Nowadays online novels have been a part of many people’s lives: reading novels in class, at work or on a bus and even when waiting for the traffic lights…. As long as they have a little leisure, they will naturally turn on their cellphones and read novels one after another. Living in a virtual world of novels, they, as if smoking opium, can’t free themselves from it. I was once one of the victims.
I remember one day in the Summer vacation when I was in Grade 5. I had just finished my homework in the store when I unwittingly saw two thick books which a salesclerk put on the desk. I curiously picked them up and turned over several pages. They turned out to be martial arts novels. Afterward, I began reading them to kill time. When reading that several masters of martial arts in the book, living in a mountain villa, often spoke up for the interest of the oppressed and led a free and easy life, I was deeply attracted by their carefree life. Immersed in the novels in the whole summer vacation, I fancied: If only I could become like them.
After going to middle school, I even more desired that kind of free life in my spirit because of greater stress in study. So novels became my only spiritual sustenance. Only in the world of novels could I forget all annoyance. Gradually I fell into the world of novels deeper and deeper.
In class I secretly read novels with the book under the desk. Later I was discovered and warned by my teacher: If you continue, your parents will be asked to come to school. For fear that my parents would know that, I had to behave myself for several days. However, I, with the plots of the novels filling my head, was unable to calm myself down whatever I did. I really couldn’t hold back any longer, so I started again to read novels. Seeing I didn’t listen to her words, my teacher totally put me aside. From then on, I glaringly read novels in class.
On reaching home after school, I laid down my schoolbag and hastened to read novels. My mother called me to supper but I felt it would be a waste of time, thinking to myself: It would be better to use this time to read more novels. As a result, I spent all the night reading novels without having meals. When I sunk into the world of novels, I didn’t feel hungry at all, nor feel tired. The second day, when I went to school, I was in an absent-minded trance, top-heavy, walking as if treading on air. Yet, even so, once I didn’t read novels for only a while at school, I would be tormented with an everlasting itch for them. And then I would continue to read them.
I even spent my board expenses in buying novels. I endured hunger at school in the daytime and not until I returned home in the evening did I have meals. Doing that for a long time caused my immunity to decrease, so that I often fell ill and had discomfort in my stomach. In particular, one day, while I was reading a novel, my little brother was playing outside. After he accidentally burned an aired quilt, he cried to me for help but I didn’t hear him at all. Not until my father came to lecture me after coming back and putting out the fire did I know this thing.
Seeing me indulge in novels, my parents many times tried to persuade me not to read them, but I didn’t take what they said seriously. They found persuasion didn’t work, so they began to search my schoolbag for my novel books. They would often enter my room and make a surprise inspection so as to see whether I was reading novels secretly. If they discovered that, they would tear my books, fire my library card, or directly throw away the books. They had tried every possible method they could use but still failed. No matter how hard they persuaded me, I still continued indulging in the world of novels.
Whenever I read a novel, I would fancy that I was a character in it; my head would be full of the plots in it all day and even in my dreams; moreover, I would be unwilling to open my eyes after I awakened but still ponder over the plots in the dreams, longing for living in that scene all my life. Whenever I saw the vehicles on the road, I would fancy: Would I travel back and forth in time to another world like the leading character in the novel if I were knocked to death? All day living in a fantasy made me in an absent-minded trance and unable to discern fantasy from reality.
I had been addicted to novels for many years. Consequently, my originally breezy personality became unsociable and eccentric and I was even unwilling to talk with my family. Moreover, at first my eyesight was normal, but later I became increasingly nearsighted, having approximately 20/300 vision; and my scores also dropped sharply so I dropped out after graduating from middle school. After working, I more indulged myself in novels all day long. Sometimes staying up to read novels had my brain swim and ache as if being pricked with a needle, which made me fed up with novels and no longer want to read them. Nevertheless, every time I still uncontrollably turned on my cellphone to read, but afterward I felt regret again. I struggled but I all along couldn’t free me from the swirl of novels. That kind of feeling really made me grieve to the extent of wishing to die. In pain, many times I yearned to get rid of the bondage of novels but that was beyond my power.
When I was almost 17, my mother preached God’s work of the last days to me. But I would feel sleepy at every gathering for I felt that God’s words were difficult to comprehend, that reading novels was more enjoyable and that I would rather read novels at home than have a meeting. Therefore, although I believed in God, I attended meetings abnormally all the time. Even if I reluctantly read God’s word occasionally, I still thought about the plots of the novel in my head.
In 2015, after God’s newest utterances were circulated, I saw the words of God: “Apart from when they are in school, what do young people, in particular those children who are around 16 or 17 years old, do with the rest of their time? (They go to Internet cafes.) The life of modern man: Going to Internet cafes and playing games on computers. Most people are like this. … when people play games for a long time, their willpower would evaporate. The unbelievers have a word to describe this. What is it? It is ‘decadence.’ Always playing games, always playing on the computer—this kind of person is decadent. ‘Decadence’ is a word of the unbelievers. We say that these people have no normal humanity. They have been filled with the violence and killing of these games and with the things of virtual worlds. These games have stripped away the things of normal humanity, filled and forcibly occupied these people, and forcibly occupied any room they have for thought; they are then decadent. The unbelievers don’t like these people either. But in this world of the unbelievers now, these young people have no way to turn, their parents are unable to control them and their teachers can do nothing with them; there is nothing any country’s education system can do about this trend except comply” (“Young People Should See Through the Evil Trends of the World”). Through these God’s words, I came to know that being addicted to novels, as well as playing online games, actually all belonged to evil trends. Thinking back, in the beginning I read novels only to kill time, but little by little my heart was deeply attracted by their plots, and ultimately I totally indulged in the world of novels. Originally I was cute and obedient but now my character turned unsociable and eccentric; in addition, I often lived in a fantasy with no interest in everything apart from novels. I thought that if I continued being like this, I would be scrapped.
No, I had to forsake my flesh! Hence, I came before God and prayed to Him: “Oh, God! I know that You don’t like us living in online games and novels and that You don’t wish to see us afflicted by Satan. I also want to betray my flesh, but I’m unable to do that by myself. May You lead me and help me completely break away from online novels.”
However, I was poisoned deeply by evil trends. On the first day of the betrayal of reading novels, I was extremely fretful and in low spirits in doing everything. I was much tormented. The second day, my heart was still anxious and restless. The plots of novels filled and occupied my brain so that I was on pins and needles. On seeing my cellphone, I was dying to read. But thinking of what I said in the prayer, I gave it up. On the third day, I could hardly hold on, so I thought: Since I’ve just believed in God for a short time and God is loving and merciful, He will forgive me. Then I restarted to read novels unceasingly.
Later, I saw a passage of God’s words: “Man’s flesh is like the snake: Its essence is to harm their lives—and when it completely gets its own way, your life becomes forfeit” (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God”). After reading them, I was afraid within my heart: If I read novels again like this, I’ll just be devoured bit by bit and brought into hell by Satan. So, I, in secret, made a resolution within again: I will forsake my flesh and reject novels.
However, the moment I saw my cellphone, I hesitated and thought to myself: Today I don’t set my resolve before God. If this evening I make a resolution never to read novels, I’ll have no chance of reading them in the future. I just read them one more night, and tomorrow I’ll make a resolution before God again. Therefore, I turned on my cellphone again and read novels all night.
At the same time, my inner heart was especially tormented for I both knew that doing this was not after God’s heart and feared that Satan fooled and afflicted me. I read novels in condemnation and suffering that night. The next morning, my head ached as if being pricked with a needle. I realized that God’s discipline came upon me because I did wrong knowingly. Immediately, I prayed to God and set my resolve before God: From now on I will never read novels.
Although I wanted to forsake my flesh, it was very difficult for me to practice the truth because I didn’t understand the truth and only could restrain myself by willpower. It was just when I could hardly hold on that I saw God’s words say: “One after another, all these trends carry an evil influence that continually degenerates man, that lowers their morals and their quality of character more and more, to the extent that we can even say the majority of people now have no integrity, no humanity, neither do they have any conscience, much less any reason. … For man who is not of sound body and mind, who never knows what is truth, who cannot tell the difference between positive and negative things, these kinds of trends one after another make them all willingly accept these trends, the life view, the life philosophies and values that come from Satan. They accept what Satan tells them on how to approach life and the way to live that Satan ‘bestows’ on them. They have not the strength, neither do they have the ability, much less the awareness to resist” (“God Himself, the Unique VI”). Pondering God’s words, I knew the novel is also one of the poisons used by Satan to harm us humans. Once we’re sullied with it, it will be difficult for us to escape from it and we’ll lose the normal human life. This is totally the poisonous scheme of Satan harming us. Satan always tries every possible means to seduce us into its traps. And, because we have no truth and lack discernment, we always can’t stop ourselves from being deceived, only falling into Satan’s web and suffering its affliction.
The consequence of Satan’s afflicting us made me tremble with fear. I sensed that without God’s timely salvation for me, I dared not imagine in what situation I would be in the future. Afterward, I read another passage of God’s words: “So how can this matter be resolved? You should implore God often, that you not fall into temptation, and that you not be deceived by Satan. In this evil age, in this age infested by unclean spirits and devils, you should pray that God’s kindness and protection will often be with you, that He looks after you and protects you, that your heart doesn’t leave God. You should strive to use your heart and your honesty to worship God” (“Young People Should See Through the Evil Trends of the World”). Recalling these eight years of being afflicted by novels, I had suffered untold misery and hardship. It was clear that I was unable to shake off Satan’s control by my own ability. Only if I came before God, prayed more to God and entrusted my heart to God, could I not be deceived in the dazzling world where Satan is running rampant everywhere, and could I not leave God. Later, I once again made my resolution: I will never read novels. If I do so, may God discipline me.
One day, I turned on my cellphone, wanting to read novels once again. However, thinking of my resolution before God, I dared not open the novel. With my finger moving at random on the screen, I wanted very much to read it but I dared not. So I came before God and prayed to Him, begging Him to help me forsake my flesh. After my prayer, the plots of the novel in my head slowly became less important and I felt especially relaxed within. After that, when I felt like reading a novel again, I would pray to God. Slowly I had no thought of reading novels and had a clear mind, making every day especially fulfilling, as if I had become another man.
Through the experience, I have tasted that only coming before God, reading more God’s words, praying more to God and relying on God can make me receive protection and not be devoured by Satan in this evil world full of temptations and traps everywhere. I give thanks to God for His love and salvation to me!
Now I perform my duty in God’s house. Being together with brothers and sisters every day, we are innocent and open with no barriers among us and live happily. When we are cheerful, we sing hymns to praise God; when encountering difficulties, we together pray to God, fellowship and help each other. Under the leadership of God, I utterly break away from the bondage of online novels. Thank God! All the glory be to God!
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