35. What Is It That Has Deceived My Spirit?
Xu Lei Zaozhuang City, Shandong Province
I’m a church leader. One day I received a notice from my senior leader, asking me to attend a co-workers meeting. Thinking that by attending a co-workers meeting I would be able to understand even more truths, I felt very happy. But then I thought: “Lately, I’ve been getting into a muddle with my work. If my superior knew how I’d not done any of my work well, she would certainly have to deal with me, and may even replace me. What would I do then?” I couldn’t help feeling worried. The next day I went to the meeting place with a heavy heart. 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 done it well. If all of them have done their work well and it’s only me who is so bad, then I’m done for.” Little did I expect that when we were together talking about our own work situations, many of my co-workers were saying how they hadn’t done very well with 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 done their work well, 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 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 come into 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 pursue 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 done well at my work, my heart felt very heavy and I was constantly worried about being replaced. But when I knew that my co-workers had also not done their work well, 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 done well at our work, our supervisor certainly couldn’t replace us all. Wasn’t this type of thinking dominated by Satan’s poison: “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? Wasn’t I defying God? 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 hadn’t written any articles for a long time, I hadn’t satisfied God’s will and felt self-reproach, I would see that other people hadn’t written articles either, and so would think that it wasn’t a big deal. In any case, I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t writing articles, and so the feeling of self-reproach would vanish. When I didn’t see any result from my gospel work, I would feel anxious, and would think about how to cooperate so as to achieve good results. But when I saw the gospel work of others having no result either, I would feel ease, thinking that everyone was like this, that it wasn’t just me who achieved nothing. 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. Poisoned by this satanic fallacy, 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. Harmed by this poison of Satan, 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. I completely had no conscience, reason, integrity or dignity that a normal person should possess. I was really harmed so badly by this poison of Satan. 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. 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, but rather on man’s attitude toward God and on whether or not they possess the truth. I thought of the people in the time of Noah who, because of Satan’s corruption, shunned God and did not worship Him, and lived in wickedness and promiscuity, becoming so degenerate that 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; God saves and perfects those who truly believe in Him and who pursue the truth and pursue dispositional change. Even though these people may commit some transgressions, God still gives them opportunities so that they may repent and seek to be changed. As for those who don’t pursue the truth at all, who drift along doing anything they can to get by and who don’t seek to be changed, like a Hanhao bird, then God only abhors them, detests them and rejects them; if these people never repent, then in the end God will destroy them. 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. And 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 and who has not had their corrupt disposition changed. From today on, I wish to spare no effort in pursuing the truth, in pursuing 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.