On October 26, Michelotti park (Parco Michelotti) in Turin, Italy, was reopened to the public (partially open) after 32 years of closure.
God’s Words Lead Me out of Degenerate Life of Following Stars
By Hai Lin, South Korea
On the luxurious and dazzling stage, music is hot, lights are changing frequently, and the stars are singing and performing their fascinating dance. The scream and applause of the audience are heard up and down; an interaction of shaking hands with them drives fans terrifically excited.
This is a concert, a world belonging to singers and their fans.
I am a Chinese college student studying in South Korea now. However, when I was in the eighth grade, I had been among those who followed stars.
Following Stars at the Prime of Youth, I Almost Neglected My Study
That year I was sixteen, I was still studying in Mainland China. On one occasion when I heard a pop group’s songs through earphone, I began to love and be crazy about them. I kept updating the posters about them on the wall of my bedroom and on my desktop. I preserved various videos of them in my computer, and when I talked about with my friends, the topics were even always focused on their information such as their birthday, their family background, their successful experience, their company, and their daily activities. I also dreamed to join their company to be their broker one day …
At that time, as soon as I got home from school, I would throw my schoolbag down, open the computer, and focus my attention on watching their variety shows, reality shows, or TV dramas. And I often stayed up finishing watching them until after midnight. Sometimes, when I saw some negative reports and comments lashing out at my idols, I would be burning with anger and leaped to their defense.
I devoted most of my time, energy, mind to following stars that I was indifferent to my study. I often dozed off in class, failed to finish my homework on time, and thus had a decline in school performance. My teachers were disappointed with me and gradually gave less care to me. Soon before the high school entrance examination, my mum hurried home from abroad to accompany me during the examination. After she saw my poor examination result, she wept with sadness. Facing my teachers’ disappointment and my mum’s helplessness, I was very depressed yet still followed stars and couldn’t extricate myself.
Following Stars Crazily, I Became Decadent
While in high school, I was a boarder. I resolved to focus on studying hard. However, it was not long before I returned to my old way and got on with following stars.
The class curriculum in high school was very full and I studied under great pressure. Every week I could only take half a day off. So I would make use of the limited time to download into my cellphone all the videos of my idols to watch the following weekdays. When I was back to school, I would spare the sleeping time to watch them until two or three o’clock at night. Because lights were out at that time and thus the cellphone screen appeared extreme dazzling, I often had sore eyes and kept shedding tears. At times, I was so sleepy with exhaustion, but I remained in the state of excitement, difficult to fall asleep. On the second day, I not only had dark circles under my eyes but also felt dizzy. I could only catch up on my sleep in class.
Whenever I went home at the weekend, once I rose up early I would throw myself into watching the videos of the stars on the computer, without freshening myself up. No matter who exhorted me in my family, I just refused to listen. Seeing me living in decadence they could only shake their heads. They often said helplessly: “Alas! It’s better for her to be naughty as when she was a child. Now she’s simply a good-for-nothing.” “It’s hard to see her sweet face; she could only grin at the screen.” “How come she has less and less human kindness as she grows up?” … Hearing what they said, I just felt self-accusation for a moment, but after that I would go on my own way as if nothing ever happened.
When the college entrance examination was coming, I flicked through the admission scores of all colleges in different provinces, finding the ideal college was far beyond my reach. I lost complete hope for entering college. After the examination, my parents decided to give me a new environment so that I could develop in a correct direction and broaden my horizon as well, so they brought me to South Korea. I had thought that I would stop following stars in a new studying environment. Instead, soon after going to a Korean language institute, I made new friends and learned lots of news about idols and stars. Moreover, South Korea is a small country where it’s not difficult to meet stars because they usually show up in streets, restaurants, and coffee shops. I lived in Seoul and could often go to their concerts or book signings. In order not to miss these activities, I would focus constantly on them either by checking the cellphone on the way or by browsing on the computer at home. In South Korea, I not only didn’t stop following stars, but had a more favorable environment to do it instead.
God’s Words Revealed the True Nature of People Following Stars
Not long after we arrived in South Korea, my mum contacted the church. Thereafter I also started to have gatherings with brothers and sisters in the church. At a gathering, I read this passage of God’s words: “So how does Satan go about corrupting man? First we must take a look in particular at the evil wrought by Satan in the world and among humanity that is visible, that people can feel; … Satan first uses knowledge to corrupt man, and then it uses science to arouse people’s interest in knowledge, science, and mysterious things, or in things people desire to explore; this is to say, Satan uses scientific knowledge to corrupt man. The next things Satan uses to corrupt man are traditional culture and superstition, and following that, it utilizes social trends. These are all things that people come into contact with in their daily lives and these are all connected to things close to people, what they see, what they hear, what they touch and what they experience. One could say that they surround everyone, they are inescapable and inextricable. Mankind has no way to avoid being influenced, infected, controlled, and bound by these things; they are powerless to push them away.”
After reading God’s words and listening to the fellowship of brothers and sisters, I came to know that following stars is equivalent to following social trends and that it is a method for Satan to corrupt people. In other words, Satan uses these trends to tempt, bind, and control us to disturb our normal life, study, and work so that we fall into the trends and have no way to extricate ourselves from them. Thinking back, since I began to follow stars, I’ve gained nothing but the momentary mental pleasure. I lived a lazy life, I neglected my study and lost motivation for it, my school record was on a headlong dive, and I even have no confidence in my prospects. I lived in emptiness and decadence every day and this even disappointed and distressed my teachers and my family. Honestly, I wanted to break free from the degenerate life and resolve to study hard, yet I had no strength to shake it off. Now I clearly see that Satan hides its means to corrupt people in the trends which I believed were justifiable, attempting to let me lose my normal life and bring me under its control. The means of Satan is really despicable. I shouldn’t live under its domain anymore, or else I would become ever more degenerate. At this point, I had the will to change myself.
A Failure in Shaking Off Following Stars
In the following days, I began to restrain myself from talking about and watching videos of my idols less. Once, however, my friend got a ticket for a TV variety show but couldn’t go because of having something else. So she gave the ticket to me. I was extremely excited, and without hesitation I went there early with another friend.
After the show began, I focused all my attention on their performance on the stage the whole time. I applauded and cheered, particularly wishing the most wonderful second would never end. When the variety show was over, I was even reluctant to depart from there.
Later on, I often went to the restaurants and coffee shops owned by a certain star, and even visited their companies. Though the price in the restaurants and coffee shops was higher than in ordinary places, I would still go. In addition, I joined their activities; I bought their souvenirs with their autographs even though the souvenirs were several times more expensive than the same common ones. In order to join their activities and have enough money to buy their souvenirs, I had to find a part-time job to afford them to express my admiration for them. But whenever I laid on the bed in the dead of night, the guilt and indebtedness toward God couldn’t help welling up in my heart. I thought: God’s words have revealed the substance of people following social trends and have made it clear to me how Satan used that means to corrupt, tempt, and deprave people. I ever had the will to make a change, but how come I still fall back on my old ways? In this case, how could I face God?
Awakening From the Last Following Stars
One time after class, a TV station called and told me that I had been chosen to be a studio audience. Right when I was lost in excitement, I suddenly remembered the time for it was exactly when my next gathering took place. So there was a struggle in my heart: “Will I go or not? If not, it’s a rare chance because they have chosen me among so many fans. If I do, then that’s betraying my oath and cheating God. Well, I can regard this chance as the last one.” At that idea, I found an excuse not to attend the gathering.
That day, after standing in line for a long time, I finally entered the performance spot. Perhaps because it was the first time for me to see that kind of scene, I was so excited that I forgot the exhaustion of standing in line for four hours. The stage and lights before my eyes were really fantastic. My attention couldn’t simply leave the stars on the stage and I kept swinging the fluorescent sticks in my hands to the music. I wished to throw all my passion and energy onto that stage.
In the second half, the scene became more fervent when my favorite singer went on the stage. But while she was singing the second part, the sky in the LED screen behind her turned scarlet. With the setting of fire under the LED, the singer was surrounded by burning “fire” and the dancers behind began to wave flags. At that moment, the scene on the stage was very similar to one in “The Scenes of Hell” drawn by a woman painter from South Korea. The stage setting was not romantic and active or bright and lovely, but was full of scarlet and flame. The atmosphere oppressed me so much that I felt a little breathless. My previous excitement grew calm a lot until the performance ended.
On my way home, I kept recalling that scene. I also thought that at this moment my brothers and sisters were surely fellowshipping God’s words and singing hymns, but I stayed away from them. I felt ill at ease, self-blamed, remorseful, as well as especially depressed and negative. After back home, I slumped into bed.
Afterward, I read several passages of God’s words: “You first need to recognize which things are evil, what their dangers are, why Satan does these things, what changes happen within people who accept these things, what poisons they are susceptible to, what they can turn into, what kind of person God requires man to be, which things are of normal humanity, which are positive and which are negative. On the negative side, you should recognize these things.” “The devil Satan does these things in order to lure people, to cause them to degenerate. For those who live in virtual worlds, they have no interest whatsoever in anything to do with the life of normal humanity; they are not in the mood to work or study. They are only concerned about going to virtual worlds, as though they are being enticed by something.” “Once you have been carried away by an evil trend for a second time, will God still want you? He won’t! He has given you a chance and now He won’t want you again. You will then be in danger, and will be capable of anything.”
God’s word pierced my heart again like a sword and made me feel regret and pain. Though I have believed in God, I just knew in theory that following trends were the negative things and the result of Satan corrupting people. On the lips, I promised to forsake the life of following stars, yet I didn’t penetrate or hate it so that it was impossible for me to give it up completely. Ever since I was obsessed with following stars, my heart and mind had been preoccupied by all the life of stars. In the golden time of middle school and college, I neglected my study and prospects, indulged myself too much, and drifted with the trends. I spent much money buying their souvenirs and went to their coffee shops. And in order to go to their concert, I even gave up attending the gathering. I became degenerate and decadent, straying further and further from God. Then I couldn’t help remembering some news on the internet: A young couple took all the money they had earned through a year of hard work and flew to another country just for the purpose of attending a star group’s concert. Many young people slept in the streets in an attempt to scramble for the limited souvenirs issued forth by the stars. In 2005 when a singer in Guangzhou pronounced holding no concert in the next two years, a 17-year-old fan was too desperate that he swallowed 30 sleeping pills to commit suicide. After the king of Pop Michael Jackson died, 12 fans couldn’t bear the shock at the miserable news and chose suicide. For the sake of following stars, so many people leave themselves in obsession and lose their sense; so many people give in to despair and lose their lives; … Thinking of these, I couldn’t help but sigh with emotion: If I continue like that, won’t I be the victim wrought by the evil trends? At that moment, I was awakened that what I have been following are not stars but evil trends. Satan just utilizes the evil trends to tempt me, put me further and further away from God, and eventually make me lose God’s salvation. This is the sinister motive of Satan!
As if awakened from a dream, I saw that I had been closely bound by Satan and lived in wretchedness and sadness, I also saw the evilness and baseness of Satan, and moreover I saw how precious God’s salvation was to me. I was unwilling to go on living in decadence and depravity. So I opened the drawer, took out all the souvenirs and signed photographs I had ever regarded as treasures, and disposed of them. From then onward, I decided to forsake them and stop worshiping idols.
Getting Away From Following Stars Gave Me a Happy Life
Later on, I took a part-time job in a department store in South Korea, where some promotion was often done and some stars would be invited at times to do advertisements. Whenever I saw the stars came for shows or called some fans to have meetings, I could still be stirred up out of curiosity, but I remembered God’s words say: “The devil Satan does these things in order to lure people, to cause them to degenerate.” “The substance of Satan is evil, so the results of Satan’s actions are inevitably evil.” Thus, I was unwilling to fall for its tricks to be its victim. I calmed down and prayed to God, asking Him to keep my heart from the disturbance of Satan. Gradually, I became calm and was able to treat such things properly, without being affected or disturbed by them.
After that, I made a new plan for my college life. Apart from going to school to learn the language and doing a part-time job, I lead a normal church life. In my spare time, I do whatever I can to perform some duties. Every day is full and happy. I am grateful to God because it was the timely provision and protection of God’s word that got me to repent and turn back; it was God’s word that changed me and led me to live out a human likeness. Though I haven’t understood much truth, through living the church life and fellowshiping God’s word, I have come to know that only by worshiping God can one live a most valuable and meaningful life. I am willing to receive God’s guidance and pursue the truth earnestly to walk the correct way of human life. May all glory be to God!
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