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.
Gospel Q&A: What’s the Way of Being Honest
By Wang Yue
Recently, I have been disturbed by a question, and I don’t know how to solve it. So I want to seek your help. The Lord taught us: “Truly I say to you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). Every time I see these words, I’d like to be an honest person in accordance with the Lord’s requirement, and speak words from the heart to God and people purely and openly. However, when it involves my own face, status and personal benefit, I will package myself involuntarily, and dare not to speak my true thoughts. Sometimes even I will lie, put on an act and cheat. Therefore, I feel so annoyed, and am also rebuked in my conscience. So I want to ask you how you practice in this aspect. Please communicate with me!
When I saw your letter, I knew how you feel very much. In the past, just like you, I also wanted to obey the Lord’s teachings to be an innocent, candid and honest person. But I often swallowed the words on the tip of my tongue, not daring to utter my true thoughts in my heart. After the fact I really hated myself. Why couldn’t I still be an honest person? Afterwards, I found the source of my failing to be an honest person in a book, and I also found the specific way of practice. Next I will share a bit of my own gain with you, and I hope you will get some help.
The Source of Failing to Be Pure and Open
I saw these two passages in the book: “People never open their hearts but are always concealing them, always hiding them, always putting on airs, always acting, always wanting to make others think highly of them, never wanting others to see through to their actual thoughts, real conditions, and nature. Is this type of person foolish?” (“You Can Obtain Truth After Turning Your True Heart Over to God”). “People often live in the corrupt satanic disposition, do not put the truth into practice, and betray the truth. They frequently live within a selfish and despicable corrupt satanic disposition, protect their own image, their own reputation, status, and interests. They have not gained the truth. So you are distressed, troubled, and bound too much, and these things are seen according to your state” (“The Key to Entering Into Life Must Start From Fulfilling Your Duty”).
From these words, we see the root of our failing to be honest people. This is because our thoughts have been constrained by Satan’s rules of living, such as “A tree lives with its bark; a man lives with his face,” “A wild goose leaves behind a voice; a man leaves behind a reputation,” “Keeping silent on the faults of good friends makes for a long and good friendship” and so on. When something happens to us, these rules make us involuntarily protect our own face and our positions in others’ hearts. For example, sometimes when we have a heart-to-heart after we bicker with our friends or family, we don’t want to speak our true thoughts, because we worry that they’ll look down upon and belittle us. So we’ll put on an act desperately and won’t speak the words in our hearts. Sometimes when we see others around us do something that damages the interests of our company or team, we dare not point it out to them directly, for fear that they’ll develop prejudices against us and it’ll be hard for us to get along in the future. Then we’ll pass by the issue by turning a blind eye. Sometimes we make mistakes at work. Because we dare not take the responsibility, we’ll do our utmost to conceal these mistakes and make reasons or excuses to exonerate ourselves desperately. From these cases we can know that Satan uses various poisons and rules of living to corrupt us. If we live in dependence on these rules of Satan, we will just be more and more deceitful, and get further and further away from the Lord’s requirements, and we can’t live out the likeness of an honest person that the Lord likes.
The Path of Practice to Be an Honest Person
When I understood why we can’t be honest people, I continued to seek the path of practice in this book. Then I saw the following passage: “First you have to put your own image aside, and think: ‘I want to say that to protect my own image, but I immediately realized that saying that to protect my image would be selfish and despicable. Saying that is for my own intent; it’s despicable and it shows a corrupt disposition. I can’t speak based on that, but I should speak based on this. I should reveal myself, show my true face, and genuinely speak out the thoughts in my heart. I’d rather throw my own image aside, not protect it, and not gratify my vanity.’ When you say this, by forsaking yourself and genuinely speaking out the thoughts deep in your heart, one aspect is that you are being an honest person; another aspect is that you didn’t act according to your own thinking. You did not protect your own image, but you achieved putting the truth into practice.…” (“The Key to Entering Into Life Must Start From Fulfilling Your Duty”).
From these words we can see that because we are constrained by our own vanity and pride and positions, we don’t have the strength to overcome sin by ourselves. If we want to be innocent, candid and honest people, all we can do isand rely on Him, speak our true troubles and weaknesses openly to the Lord, and ask Him to give us confidence and courage to practice the truth. In addition, we need to focus on looking into our own intentions and aims. When we find that we want to protect our own face and benefits, we should pray to God, hold a heart of reverence for God, accept God’s observation, battle with our corrupt disposition consciously to betray ourselves, and practice speaking out our true thoughts in the heart according to the Lord ’ requirement “But let your communication be, Yes, yes; No, no: for whatever is more than these comes of evil” (Matthew 5:37). If we always act like this, our spirits will be more released. Then we can live out the likeness of an honest person to satisfy God.
I’d like to share a little experience of mine with you. Recently I was transferred to a new business sector to collaborate on the work. After a while, I found that the colleagues here all had the high professional knowledge and ability, and each of them was outstanding. When discussing a project plan proposal with my colleagues, I couldn’t keep up with them well, and even couldn’t understand the technical terminology that they said sometimes. I felt anxious, and also wanted to ask them, but I was worried that they would discover my professional ability was poor and look down on me. When thinking about this, I didn’t dare to ask them. Next time when we discussed the project plan again, I just agreed their every word and pretended I understood. After that, I had to make an effort to ponder on the plan proposal and figure out the parts which I didn’t understand. I put forth a lot of effort but my work efficiency was still low. For this reason, I often felt anxious and was at a loss for words. Therefore, I came before God to pray and seek about my situation, then I saw this passage of God’s words: “If someone always speaks the true words of his heart, always speaks frankly, and always speaks simply, then there is hope for this person. If this person is always packaging and wrapping up what he says and always projecting a false image to others, then he is in danger and in trouble. … Which road are you taking? Taking the road of being an honest person is never a mistake! Others say, ‘How is it that you say everything? You let others know everything you are thinking. How can you be so foolish?’ How do you handle it? How do you feel after hearing this? (Indifferent.) That is correct. ‘Indifferent. You see things how you are willing to see them. My being an honest person is my business. It is my responsibility and the road that I should take.’ The most correct path that a believer should take can never change and cannot be influenced by others” (“You Can Obtain Truth After Turning Your True Heart Over to God”).
From God’s words, I found the path of practice. In order to be an honest person beloved by God, I should be a transparent person, lay bare my true self without embellishment or pretense, and place myself before God to accept His observation. And I should make my words and acts fit the reality and shouldn’t deceive for protecting my image and status in people’s hearts. Only in this way could I get God’s blessings and commendation. If I could lay bare my shortcomings and deficiencies, listen to others’ opinions modestly and draw on their strengths, wouldn’t I feel much more relaxed at work?
Knowing God’s will, I had the courage to open myself to others, and then I asked others the parts I didn’t understand. What surprised me was that no one looked down on me. Instead, they helped me with much patience. At that moment, I felt relaxed in my heart, and meanwhile I felt that I got more help and affection from others instead of jeers when I tried to be an honest person according to God’s word. The most important thing was that I felt peaceful and reassured in my spirit.
These are my experience and some understanding, and I don’t know if they could give you some help. I hope you could rely on and look to God, open your heart to God, lay yourself bare and empty yourself to be an honest person so that you can move away from the dark haze quickly, and be relaxed and free in your spirit.
If you have other understanding or new light about this article, you’re welcome to have a chat with us via the online chat window at the bottom of the website or send an email to [email protected]. We Look forward to sharing with more brothers and sisters about your enlightenment from God and growing together in Christ.