How are we supposed to free ourselves from the spiritual emptiness and the degenerate life and find a genuine life? I was so lost and befuddled before, but now I’ve found the answer.
The Loss and Gain of belief in God
I once heard an old saying, “What one loses on the swings, he gets back on the roundabouts.” This was said by the Chinese Emperor Guangwu, Liu Xiu. During his reign of the Eastern Han Dynasty, an insurrection broke out, and one of his cities was captured. Later, not only was the insurrection put down, but his army also occupied a big city. With great joy, he issued an edict that contained the old saying. It is now used to mean that what we lose in hake we shall have in herring.
The old saying reminded me of my experience. When I testified of God’s work to a gospel target a few days ago, she said, “It’s a waste of time to believe in God. I’m busy with my work and study. I’d rather spend my spare time enjoying life. Where is the time for believing in God?”
At these words, I remembered that I also had such a viewpoint before. When I was in school, I thought if I believed in God, I would have no time to enjoy the pleasure of the flesh. At that time, every day I studied hard in school for the sake of getting ahead and thus gaining the admiration of others; after school I went out eating, drinking, and having fun with my classmates or friends, indulging in the pleasure of the flesh. Even though my vanity and flesh were satisfied, that could only bring me momentary happiness. The more I pursued the pleasure of the flesh, the more empty my soul was; the more empty my soul was, the more I pursued the pleasure of the flesh. So I lived in the vicious circle. Gradually, when the novelty of getting good grades and having fun wore off, I felt that life was meaningless. Most of the time, leaning over the railings outside the classroom, I had a feeling that I was like a floating duckweed without a place to rest. This feeling made me insecure.
After my graduation, I began to believe in God with my mother. I often attended gatherings and read God’s words. Consequently, I had fewer opportunities to enjoy the pleasure of the flesh. However, I gradually felt that my heart was more and more enriched and satisfied. It felt like I was a dandelion clock that finally found a place to rest after drifting for a long time, and also the grass in a desert that was nourished by good rain after a long drought. One day, during my spiritual devotions, I read God’s words that say, “You have believed in God up till now, so what have you gone without? I’ll list the things that you have been without. You have been without indulgence, without doing as you wished, without a life of heartlessness; you have been without opportunities to take ecstasy, without opportunities to go to nightclubs and bars to dance, sing or go to discos, without opportunities to muddle along eating and drinking amidst evil trends. You haven’t been able to have that kind of life. But much more, what have you obtained? People can often feel that believing in God is a joyful thing, free from worry, that if one can live this way for all one’s life, then that would be great, that would be wonderful, and what has been obtained more is joy, happiness and peace. Are these things substantial?”
Reading these words of God, I couldn’t help but thank God for His love and salvation for me. After believing in God, I had less time to indulge in the flesh, but I had a stability I had never had before. My empty heart was filled with God’s words. Along with reading more of the word of God, I could distinguish between positive and negative things, knew that believing in God and worshipping God was the duty of a created being, and moreover understood how I should live and what I should pursue to make my life valuable and meaningful. However, before I believed in God, I used to indulge in the flesh at my will. For example, I went out drinking with my classmates until we were as drunk as fiddlers and badly threw up, with the result that now I still have stomach trouble; I stayed up reading novels till 5:30 a.m., then went to school at 6 a.m., and slept all through class; I was so absorbed in playing computer games that I was oblivious of the passage of time and I was too dizzy and weak to walk with hunger. … After I indulged in the flesh, I always felt empty. At that time, I could never free myself from the suffering of illness or shake that vague feeling of emptiness. Now, my classmates still live a befuddled life of luxury and dissipation day after day. When I met them by chance, they, with their eyes full of confusion about their life and future, often held my hand and said, “Life has no meaning at all!”
Let’s think about it. After believing in God, maybe we have less time to enjoy the pleasure of the flesh. Yet, it is precisely because we come before God that we are protected from being trapped in the evil trends and thus devoured by Satan, and especially we have received the supply of life from the Creator and enjoyed consolation in our heart. No rare and great treasures in the world can buy that. As a matter of fact, what we have gained is much more precious than what we have lost. Just as God’s words say, “Man, after all, is man. The position and life of God cannot be replaced by any man. Mankind does not just require a fair society in which everyone is well-fed and is equal and free, but the salvation of God and His provision of life to them. Only when man receives the salvation of God and His provision of life to them can the needs, yearning to explore, and spiritual emptiness of man be resolved. ” We humans are created by God and all come from God. When we return before Him, listen to His teachings, and experience His love, we will realize that unwittingly our hearts become enriched and at ease. No material comforts can bring us this feeling.
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