint of Satan—“It is not a sin if everyone does it”—had taken root in my heart so very deeply. Under the domination of this viewpoint, I was constantly indulging myself when performing my duties, wasn’t putting my all into them and wasn’t seeking the best possible outcome. It not only caused great loss to the work of the church, but also brought a great deal of loss to my own life. Because I had accepted the fallacious poison of Satan—“It is not a sin if everyone does it”—I had taken up no real burden in my work for the church, was always making do with half-hearted work and was not seeking any outcome; I had lost the conscience and reason that one of God’s creations should have. Because I had accepted the shackles of Satan’s viewpoint of “It is not a sin if everyone does it,” I was always just muddling along in the course of my following God. I had not considered my belief in God to be of any consequence at all, I did not seek the truth in earnest, did not care about or focus on my own entry into life; I had no objective to pursue, no direction in life. I just muddled along and did the bare minimum to get by. Only then did I see that I had been harmed so badly by Satan’s viewpoint of “It is not a sin if everyone does it,” and had completely lost the conscience, reason, integrity and dignity that a normal person should possess. Thinking carefully, I had been living within my own imagination and conceptions all the while, believing in “It is not a sin if everyone does it,” that if many people commit the sin then God will let us slip through the net and not hold anyone accountable, never thinking whether or not God would actually treat people this way. At that time, I couldn’t help thinking of God’s words, that say: “He who defies the work of God shall be sent to hell; any country that defies the work of God shall be destroyed; any nation that rises up to oppose the work of God shall be wiped from this earth, and shall cease to exist” (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words made me tremble with fear, as I saw that God’s disposition will not allow anyone to commit offense and that He will not base His decision on whether or not to destroy man on the number of sinners. Thinking back, the people in Noah’s day were sinful and promiscuous and God destroyed all that lived in that time apart from Noah’s family. His destruction of the city of Sodom was also like this. Now the people in the last days have reached several billion, a number far surpassing those in Noah’s day. But God has not set His law aside and shown mercy because there are too many sinners in the last days; for these people God has only hatred, punishment, detestation and rejection, using all kinds of natural calamities and man-made misfortunes to gradually wipe them out. In the end, apart from the few who are saved, God will utterly destroy all that are left. Only then did I see how little I had understood God’s disposition. I didn’t understand that God is a righteous, holy God who does not allow man to commit offense, to the extent that I had been confounded by Satan’s lies and had fallen into its cunning schemes. Today, if it had not been for God’s enlightenment, I would still be living in sin without thinking it was sin, in the end being punished by God without even knowing why I was to die—it really had been so dangerous!
I give thanks to God for His enlightenment that made me wake up from Satan’s deception and realize that “It is not a sin if everyone does it” was entirely a heretical fallacy of Satan. It was Satan’s cunning scheme to harm and ruin people. Moreover, I saw that God is righteous, that God’s disposition will not allow any offense, that God will base the final decision on people’s end on whether or not they have the truth, and that He will not show exceptional mercy on someone who has no truth. From today on, I wish to spare no effort in seeking the truth, in seeking to understand God, to base my view of all things on God’s words, to use God’s words as the standard by which I will make strict demands of myself, to abandon all the lies and deceptions of Satan, and to seek to be one who lives in reliance on the truth.