Stop Comparison, Church Life Has Results
The First Taste of the Sweetness of Obtaining the Holy Spirit’s Work
It’s been over 3 months since I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. If you ask me what has moved me the most, I’ll surely say it’s the church life. In the beginning I participated in church life passively. Because I had promised the sister to attend meetings and didn’t want her to think I had no credibility, I had meetings just for the sake of saving face. But gradually, I found I gained even more enlightenment and illumination when I communed with brothers and sisters than when I read God’s words alone at home. At times I thought I had a lot of things to say after reading God’s words. So I was always pretty active in the meetings, being the first one to share my experience and understanding. When I noticed that others nodded and approved of me, I felt so elated and indescribably contented inside. Without realizing it, I became more and more fond of having meetings. Although I was quite busy with my work, every night before I had a meeting, I felt excited and looked forward to the meeting on the next day.
Once, we shared what we’d learned at the end of the meeting. The sister who was in charge of watering new believers said with a smile: “Thank God. The Holy Spirit indeed works among us! We truly benefit from what you all have shared! Though some brothers and sisters are young, they actively fellowship about the truth every time and they have the enlightenment and illumination from the Holy Spirit. This is the result achieved by the work of the Holy Spirit. Thanks be to God!” Another sister echoed: “Right. Look at Sister Jingxin! She has a good understanding of God’s words at such a young age and always actively fellowships about the truth. I think I should work harder.” Others nodded their approval. Hearing this, I didn’t say anything but deep inside I was self-satisfied. You can’t imagine how happy I felt!
God Penetrated the Impurities Within My Heart
From then on, I fellowshiped more actively in meetings for receiving recognition from others. I was more active the moment I saw others agreed with me. At times, when the sister who watered new believers asked those who didn’t share fellowship to communicate something, they would say, “Others have communicated well. It’s fine to just listen. I have nothing further to say.” When I heard this, I thought: At least you should say something. It cannot be true that you haven’t gotten any new light. If you have nothing to say, you can repeat what others have said. Don’t you feel embarrassed and ashamed if you share nothing? It will make other brothers and sisters think you’re of poor caliber and incapable of understanding the truth.
Soon afterward, some brothers and sisters joined our group. Some of them were around my age and had a good comprehension of God’s words. Gradually I paid more attention to competing with others. I would immediately have a sinking feeling in spirit as soon as I found someone else understood the truth more quickly and fellowshiped better than me. I thought: Before brothers and sisters all liked listening to my sharing. But now someone else fellowships even better than I do. Will others pay less attention to me and not like my sharing? I felt a nameless sense of loss when thinking about this. Sometimes I became even absent-minded while others were fellowshiping. It was only when the sister who watered us started to fellowship that I would prick up my ears, listening carefully in order to make sure if what I shared was to the point. If it was, I would be secretly delighted, assuming that the sister must think that I understood the truth very well. If others fellowshiped better than me, I would become really frustrated, thinking: Will she consider that I’ve regressed and cannot understand the truth as well as before? Unknowingly, I came to realize that I gained less enlightenment and illumination when I read God’s words during the meetings. And after the meetings, I no longer felt enjoyment as before …
During that period of time, instead of feeling joyful like I was before, I had something weighing heavily on my mind after each meeting. I was always praying to God: “Oh Almighty God, I feel so down when I see other brothers and sisters fellowship better than I do. I feel I’m going downhill. I cannot gain as much enlightenment and understanding as before. Oh God, may You enlighten me in the next meeting so that I can share more new light with others. Thank God! Amen.” After praying, my situation didn’t change much. Even though I could fellowship something, my state was worlds away from my state in the past!
Unable to Grasp the Holy Spirit’s Work, What Should I Do
I didn’t open up about my condition with sisters for fear of not being highly thought of by them after letting them know this. In order to turn around this kind of situation as soon as possible, I tried to figure out the root of the problem. After pondering, I came to the conclusion that it was because I didn’t read lots of God’s words lately that I couldn’t be enlightened by the Holy Spirit. But the moment I thought of the fact that I couldn’t consciously read God’s words at home alone, I decided to have meetings more. But I was unable to take more time to have meetings during the daytime. So what am I to do? After much contemplation, I still couldn’t find any solutions.
Just when I was distressed about this matter, I heard from a sister that there was another meeting group where brothers and sisters gathered together in the evening. So I took the initiative to ask to join them. I felt glad inside, thinking: Maybe I’ll regain a normal situation through having more meetings.
When I attended the meeting for the first time, the sister asked Sister Zhao and me to practice praying for the meeting. After listening to Sister Zhao’s prayer, I found it was really true and touching. But after a while, anxiety replaced the touch in my heart. I couldn’t help thinking: Sister Zhao has made such a good prayer. So what am I to say in my prayer? I cannot pray better than her. But how will others see me if my prayer is deficient? With a nervous heart, I finished my prayer with much difficulty and then we started the meeting. During the gathering, I found that Sister Zhao had a good understanding of God’s words and her fellowship was quite realistic. Both in praying and fellowshiping about God’s words, she had some insight. I thought: Sister Zhao must have read a lot of God’s words. She’s so busy with work but still seeks the truth hard while I’m not active to read God’s words alone and unable to say a fluent prayer. In comparison my caliber is the poorest in the group! All of a sudden I felt down in the dumps and even the thought of not attending the meeting appeared in my mind. But then I thought: If I tell them that I don’t want to attend the meeting, how will I explain when the sister asks me the reason? Even if I explain, how will my sisters see me? They will definitely look down on me and think I don’t seek to improve myself. Forget it. I’d better brace myself and continue with the meeting.
Once, Sister Zhao fellowshiped about what I intended to share ahead of me. It made me more uncomfortable. Since then, in order to stand out in the meeting, I concentrated on pondering God’s words and noted it down as soon as I gained a little understanding in case I would forget when it was my turn to fellowship. And I didn’t listen to what others fellowshiped carefully at all. When it was my turn, I just fellowshiped according to the notes I took. Realizing that I could speak of some new light, I was finally a little relieved, thinking: Now I’m not the worst in the group since I could share something. But after a week or so, I found that the content of our fellowship didn’t leave any impression on me, not to mention what brothers and sisters shared during the meetings. I started to feel stressed, thinking: What if the sister asks me one day what I’ve gained lately? How embarrassing it will be if I’m left speechless! I’ve attended more meetings but gained less than before. How will my sisters see me? I was at the end of my rope, not knowing what to do.
God’s Words Led Me When I Came to a Dead End
One evening, I returned home from work and came across a video of Christian testimony The Heart’s Deliverance. In the video, when the protagonist sees that another sister is progressing more quickly and is looked up to and praised by the other brothers and sisters while she does not gain their admiration, she begins to feel jealous and starts to get competitive with this sister in gatherings. I felt that we had a similar experience when I saw the protagonist rack her brains reading God’s words and taking notes in order to share more light in gatherings. The protagonist asks another sister on the phone: “Do you ever feel jealous during gatherings when you hear other brothers and sisters’ communions are better than yours?” The sister replies: “No. I can gain a lot from their fellowship. I really enjoy it.” Seeing this, I was really shocked by the response. When I saw others share some new light, I never thought if it would be helpful to my spiritual life but only felt down because of being surpassed. My condition resembled the protagonist so much. The video attracted me a lot and I wanted to see how the sister experienced this afterward.
Several passages of God’s words quoted in the video moved me deeply. God says, “Some people are always afraid that others will steal their limelight and surpass them, obtaining recognition while they themselves are neglected. This leads them to attack and exclude others. Is this not a case of being jealous of people more capable than themselves? Is such behavior not selfish and contemptible? What kind of disposition is this? It is malicious! Thinking only of oneself, satisfying only one’s own desires, showing no consideration for the duties of others, and thinking only about one’s own interests and not the interests of God’s house—people like this have a bad disposition, and God has no love for them.” “You must learn to let go and set aside these things, to recommend others, and to allow them to stand out. Do not struggle or rush to take advantage the moment you encounter an opportunity to stand out or obtain glory. You must learn to back off, but must not delay the performing of your duty. Be a person who works in quiet obscurity, and who does not show off to others while you loyally perform your duty.” Although I didn’t get jealous of others like the protagonist, we behaved this way both for the sake of protecting our own pride and status. The protagonist was afraid of being surpassed by others and I was afraid of not being able to fellowship as well as others so I would lose my image in the minds of others. We both strived to protect our own interests, not considering God’s will. Just as the sister says that, no matter who it is, if what he shares is beneficial and provides edification for others, then this is after God’s heart. But for satisfying my pride and position I always made every effort to struggle and contend. In the meetings I liked to be the first one to share fellowship on God’s words because I wanted others to think highly of me and think that I had a good understanding. When others fellowshiped better than me, I privately made an effort, racking my brains to figure out how to fellowship to get others’ recognition. I recalled all kinds of my corrupt dispositions I had revealed these days and discovered that all I did was to protect my own face and image in the minds of brothers and sisters. I wanted them to say some nice words to flatter me. I often suffered from anxiety about loss and gain of pride and position, living within the deceptions of Satan.
I saw some other words of God. “The functions are not the same. There is one body. Each does his duty, each in his place and doing his very best—for each spark there is one flash of light—and seeking maturity in life. Thus will I be satisfied.” From God’s words I saw that the caliber and the gifts God bestows on each of us are different. If everyone does his own duty and puts all his abilities to use, the result of exalting and bearing witness for God can be better achieved. Indeed, if we share the new light and enlightenment from the Holy Spirit in the meeting, this is how we exalt God and bear witness for God, and perform our duties as created beings. What God wants to see is that brothers and sisters can help and support each other in spirit, can use other’s strengths to make up for their own deficiencies and can enter into the truth together. In this way, God’s heart will be comforted. And all I need to do is try my best to fellowship as much as I can understand without concealing anything. This can be called fulfilling my duty. Even if I’m not able to share any new light, I shouldn’t be discouraged. Instead, I should quiet my heart to listen to other brothers and sisters’ fellowship and draw on the strengths of the others to make up for my own deficiencies. This will be beneficial to my own life growth.
Setting Aside My Vanity and Face, I Achieved Genuine Liberation
After understanding God’s will, I don’t act and speak for standing out and distinguishing myself during meetings. I’llconsciously before having meetings, becoming willing to betray my own desires and perform my duty as a created being. Then I can quiet my heart before God when I fellowship about the truth. When others share some light and I want to compete with them, I will pray to God consciously, begging God to guide me so I can put aside my desire of striving for fame and fortune and accept the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit with a heart of obedience. When I quiet my heart to listen to others, I find that a lot of their experiences and understanding are what I have not experienced and I benefit much from them. After tasting the sweetness, I have more confidence to put God’s words into practice during meetings, learning to give up and set aside my desire and not always thinking about how to distinguish myself. When we fellowship together, I’ll first listen to other brothers and sisters to benefit from their fellowship if I don’t have any enlightenment. If I gain some inspiration and understanding, I’ll be glad to share it with others. I no longer compete with others or care about how others will see me. I share what I can understand and am just concerned with performing my duty. If I don’t have any understanding, I’ll honestly tell them, “I don’t have any new understanding.” After practicing this way for a period of time, I feel more and more released in my spirit and find back my peace and stability I had when I attended meetings in the beginning. I don’t worried about gaining and losing the opportunities to distinguish myself anymore.
Now I finally understand the meaning of the following words of God: “The more you let go your prestige and status, and the more you let go of your own interests, the more peaceful you will become, and the more space will open up within your heart and the more your state will improve. The more you struggle and compete, the darker your state will be. If you do not believe it, try it and see! If you want to turn this sort of state around, and not be controlled by these things, then you must first set them aside and give them up.” Before I couldn’t obtain the work of the Holy Spirit or gain any enlightenment and light while fellowshiping God’s words and it’s because of my wrong intention. I fellowshiped about the truth simply for showing off and exalting myself instead of exalting God and bearing witness for God. My intention was loathed by God so I couldn’t gain God’s blessing. The moment I rectified my motivation and stopped struggling and fighting for the sake of my pride, God’s smiling face reappeared to me. At this time, I realize the environments God arranged for me are the best for purifying and changing my corrupt disposition. Meanwhile, I see God’s love for us. In the church life, brothers and sisters can support and help each other, learn from each other and enter into the truth together, and our spiritual life is growing unceasingly. It is all the blessing of God. Thank Almighty God and all the glory be to Almighty God! Amen!