What is the meaning of the apostle Paul’s words “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)? This article will tell you the answer and how to pray without ceasing.
See Social Phenomena From Cartoon of “Running Red Light”
By Zhang Jie
One day, by the desk I was idly flicking through a magazine when a cartoon about crossing the road attracted my eyes. Its contents are mainly as follows:
Passerby A is in a hurry to go on a date, but when he comes to a crossroad, the red light is on. Afraid to be said that he is of low caliber and in order to be a good citizen, he stands waiting for the green light.
At this time, Passerby B who is in a hurry to work comes to the crossroad, too. The sight of the red light makes him unhappy, but seeing Passerby A is waiting for the green light, he also wants to behave like a gentleman, so he has to stop and wait.
At the moment, there comes Passerby C. Seeing there is no traffic on the road, he runs the red light.
Seeing that, Passerby B deviates from his principle. Although he wants to behave like a gentleman instead of to break the traffic rule, he is afraid of being late for work and thinks it won’t damage his image to go through the red light only one or two times. So he follows Passerby C’s example and goes through the red light.
Seeing they two have gone through the red light and crossed the road, Passerby A thinks: If I still stand here to wait for the green light, won’t I appear weird? After fighting for a while, he has another thought: As a good citizen, I should obey this traffic rule, but it is useless when others don’t observe it. So he also goes through the red light.
Although the cartoon is simple, it truly reflects the current situation of today’s society, which made me have a lot of feelings. “Red for stop and green for go” is a basic traffic rule that I have kept in mind since I was a child. But, with the trends of our current era, why have people become more indifferent to it? The behavior of Passerby C influences the thoughts of Passersby A and B. In order not to be late for date or work or be laughed at by others, they put aside their image and the bottom line by which they conduct themselves, and risk going through the red light. Is the occurrence of such a small thing just a small mistake made by chance? Is it a matter of necessity for them in a particular case in their work or life? Or are they driven by the thought of “It is not a sin if everyone does it”?
I was in a whirlwind of thought and couldn’t help but think of a lot of social news reported by the media. The scenes of “going through the red light” are so horrifying: When there is a conflict between a legal spouse and a third party and there appears a red flag for marriage, many people can’t resist the temptation and choose to go through the red light, having a foot in both camps or even playing the field. When personal interests conflict with job rules and regulations, which causes the bankruptcy of professional ethics, many people uncontrollably choose to go through the red light, committing embezzlement, accepting bribes, and abusing power for personal gain. Between product quality and the company’s interests, many people forget all moral principles for the sake of profit, substituting the fake for the genuine and the defective for the good at the cost of their credit. When there is a conflict between friends for money, woman, etc., and a wedge in the relationship appears, many people eventually choose to go through the red light, fighting both openly and in secret, turning against each other….
I couldn’t help but wonder: What is it that causes so many people to recklessly go through the red light, even though they feel it may be unwise?
Until one day, I read one passage of God’s words: “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. So what are these trends? You cannot see these trends with the naked eye. When the wind of a trend blows through, perhaps only a small number of people will become the trendsetters. They start off doing this kind of thing, accepting this kind of idea or this kind of perspective. The majority of people, however, in the midst of their unawareness, will still be continually infected, assimilated and attracted by this kind of trend, until they all unknowingly and involuntarily accept it, and are all submerged in and controlled by it.”
God’s words are so real, which deeply touched my heart. They are indeed a true portrayal of the real world. Living in such a society full of material desires, it is difficult for everyone to get rid of the erosion of all kinds of evil trends. Whenever a trend comes, the thoughts and viewpoints it promotes carry various temptations that satisfy people’s flesh and ambitious desires, and make those who have no truth or discernment place fame, money, face and fleshly enjoyment above everything. In front of trends, they have no energy to resist them at all, except for involuntarily following it. Little by little, their original conscience and humanity have disappeared and the good things which have been confirmed by their conscience have been distorted. No one places importance on conscience, the bottom line of being a person, and no one stresses being a good person who is honest and faithful; instead, their character becomes baser and baser, their humanity gets duller and duller, and they are lost in evil trends. For example: In marriage life, being influenced by the evil thoughts such as “Love is above all,” “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,” “one-night stand,” and so on, many people have gone through the red light, and the phenomenon of having a lover or a concubine has been common. People don’t think it is shameful, but think it is glorious, instead. In officialdom, the Satanic dictum, “Some officials are just looking out for number one, not the public,” has long ago become a default rule. As a result, corrupt government officials have held sway. The abuse of power, corruption and degenerate have been open secrets. When so many officials have gone to prison for this, many others only sigh for the moment, but still go through the red light afterwards. In all walks of life, it has been regarded as a dictum that “It doesn’t matter if the cat’s black or white as long as it catches rats.” In order to increase production and sales and maximize their profit, many companies produce and sell counterfeit goods, and such instances can be found everywhere. They go through the red light even at the expense of treading the laws and betraying the standards of their conscience. Also, “The bold die of gluttony; the timid die of starvation” has bewitched many people, so that they constantly go through the red light in the high return projects, such as stock market, housing market, gold, pyramid selling, and raising funds by offering high interest, etc. And there happen frequently the stories, such as, someone goes crazy for getting rich overnight, someone jumps off the building for going bankrupt overnight…. When these various kinds of evil satanic philosophies, thoughts and viewpoints enter the hearts of man, who is of little conscience and reason, man doesn’t have the ability to resist them at all, but becomes even more mercenary and selfish, ever more cruel and cold….
I was also a victim of evil trends. After I accepted the evil thoughts of “Seize the day for pleasure, for life is short” and “Life is short. Enjoy it while you can” to the bottom of my heart, I began to pursue the life of eating well, dressing well, and playing well. So I indulged in disco dancing, killing time in a bar, singing at karaoke, playing cards. I lived a life of luxury and dissipation, abandoned myself to despair, being debauched and unrestrained. Even if I knew well it was the red light ahead, I just involuntarily went through it, totally ignoring the dissuasion from my family time and time again, so that my relationship with my family was particularly tense, was once on the brink of falling apart, and my whole family all lived in pain. Until now, I know that all of this was the consequence of Satan’s harm of me and the consequence of my accepting the thoughts and views of Satan to the bottom of my heart, and regarding them as my foundation for life.
At the time, I couldn’t help but began to worry about this: On the rest path of my life that is spotted with “red lights,” how should I resist the erosion of these evil trends? I didn’t know the answer, so I sincerely prayed to God and carefully read the book of God’s words. In it, I read two passages of God’s words:
“When someone goes into society now, do they encounter many temptations? Temptation is everywhere, and evil trends are filled with temptation. All manner of speech, views, ideologies, all the different lures and demonic countenances of all the different people—to you, all is temptation. If you have no truth equipped within you, if you have no real stature, if you are unable to see through these things, then to you they will all be pitfalls and temptations.”
“The reality of the truth is what a normal person should live out, should have. It is related to people’s normal humanity. So it is not separate from people’s thoughts and ideas, from their thinking, from their behavior in daily life. The truth is not a theory. It’s not an academic discipline; it’s not a major. It is not empty. The truth is related to the life of normal humanity. It can correct all kinds of your bad tendencies and habits, bad and negative thoughts. It can change your satanic disposition and all sorts of things in you that belong to Satan, become your life, and allow you to become proper and have humanity. It will change you so that your thinking and your heart are proper, you possess reason, and you are proper in every aspect. With the truth as your life, what you live out and every aspect of what is revealed in your humanity will become normal.”
God’s words made me suddenly see the light. It was because we had no truth as our life that we had no ability to discern good from evil, positive from negative things, or the ability to resist the temptation and corruption of various kinds of evil trends. We easily accepted what Satan instills into us—wrong thoughts and viewpoints, rules of survival and life philosophy, having less and less likeness of a human being; we betrayed the moral baseline and principles of being a person again and again and went through the red light constantly. It’s so miserable, pitiful, and hateful to live like this. The truth of God’s words is a bright beacon to lead us to stop at the red light, because truth comes from God, it is the word of life that God bestows upon us, the only standard to help us know the ridiculousness and evil of satanic philosophy, and the best medicine for helping us cast off spiritual emptiness, recover our normal humanity, conscience and reason. Only if we come before God, see God’s words and experience God’s work more and obtain some understanding of the truth, can we gradually learn to discern positive from negative things and have the power to resist evil trends.
Afterward, through the watering of God’s words, I also knew: My life of only paying attention to eating, drinking and having fun, living as I pleased and with no aim all day long, was just like that of an animal; regardless of how well I enjoyed myself, it was empty. God brings us to this world, His purpose of which is not for us to pursue only material enjoyment of eating, drinking and having fun all day long; His purpose is for us to pursue the truth and live by the truth, and only this is the most meaningful life. Thank God for expressing the truth to make me see through the fact that everything I enjoyed was just the trap and scheme that Satan racked its brains to harm and devour me. I must practice the truth and rely on God to change these bad thoughts, bad tendencies and bad habits within me, to make my conscience and reason recover, to live out the likeness of a human being, and no longer to go through the “red light.”
Later on, I began to conduct myself according to God’s words. Sometimes, when facing the attack of the evil trends from Satan, I still wanted to go through the red light. At this time, I would hasten to, contemplate and ponder God’s words, and beg God to give me faith and strength; then my thoughts of going through the red light would become weaker and weaker, and I also knew what to do to be after God’s will. After the experience, I enjoyed the peace and joy of living by truth.
Dear friends, have you ever gone through the red light? Do you also want to cast off the pain and helplessness caused by doing that? So, let’s rely on God and practice God’s words. God will lead us to smoothly avoid these red lights and make us live under His protection and blessing.
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