In my pursuits after that, I saw words from God which said: “I decide the destination of each man not on the basis of age, seniority, amount of suffering, or least of all, the degree of misery, but on whether they possess truth. There is no other choice but this. You must realize that all those who do not follow the will of God will be punished. This is an immutable fact” (“You Ought to Do Enough Good Deeds to Prepare for Your Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “As a creature of God, man should seek to perform the duty of a creature of God, and seek to love God without making other choices, for God is worthy of man’s love. Those who seek to love God should not seek any personal benefits or that which they personally long for; this is the most correct means of pursuit” (“Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). s had already told people perfectly clearly and understandably what His will and requirements were so that mankind could understand a proper way of pursuit and what the wrong path is. At that time I placed reputation and status above everything, but in reality, God did not look at how high someone’s status was, what kind of seniority they had, or how much they had suffered for their belief in God. He looked at whether or not they pursued the truth and had a genuine understanding of God. Those with the truth but without a high status can also gain His praise, but those without the truth and with a high status are those that God detests and rejects. This is God’s disposition of righteousness and holiness. Status cannot determine a person’s fate, nor is it a symbol of someone’s salvation in their belief in God. It particularly is not a mark of someone having been perfected by God. But I had always used my status to measure my own worth and my greatest pleasure had been being looked up to and adored by others. Wasn’t this entirely counter to God’s requirements? Wasn’t believing in God this way completely futile? Not only would I have been unable to by God, but in the end I would have suffered God’s punishment due to my evil ways. At that time, what God had entrusted me with was to allow me to enter into the truth, to be able to pursue a change in disposition, pursue obedience to and love of God, and in the end to be saved and perfected by Him. Only this was the proper path. After understanding all of this, my heart was full of gratitude toward God. Thanks to His judgment and chastisement that pulled me back from the wrong path and enlightened me so I could understand His will, allowing me to finally see clearly the danger and consequences of pursuing reputation and status. Only then was I able to wake up and turn back in time. Through that experience I understood some truths as well as God’s benevolence, and my state of mind recovered once again. I threw myself into fulfilling my duty again.
In July of 2004 I went to a remote area in the mountains and cooperated with a brother there on the work of the . When I started that work, I kept in mind my previous failures as lessons. I frequently reminded myself not to pursue reputation or status but to honestly fulfill my duty as a creation, so when there were issues I didn’t understand or wasn’t clear on, I would put myself aside and actively seek out my brother for fellowship, to discuss and resolve it. But as my work bore more and more fruit, my arrogant nature once again reared its head and I started to focus on my own image and status again. During a meeting one time, a member of the local evangelical team said to me happily: “Thanks to you coming here we’ve converted more believers….” My mouth said that this was the result of the work of the , but in my heart I was very pleased with myself. After the meeting was over and I returned to my host family home, I sat on my bed and replayed in my mind every scene of my work during that time. I couldn’t help but become self-congratulatory, thinking: It seems I have true capability in this work. As long as I continue to work hard, I can certainly be promoted again. I saw myself then entirely as a hero, and God’s status was already gone from my heart. When performing my duty after that, I started to compete for status and compare positions with my co-workers. I started to blatantly show off in front of my brothers and sisters as if any results from our work were all because of my efforts. Just as I was sliding back into the abyss one step at a time, God once again extended a hand of salvation to me. One evening I suddenly came down with a serious flu. My temperature reached 102 degrees and even after taking medicine for several days I wasn’t getting any better. I went to the hospital to get an infusion, but my condition not only didn’t improve but became more serious. I couldn’t keep anything down, not even water. Finally, I was bed-ridden and felt as if I was on the verge of death. Under the torture of that illness, I no longer thought of what kind of status I would have the next day. I quickly knelt down and prayed to God: “Oh God! This illness coming upon me is Your benevolent will as well as Your righteous disposition. I do not want to misunderstand You or blame You; I only beg You to once again enlighten and illuminate me, to allow me to understand Your will so that I can more deeply understand my own corruption.” After praying, my heart was much more at peace. Just then, these words of God suddenly came upon me: “Your haughty and arrogant nature drives you to betray your own conscience, to rebel against and resist Christ, and to reveal your ugliness, thereby exposing to the light your intentions, notions, excessive desires, and eyes full of greed” (“Are You a True Believer of God?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Every one of these words from God pierced my heart like a sword; they struck at my mortal spot. Every single type of ugliness of arrogance that I had revealed came into my mind with great clarity. My heart was in pain and I was immeasurably embarrassed and ashamed. It was then that I clearly saw that it was my own arrogant nature that caused my conscience to lose its original function so that I wasn’t always able to honestly obey and worship God. This caused me to always harbor ambition and desire, and as soon as I got some opportunity I would compete for status, and I wanted to show myself off and suppress others. I couldn’t just be a well-behaved person. It was clear that any fruits of my work depended on the work of the Holy Spirit; it was God’s blessing. However, I would shamelessly compete with God for the credit and exploit the opportunity to lift myself up, once again becoming arrogant and competing with God for status. This arrogant nature of mine was precisely the root of my resistance to God. If I didn’t resolve it, I would never achieve obedience to God or devotion to fulfilling my duty.
Under God’s guidance, I once again thought of His words: “Once a person truly recognizes what his own nature really is—how ugly, how despicable, how pitiful it is—after that, he will not be so self-exalting or so arrogant, nor will he be as pleased with himself as in the past. He will think: ‘I need to get my feet on solid ground and put some of God’s words into practice, otherwise I’ll never achieve the standard of a human being and I won’t have the face to live in front of God.’ When he truly sees himself as minuscule and sees that he doesn’t count as much, at that time putting the truth into practice will be easy for him and it looks as if he will possess a bit of the likeness of a human being” (“To Know Yourself, Know Human Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks With Leaders and Workers of the Church). God’s words pointed out for me the path of practice and entering in, and that if I wanted to thoroughly let go of my thoughts of reputation, status, and my prospects, I had to put effort into knowing my own nature. When I could truly see how lowly, how useless I was, I would be able to become a low-key person and no longer be arrogant. Then, I would be able to pursue the truth with my two feet firmly on the ground. In actuality, God administering this judgment and chastisement, this blow and discipline, was for me to have a true understanding of my own essence and my inherent identity and status. It was to allow me to have self-knowledge in front of God, to recognize my own poverty of spirit, my own nothingness. It was to allow me to know that what I needed was the truth, , from which I could fall down in front of God and be a well-behaved person. It was so that I could fulfill my duty to satisfy God and no longer pursue status, hurting His heart. Under the guidance of His words I had a way forward as well as the confidence to pursue the truth. Even though I had been deeply corrupted by Satan and my arrogant nature was deeply entrenched, as long as I was able to accept and obey God’s judgment and chastisement and His trial and refinement, from that recognize my own nature and essence, and then tirelessly pursue the truth, I would certainly be able to cast off the bonds and the suffering of reputation and status, and enter the path of being saved, of being perfected. After I turned back to God, I recovered from my illness within two days. This even more made me realize that He had used that illness as a way to discipline me. It was not to intentionally make me suffer, neither was there any punishment in it—it was to awaken my numb heart, to have me let go of my erroneous pursuits as soon as possible and step onto the right path of believing in God. I was deeply moved and galvanized by . I sincerely offered up my thanks and praise to God.
After I recovered from my illness I once again threw myself into work. I quietly resolved in my heart that when I encountered something having to do with reputation or status, I would certainly stand witness for God. Several months later, I learned that another evangelical team leader was obtaining very good results and had experienced some wondrous actions of God, and had summarized some of their successful experiences and their path of practice. However, the work I was participating in was on the decline. When I saw the disappointment on the faces of my brothers and sisters, particularly when I heard a sister say “We now enjoy such great salvation from God but we are unable to bear witness for His work. We are truly indebted to Him,” and everyone couldn’t stop themselves from crying, my heart was very much in pain. I didn’t know how to get out of that predicament, and I repeatedly prayed to God: “Oh God! We are all weak when faced with practical difficulties, but I know that this is You trying our confidence, testing our devotion. But my stature is too small and I cannot really bear that weight. I beg You to enlighten me to understand Your will. I am willing to act according to Your guidance.” After praying, a thought suddenly occurred to me: I should ask the co-worker there to come meet with us in fellowship so that we can draw on some of his strengths and experiences. That way the brothers and sisters will also be able to enjoy the enlightenment and leading of the Holy Spirit and know how to do their work of the gospel. I knew that this idea came from the guidance of the Holy Spirit, but I still had some misgivings in my heart. I thought: I used to be more capable than that brother in every way and when we were in meetings together I always looked down on him, but now, his performance is better than mine. When he sees me looking desperate and embarrassed now, will he laugh at me? Will the brothers and sisters look down on me? What about saving my face? … I thought and thought, and I still couldn’t let go of the idea of my own face and status, but as soon as I thought of God’s urgent will to save mankind and that my brothers and sisters didn’t have the guidance and leadership of the Holy Spirit, I was chastised within my heart. Just as I was wavering, these words from God enlightened me: “The Holy Spirit not only works in certain men who are used by God, but even more in . He could be working in anyone. He may work in you now, and after you have experienced it, He may work in someone else next. Follow closely; the more you follow the present light, the more your life can grow. Follow those whom the Holy Spirit works in, whatever kind of man he may be. Take in his experiences through your own, and you will receive even higher things. In so doing you will see growth more quickly. This is the path of perfection for man and a way through which life grows. The path to perfection is reached through your obedience to the work of the Holy Spirit. You do not know through what kind of person God will work to perfect you, nor through what person, occurrence, or thing He will bring you profit and enable you to gain some insight” (“The Truly Obedient Shall Surely Be Gained by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Under the leadership from God’s words I understood His will and gained some understanding of how to lead and perfect people in the work of the Holy Spirit. I realized: God’s work and God’s wisdom are marvelous and mysterious. I don’t know through what type of person or thing He will enlighten and guide me to understand His will, nor do I know through what type of environment He will deal with my corrupt disposition. I must learn to obey the work of the Holy Spirit, and no matter how high or low someone’s status is, what their age is, or how long they have believed in God, as long as their fellowship is the truth, it is God’s current will, and it can point out the practical path, that comes from the work and the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. I must accept, obey, and practice—this is the human reason I must possess. If I don’t obey the work of the Holy Spirit, then I’m willing to allow my work to be compromised in order to maintain my own vanity. I’m willing to allow my brothers and sisters to live in darkness in order to maintain my own image and status. In that case, I am a true evil servant and an antichrist! When I realized that, I couldn’t help but feel afraid and I didn’t dare to once again be obstinate and go against the enlightenment and guidance of the Holy Spirit. I was willing to forsake my own satanic nature and comfort God’s heart through practical actions. So, I immediately called that co-worker and asked him to come communicate with us. What made me feel ashamed was that after we met in person, that brother didn’t remotely look down on me or laugh at me. He very genuinely shared in fellowship how they had worked together while the Holy Spirit worked among them, and how they relied on God and prayed to God when they encountered setbacks and failures, what actions they had seen from God after that, what kinds of true understanding they had gained about God, and more. Seeing my brother’s relaxed and joyful appearance, then seeing that my brothers and sisters appeared to be listening intently and with relish, then seeing smiles gradually appear on their faces, I felt an acute pain as if I were heartbroken. However, this time it wasn’t for the sake of satisfying my own face or status, but because I was rebuked in my heart due to my indebtedness to God. Because of this, I sincerely experienced the responsibility and the duty shouldered by a good leader. If the road I personally take is not correct, it will harm and ruin the lives of so many people. It will bring spiritual suffering to so many people. In that case, have I not become a main culprit of resisting God? When God’s work has been completed, how should I give account to Him? It was at that time that I finally truly detested myself from within my heart. I hated that in the past while performing my duty I had not engaged honestly in my work but had only thought of pursuing reputation and status and reveling in the blessings of status. Not only did it interfere with my brothers’ and sisters’ entries into life, but even more it interfered with carrying out . I had also frequently lost hold of the work of the Holy Spirit and fallen into darkness. I saw that pursuing reputation and status did so much more harm than good. But while I was feeling guilt and regret, I also felt a shred of relief. This was because, under God’s leadership, I had finally let go of personal benefit to put the truth into practice this one time. I had done something that was beneficial for the work, for my brothers and sisters, and for myself. I had shamed Satan through practical actions and stood as a witness for God this time.
In my experience of the work of God and because of my pursuit of reputation and status, I had suffered many setbacks and failures. I had taken many detours, and because of this had undergone being dealt with and refined. Gradually, I saw status as much less important, and what I had believed before—without status there was no future and no one would look up to you—this misguided perspective was turned around. I have now followed God for 15 years. Every time I think of God’s work on me, there is always a sweet feeling that comes over me. I will never be able to forget God’s love and salvation for me. If it hadn’t been for God designing my environment and dealing with my ambitious desires in the early stages of my life, how would I have been willing to let go of the faith that I had been living by for many years and that had become my life? If it hadn’t been for God’s salvation coming upon me in time, I would still be living according to Satan’s poisons and laws, and frittering away my life for the sake of a dream that could never be realized. And if it hadn’t been for God’s repeated revelations and refinements, I would still be charging forward on the wrong path and I would never become aware of how serious my own vanity is and how powerful my desire for status is. I particularly would not have realized that I am the enemy of God. It was God’s remarkable work that made possible that earth-shattering change in my life, that allowed my vulgar beliefs that I had defended for so many years to dissolve through those ups and downs, to disappear with the passing of time. It allowed my erroneous values and perspectives on life to undergo substantive change, and it allowed me to understand that only pursuing the truth and fulfilling the duty of a creation is a true human life, and that only through casting off Satan’s dark influence and living based on God’s words can I live with meaning and with value. It is entirely the fruit of God’s judgment and chastisement that I am able to have the understanding and changes that I have today. Although undergoing God’s judgment and chastisement required me to undergo the pain of refinement, I have gained some understanding of God’s practical work, of His benevolent essence, and of His disposition of righteousness and holiness. I am now able to clearly see, detest, and throw off Satan’s poisons which harmed me for many years, and I am able to have a true human life. None of this was suffered in vain. It was the most meaningful, the most valuable thing. On the path from today forward, I am willing to accept more of the judgment and chastisement, and the trials and refinement coming from God so that every type of my corrupt disposition can be purified soon, and I can become someone who is in line with God’s will.
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