Two steps help you achieve obedience to God in adversity, and bear testimony for God like Job did in trials.
Receive Spiritual Joy After Putting Truth Into Practice
By Ming Zhen
Congxin worked in a restaurant as a waitress. She had always worked in earnest. However, for an unknown reason, the store leader was always indiscriminately losing his temper with her recently. She was very strong-minded since she was little: She strove to do everything as well as she could and even her stepfather seldom blamed her. But now, she actually needed to face the shop owner’s making things difficult for her. So many times, she wanted to reason with him loudly. But as soon as she thought that she had believed in God, she realized that she had to be a man with humanity and reason and couldn’t do things as she pleased like before. Therefore, every time when the store leader was losing his temper with her, she wouldto God in her heart, “Oh God, You allow me to encounter such a situation. May You keep me from losing my temper to avoid doing things which dishonors Your name and being Satan’s laughingstock.”
Once, after praying, she thought of a passage of, “In the dispositions of normal people there is no crookedness or deceitfulness, people have a normal relationship with each other, they do not stand alone, and their lives are neither mediocre nor decadent. So, too, is God exalted among all, His words permeate among man, people live in peace with one another and under the care and protection of God, the earth is filled with harmony, without the interference of Satan, and the glory of God holds the utmost importance among man” (“Interpretation of the Sixteenth Utterance”). And she also thought of a passage of the man’s fellowship, “Now, the interpersonal relationships of all people are not normal. This is mainly because they have been deeply corrupted by Satan. Their character is extremely low: People all seek only profit and only focus on taking advantage of others when handling things; there are their own intentions and purposes in all things. People all live for themselves and for their flesh; they have no slightest care or love for others, and even no affection or love which man should be equipped with. People intrigue against each other, guard against each other and fight both openly and in secret, being unable to get along normally; the conscience and reason people should be equipped with has completely disappeared. People aren’t of one heart and mind with others; if they don’t have a little bit of patience, they will be arch-enemies. With their hearts filled with evil and fighting, people are opposed to each other and sworn enemies of each other, without the slightest likeness of a man. Their hearts have totally been occupied by Satan, and full of Satan’s philosophies. All these are disclosed in without the slightest issue. These practical states exist in everyone.”
Through God’s word and the man’s sermon Congxin realized that the reason why interpersonal relationships of people are abnormal is because everyone is corrupted by Satan to the point of having no normal humanity and lives according to Satan’s life philosophies such as “Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost” and “We will not attack unless we are attacked, if we are attacked, we will certainly counterattack.” In order to protect personal interests and vain dignity, people thus scheme against each other, get all red in the face arguing over some little thing and even fight a deadly fight with each other. She realized that the reason why she was angry with the owner was also because she thought that she had done the work well so her work should be recognized by him. However, far from recognizing her work, the owner lost his temper with her, causing her face to suffer loss. Therefore, she thought that it was the owner who was in the wrong in the first place, and thereby she had the reason to treat him as an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Isn’t this still living by Satan’s philosophy of “Seek revenge for every wrong”？At that thought, she was better able to feel that God was using this thing to purify and change her and allow her to learn to know her own corrupt nature in the process of getting along with others and meanwhile learn to practice the truth and live out a normal humanity: When others hurt her, she should first learn to lower her conceited head and learn how to be patient.
She thought of another passage she read frequently in the book “Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life” that said, “If you want to have patience toward others, you first need to understand them, meaning no matter who says something that hurts you, you should know how to think and how to deal with it. You should first understand this: His words have hurt me. What he said seemed to be exposing my shortcomings and appeared to be directed at me. If his words are directed at me, what does he mean by them? Is he trying to do me harm? Does he see me as his enemy? Does he hate me? Is he exacting revenge against me? I did not offend him, so the answer to these questions cannot be yes. … When they said these words they were simply expressing what a normal person thinks, rather than directing them at any particular person. …they were certainly not consciously targeting any specific individual. First you offer understanding, then your anger can dissipate, and then you can achieve patience.”
At that moment, Congxin knew: “If I really want to be patient with others, first I need to have understanding of others.” Hence, through examining and trying to understand the situation, she learnt that recently a new waiter was always making mistakes in charging fees when taking the customers’ order and thus the owner had a bad mood and vented his anger on her, which was actually not directed toward her. She thought: “If I were the owner and encountered such a situation, I would also lose my temper. Because without the protection of the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, I am no different from him.” When she was thinking like this, wonderfully, the anger towards the owner in her heart was greatly reduced and she also didn’t want to reason with him; moreover, she could do the work that was her duty to do at the same time as she pondered over God’s words normally. One evening, when she went to punch out, she just happened to come face to face with the owner. She greeted him politely, “Sir, see you tomorrow.” He was first surprised a bit, then acted out of character and responded to her warmly, “Be careful on the way.” On that day, she, who was originally very timid when walking at night, completely forgot the fear for she was recalling the process of knowing herself and practicing the truth by praying and pondering over God’s words these days all the way. She tasted that living by God’s words could indeed live out a normal humanity. Her heart was full of peace and joy.
Afterward, as the restaurant business was too busy, Congxin and her colleague needed to work overtime. Even if the work was a little busy and tiring, Congxin had no complaints. But the only thing which made her feel unhappy was that she found her colleague often skated through. For example, as soon as a customer came, her colleague would hurry to trot off to take the customer’s order and serve drinks. However, the dirty and tiring tasks like clearing the tables were nearly all done by herself. Especially when foot traffic was heavy, she was so busy that sweat kept oozing out from her body. What’s more, when getting off work, she had to mop the floor. She was nearly the last one to get changed and punch out every day. Over time, she couldn’t bear it somewhat. The more she thought that her colleague and she got the same salary but she did more tiring tasks, the more she felt aggrieved and angry. She hoped so much that the owner could see all of these and know that what she paid was more than her colleague’s. She thought: If the shop owner could raise my salary, that would be fine. Sometimes, she also tried to be lazy and sneaky. But when looking at the tables which needed to be cleared, she couldn’t help busying herself in clearing the tables silently. She was under a lot of stress and pain as if she were bullied. In pain, she prayed to God, “O God, I feel very tired and aggrieved when getting along with my colleague. We get the same salary, so when I do more tasks, I will be unwilling. What kind of lessons should I learn within this situation? How can I live out a normal humanity? May You lead me….”
That day, when returning home after work, Congxin read a passage in the book “Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life” that said: “We should be forthright with others. Even if we do some real things for someone, we shouldn’t pay lip service to it. Just do practical things, wouldn’t it be great? For example, someone has some difficulties and you help him out. After that, you say, ‘Today I’m capable of helping you solve your difficulties. Isn’t it because we love each other and isn’t it because I love you?’ Aren’t your words useless? You have helped him; then you know it in your heart and that is all. What is the use of speaking it out? Just do some practical things. How great that is! The meaning of your speaking these words is as if you want some favors as long as you give someone a little help. Moreover, you ask him to commemorate you and treat you well. Is this right? Isn’t this fake and feigning? Isn’t this doing a deal? … So, when we get along with others, we should be honest and do practical things. Don’t say false or feigned words. Even though we help someone and then he likes us and feels gratitude to us, we shouldn’t ask for these and there is no need for him to be grateful to us.”
After finishing reading this sermon, Congxin understood: “Only honest people are genuine people. They are honest. They don’t require anything in return for what they have done. However, all I have shown is out for my own interests. Once I have paid a little more, I want reward; if I receive no reward, then I will be unwilling to exert myself. In fact, it is not that doing more tasks is tiring but that my heart feels tired. Think about it. Every day I haggle over every penny, then how can I not feel tired?” She finally found the root of her pain and grievances and the way to achieve getting along with her colleague harmoniously, which was being an honest person honestly. No matter what things she had done, she should be willing to do that but not ask for a reward. Otherwise, even if she had exerted herself more, it was meaningless. From then on, she didn’t make a fuss with her colleague anymore. She silently did tasks as much as she could. She even more didn’t want to change others. Afterward, the monitor in the restaurant suddenly started to help her with her tasks actively; the shop owner also saw that her colleague skated through somewhat, so he arranged for her colleague to do more tasks on purpose. After that, her colleague was also influenced and started to consciously find tasks to do. Congxin felt an inexpressible joy. She knew that this was all the result reached through her living according to God’s will. She kept thanking God in her heart.
Later, Congxin couldn’t continue to work in this restaurant anymore for she had something urgent. According to the rules of this restaurant, if someone wanted to resign, she must submit a report one month ahead of time; otherwise, the owner would not pay her that month’s salary and moreover, he would never be hired. But she really didn’t have enough time to resign ahead of time. So she was prepared for her salary suffering loss and handed in her resignation to the store leader. The store leader said to her sincerely, “To tell you the truth, I really don’t want you to leave. Now, someone honest like you really cannot be found. I feel that your quality is very high.” She answered, “Sir, you are overpraising me. I don’t have any quality because I just have a junior high school education.” The store leader said, “This quality refers not to how educated you are; it refers to your words, actions and psychological quality.” On hearing these words, she was comforted very much inside. She knew clearly within that it was not that she was good, but it was completely that God’s work and word had changed her.
But, unexpectedly, one day after she resigned, the shop owner called her and asked her to get her last month’s salary. After she arrived at the restaurant, the owner passed her the accurate salary and repeatedly emphasized that as long as she was willing she could go back to work at any time. She had never thought that the restaurant’s rules which had never been changed were actually broken down because of her. At that moment, again, she kept thanking and praising God in her heart! She knew that this was completely God’s deeds and that it was God’s words that had changed her and allowed her words and actions to gain the esteem of others. She thought: “All the time, if I had conducted myself according to my original corrupt disposition, today, not only would I not be welcome to go back to work by the owner, but I wouldn’t get any money.”
After this experience, Congxin felt that in the midst of all difficulties she encountered, as long as she practiced to live out a normal humanity according to God’s words, although from the outside, she might suffer some losses and her face might suffer some losses, in reality what she had done was practicing the truth to satisfy God and the witness of glorifying God. As a created being, being able to practice the truth to satisfy God would not only gain the esteem of others, but the most key thing was that the comfort in the heart couldn’t be measured and replaced by any physical interests, fame and vanity. Today, it was the truth which came from God that allowed her to learn how to be human beings and get along with others. She sincerely felt that the joy in her heart she gained after practicing the truth every time was the biggest and the truest blessings given by God!
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