Finally I Live Out a Little Like a Human
Xiangwang Sichuan Province
I feel deeply chastised in my heart every time I see that say: “ Cruel, brutal mankind! The conniving and intrigue, the jostling with each other, the scramble for reputation and fortune, the mutual slaughter—when will it ever end? God has spoken hundreds of thousands of words, yet no one has come to their senses. They act for the sake of their families, and sons and daughters, for their careers, prospects, status, vanity, and money, for the sake of clothes, for food and the flesh—whose actions are truly for the sake of God? Even among those whose actions are for the sake of God, there are but few who know God. How many do not act for the sake of their own interests? How many do not oppress and discriminate against others for the sake of maintaining their own status? Thus, God has been forcibly condemned to death innumerable times, countless barbaric judges have condemned God and once more nailed Him to the cross” (“The Wicked Must Be Punished” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I think back to how I did not seek truth, how in fulfilling my duty I repeatedly competed with my working partners, how for the sake of my reputation and benefit I would suppress or reject the other—how I caused losses both for my own life, and for the work of God’s family. Although God arranged many circumstances to save me, I was numb and completely failed to grasp God’s intent. But God continued to pity me, to save me, and only after repeated chastisement and judgment did I awaken and understand God’s wish to save us, putting aside my pursuit of reputation and status and starting to act a little like a human.
In 1999, I accepted God’s work in the last days. At the time my family fulfilled our duty of hospitality and I saw how well some brothers and sisters communicated, able to use God’s words to answer any question. We were all willing to engage with them, and we would communicate openly with them on any issues. I envied them, thinking: Wouldn’t it be great if I could be like them one day, surrounded by brothers and sisters, solving their problems? And with this intention I started to fulfill my duty in the church. In 2007 I received God’s elevation and appreciation and was given the duty of district leader. My brothers and sisters reported to me if the subjects of my work were in an incorrect state, of their own difficulties, and various issues in the district. I felt I was at the center of things and that my years of work had been worthwhile: Now I could communicate some truths and help my brothers and sisters with their difficulties. And although the workload was a little heavy, I was willing to work hard. To maintain this position and fulfill my vanity I behaved in an exemplary and positive manner when performing my duty. No matter what work the leaders assigned us, even if my co-workers felt it was difficult or were unwilling to cooperate, I always responded well, and if I had difficulties I kept quiet and actively agreed with them. Even if there were things I did not understand I played along, to win the praise of my leaders.
So my leaders would think well of me and I would stand out among my co-workers, I started to work out how I could achieve my aims: It was easiest to be noticed, to prove my abilities and to win the praise of my leaders, when doing work. As long as that work was effective, it was not a major issue if your other work was not—the leaders would not prune or deal with me. And so I set to work: I changed the way I approached gospel work, no longer patiently guiding my brothers and sisters. If they reported any difficulties in gospel work I would prune or deal with them. I started to press and pester the church leaders for results, and if the results were disappointing I became angry: “Why have you got so few people? Do you want to keep this job? If we don’t see better results next month we’ll have to replace you!” I didn’t consider the stature of my brothers and sisters, nor did I use the truth to resolve the problems and difficulties they encountered. I just pressed and pestered them with the aim of maintaining my own position. Quickly the results improved, which delighted me. Better results meant I was among the best of my co-workers and I became enamored of myself. Not long after a brother was assigned to us. He was good-looking and a good talker and communicator. He circulated amongst the churches and the brothers and sisters all praised his fellowship. This upset me: They all praised his fellowship—which must mean mine was not good! It would have been better if he hadn’t been sent here. Measuring myself against him I found he really was better than me. But I was unwilling to give up. At that time I was concerned with reputation and benefit and was uninterested in the various problems of the church. I started to worry about what I wore, how I spoke and acted. At meetings I deliberately showed off my wisdom so my brothers and sisters would think highly of me. Sometimes I would belittle the brother assigned to work with me and look to see how the subject of our work regarded me. I lived in a wrong state and was unable to save myself. In all things I compared myself to that brother and had completely lost the work of the . Not long after, I was replaced. When I heard the news it was like a knife twisting in my heart—what about my face, my status, my future? God was judging and chastising me, yet I had no understanding of my nature. On the contrary I speculated as to how the leaders would analyze me in other places: How would I face people, what would those who knew me think? Trapped in Satan’s web, I started to grumble, regretting that I had fulfilled my duty as a leader, that if I had not taken on that role this would never have happened. … The more I thought the more I suffered. Under God’s chastisement I was losing sleep and thinking wild thoughts. Ultimately I was almost at the point of spiritual collapse, and several times I considered lying down in the road to be run over. I knew at this point I was in a dangerous state, but I could not free myself and had no choice but to stand in front of God and : “Oh God, at this moment I am living in the darkness, fooled by Satan and suffering greatly. I do not want to accept everything that has happened to me today, I want to escape Your chastisement and judgment, and I have complained and betrayed You. Oh God! I beg You to protect my heart, to make me able to examine and understand myself, to take pity upon me.” After this I saw the man’s communication: “Some people God treats with particular kindness and elevation. They are promoted to become leaders or workers, given important tasks. But these people do not return , they live for their own flesh, for status and reputation, seeking to testify of themselves and gain respect. Are these acts good deeds? They are not. These people do not understand how to comfort God, they have no consideration for God’s wishes. They seek only to satisfy themselves. These are people who harm God’s heart, who do only evil, who cause so much harm, too much harm, to God’s heart. God promotes them as leaders, as workers, to foster them, so they will become perfect. But they have no consideration for God’s wishes and work only for themselves. They do not work to bear witness to God or work so those God has chosen can enter into life. They work to testify of themselves, to achieve their own aims, to have status among those God has chosen. These are the people who are most resistant to God, who harm God’s heart most. This is a betrayal of God. In man’s words it is a failure to appreciate what is done for them, in spiritual terms these people are wicked individuals resisting God” (“The Important Meaning Behind Preparing Good Deeds” in Fellowship and Preaching About Life Entry II). This communication felt like a double-edged sword stabbing into my heart, leaving me deeply chastised. It was God’s kindness and elevation that allowed me to become a leader, and He had done this so I could become perfect. But I was inconsiderate of God’s intent and did not know to repay His love. I lived for status and reputation, to testify of myself, and the nature of this was resisting and betraying God. God detested everything I did and so ceased my service, showing me that in God’s family God and the truth reign. I thought back on what I had sought: I thought maintaining good relations with my leaders would ensure I kept my position, so I bowed and scraped to them and agreed with their every word. But with my brothers and sisters I was harsh and critical. How contemptible! I would do anything for status. I tried to use my brothers and sisters to achieve my aim of standing out from the others; I did not fulfill my responsibilities toward the lives of my brothers and sisters. I pressed and pestered, to the point the subjects of my work feared me and avoided me, not daring to bare themselves to me. Yet I did not turn back and examine myself. God had sent that brother to me and not only did I fail to learn this lesson, I fought harder for reputation and benefit, exhibiting my flesh and causing God to detest me and losing the Holy Spirit’s work. And my replacement was God’s righteousness coming upon me: the best possible judgment of me, the best salvation, God’s great love. Otherwise I would have unwittingly continued on a road of antichrist. God stopped my sinful steps. I deeply regretted that my original intention for my pursuits had been incorrect and that I had not focused on solving that problem, all of which resulted in today’s failure. During that time, whenever I sang the hymn of experience I would sob, tears streaming down my face: “After I offended Your disposition I fell into darkness and fully felt the harm of Satan. I felt desolate and helpless, accused by my conscience, suffering greater than death, and only then did I know the happiness of a conscience at peace. How many opportunities to be perfect did I waste, failing to see Your good intentions. Even if I give everything I cannot make up for the harm done to Your heart. Oh God, practical God, how I wish to return to before and start afresh. How can I be compatible with You when my heart hides extravagant desires? I lust after the benefits of status—so how can I not fall? I was always inconsiderate of Your wishes, I was passive and resistant toward You, and while serving You I also resisted and cheated. If it wasn’t for Your pity, I would not be here today. Given what I have done death would not redeem me. These breaths I breathe are obtained by Your forbearance. Oh God, practical God, I should not have made You suffer so much for me. Your words of life touch my heart, Your exhortations give me endless strength, allowing me to stand up again amidst defeat, showing me the value of life and why I was created. So when faced with Your final request, how could I again evade? I want to use real action to repay the price You have paid. Whether I incur blessings or adversities, I wish only to satisfy You, to give myself to You, to follow You closely even if I receive nothing in return” (“God’s Pity Gave Me Rebirth” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). This refinement was with me for a period of more than one year and despite the life and death suffering, which felt like being skinned alive, I found my lusts for status and prospect were weakened, and I saw how valuable this refinement was.