By Yang Chen
A Young Man Holding Cherished Dreams
I started working at the age of eighteen, when my monthly income was dozens of yuan; the days were not bad. However, when I saw those rich men wearing famous-brand clothes, driving high-quality cars and living in the luxury houses, and also being accompanied by a retinue, I was green with envy. I, then, pretty identified this viewpoint “Money isn’t everything but without it you can’t do anything,” thinking that the possession of wealth meant everything. I was always thinking I would someday, like them, live a life of the greatest of the great, so that I would not live all my life in vain.
In 1995, my uncle set up a coal mine and asked me to manage the business. Thinking of the brilliant new career, I was beside myself with excitement. I thought: It is an extremely good chance for me to rise to be rich. I’ll never miss it. As a result, I made a gallant attempt to resign, acting as deputy bar master with heartfelt delight.
The Beginning of My Degeneration
As the enterprise was newly built, I needed to handle much work. I not only had to take charge of the aboveground work—managing all the electromechanical devices and kinds of installations, but also had to supervise the manufacture and renovation and the construction down the mines. Bustling around every day, I was frequently fatigued to the extreme, and couldn’t go to bed until late. Although I went through hard days, yet when I thought that all is bitter first and then sweet, and that on condition that I worked hard, I would lead a rich life even more hardships and tiredness would be worth it. The reality, however, was not that easy as I had imagined, for as we made our efforts to run our enterprise, we must join the “upper routes”, which was to say, we must establish good relations with the leaders of various departments who inspected our mine at intervals. Otherwise, they could deem normal operation something the matter and trivial problems serious ones, the penalties ranging from being fined to being stopped production and reorganizing. I, always honest, began to learn to have social intercourse for the sake of making our company function normally soon. Each time these officials came, to flatter them I would be always here to serve them cautiously and meticulously and say some words that were pleasant and false to hear; in addition, I would send gifts to them at every festival and at New Year. Sometimes even if I felt very tired and had a dislike of such myself, still I drifted with the tide helplessly, thinking of everyone being like this in the money-oriented society.
With the beneficial result of the coal mine becoming better and better, I could earn more and more money, my life gradually changing. I started to wear famous-brand clothes, drive high-quality car and enjoy the flattering speech and respect of my henchmen; and besides, I often went out drinking with my good friends that my fleshly desire gained great satisfaction. I could earn as much money as before but I didn’t know why I felt increasingly empty within. In the meanwhile, I had no way to free myself from this extravagant, dissipated and corrupt life and could not resist the temptation of the beauties around me, so I constantly stumbled. After knowing my betrayal against her, my wife had a big row with me. And later she suffered from severe hyperthyroidism, and was unable to eat. After several months she was reduced to skin and bones, and even came within an inch of her life. Thus, my happy and harmonious family was nearly ruined. After that, I was full of self-reproach in my heart and was ashamed in the presence of my wife, having never thought that I had become what I was now. Recalling the previous time when I hadn’t had plenty of money, I was honest and dutiful. Being rich now, I unexpectedly conducted so shameless and nasty things, not only insulting my integrity, but hurting my wife. … At that moment, I suddenly knew: Money couldn’t bring me happiness; on the contrary, it caused me to fall into the painful and vain whirlpools one after another, so that I was unable to extricate myself from them.
Awakening of My Spirit
God’s care was with me despite my fault. Soon after that, God’scame upon me. Through the contacts with my brothers and sisters, I felt the closeness and sincerity that I had never experienced, and understood in s that He has come into flesh on earth personally and has expressed all the truth of purifying and changing man to completely save the evil and corrupt mankind from filth, so that they can live out the likeness of a true man. I saw God’s words, “Born into such a filthy land, man has been severely blighted by society, he has been influenced by feudal ethics, and he has been taught at ‘institutes of higher learning.’ The backward thinking, corrupt morality, mean view on life, despicable philosophy, utterly worthless existence, and depraved lifestyle and customs—all of these things have severely intruded upon man’s heart, and severely undermined and attacked his conscience. As a result, man is ever more distant from God, and ever more opposed to Him. Man’s disposition becomes more vicious by the day, and there is not a single person who will willingly give up anything for God, not a single person who will willingly obey God, nor, moreover, a single person who will willingly seek the appearance of God. Instead, under the domain of Satan, man does nothing but pursue pleasure, giving himself over to the corruption of the flesh in the land of mud” (“To Have an Unchanged Disposition Is to Be in Enmity to God”). “Man’s entire life is lived under the domain of Satan, and there is not a single person who can free themselves from the influence of Satan on their own. All live in a filthy world, in corruption and emptiness, without the slightest meaning or value; they live such carefree lives for the flesh, for lust, and for Satan. There is not the slightest value to their existence. … Man lives in a human hell, he lives under the dark influence of Satan; across the land, ghosts live together with man, encroaching upon the flesh of man. On earth, you do not live in a beautiful paradise. The place where you are is the realm of the devil, a human hell, a netherworld” (“The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment”). Each word of God pierced my heart. Was I not the person who was covered in filth and deeply caught up in sin for the enjoyment of flesh and lust all day? The root cause which led to that result was only that my perspectives on life had been rotted by Satan, and I looked on the viewpoints of Satan as positive things to pursue. Having been nurtured all the time by the devilish concepts, such as “Money isn’t everything but without it you can’t do anything,” and “Money means everything,” I thought I would live wonderfully and meaningfully with money. In my pursuit of financial success, I bustled around working every day like a wound clock; in order to earn big money, I had learned to use flattery and be a sycophant. Having money made me externally respectable, but I began to become more and more greedy and deceitful, indulging myself in the life of eating, drinking and pleasure-seeking, and of debauchery. Therefore, my wife was furious, and my family was nearly ruined. Was my life not like that of an animal? And what was the point of living like this? … In addition, the rich around me also lived this way. Here are a few examples: My uncle, who abandoned my aunt and hooked up with a lady as young as his child. Our village secretary, who used every possible means to embezzle money, and then began engaging in licentiousness. He forfeited human relationships and morality that he committed adultery with his nephew’s wife. While there was a boss of an ore-dressing plant, who was in the same line of work as me. He was also promiscuous, as he found a young girl to be his lusting lover, which resulted in an endless family contradiction. … From these facts, I understood more clearly that the enjoyment of wealth and materials is the approach Satan employs to corrupt, tempt and afflict man, and that every one of those who try hard to gain money is riddled with and harmed by evil involuntarily, gradually losing humanity, reason, integrity and dignity and being completely degenerated. At this time, I had a clear knowledge: The pursuit of money can’t bring us humans a meaningful life, neither can it bring true happiness to us. Instead, it can merely make us become ever more depraved, feel emptier and more painful!
I saw another passage of God’s words, “Don’t rail against Heaven and earth—the end of the world is coming, and it is inevitable; things have gotten to this point, and there’s nothing you as a man can do to stop them, you can’t change them at will. Yesterday, you did not pay a price to pursue, and were not loyal. Today, the time has come, you are beyond salvation, and tomorrow you shall be eliminated. There is no leeway for you to. … These truths, this way, and this life hold no attraction to you; you’re attracted to sinfulness, to money, standing, fame and gain, the enjoyments of the flesh, the handsomeness of men and coquettishness of women. What qualifies you to enter My kingdom?” (“Practice (7)”). My spirit was revived little by little by God’s words. I could not miss this opportunity to be saved by God, nor was I willing to be punished by God or be thrown into hell. I was resolved to make a clean break with the past and was never to chase after money or live for the physical joys, but to pour my whole heart to read God’s word and pursue the truth on the path showed by God to me, living a meaningful and valuable life.
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