By Liu Cong
One day, I talked with Brother Zhang about my gains in this period. After hearing me say this, he smiled and said to me, “Thank God! It’s a good thing that you can learn a lesson and have some knowledge of your own corruption within the environment that God set up for you….” Hearing this, I nodded with a smile. I thought about the interactions I had with Brother Zhang these days; I was overwhelmed with emotion and unconsciously my thought went back to the past …
In 2017, co-worker Zhang and co-worker Li and I collaborated on thework together. Each of us was in charge of several churches. In handling each item of church work, we usually first discussed it to achieve an agreement and then distributed the work evenly among the three of us. One day, the upper leaders wrote us a letter letting us accomplish an urgent task as quickly as possible. Then, as usual we discussed how to accomplish it in detail and split up. I thought: “I can’t fall behind you. I must accomplish it quickly so that both of you will know I’m capable.”
Then, I hastened to the churches I was responsible for to have meetings with the church leaders. After I understood the present situation of the churches they lead, I carefully explained the task to them. And they were willing to implement the task. So the task was accomplished soon. Seeing such work results, I felt very happy in my heart. Then, I made a detailed work report on the results of the task and went back with delight.
When I met the two co-workers and learnt they hadn’t accomplished their work yet, I inwardly rejoiced: “We all had meetings for two days, but I’ve finished the work while you haven’t. This proves that I am more capable than both of you. After the upper leaders know it, they will certainly commend me on my strong abilities and say I am worthy of cultivation.” I felt glorious outwardly under the prospect of getting the appreciation of the upper leaders. Then I showed my work report to them with elation and thought to myself: “You will surely admire me and think I’m better than you after seeing it.” Just when I felt complacency, co-worker Zhang suddenly frowned and saw it through carefully again. Then he pointed out that in my work which had been carried out there were still some details not being arranged properly and so he urged me to find the church leaders and clarify and settle these existing problems quickly. His words struck cold to my heart as if a bucket of cold water had been poured on me. I felt very upset: “You have no idea how much effort I expended in implementing this task. And you should have said I didn’t deal with it properly. If I tell the omissions in my work to the church leaders, won’t it prove that I am incapable of dealing with things and have no work ability? How will the upper leaders see me after they learn this? I had thought that I would be noticed and respected by them. As of now … Alas!” The more I thought about it, the more upset I felt and my spirit got more depressed. I didn’t want to correct the deviations in my work. Then I realized my situation was incorrect, so I came before God to seek why I felt so awful when the co-worker pointed out the problems in my work.
Afterward, I remembered God’s words saying, “If people keep having such ambitions, always wanting to turn themselves extraordinary and superior, different from others, and special, then that is a problem! First of all, the source of your thinking is wrong. ‘Extraordinary and superior’—what kind of thinking is this? ‘Stand head and shoulders above the rest,’ ‘defy all comparison,’ ‘flawless and impeccable,’ ‘fine beyond compare,’ ‘forging a unique path’—when used in people’s pursuits, are these phrases good or bad? (Bad.) ‘Outstanding,’ ‘excellent,’ ‘special talent,’ ‘powerful presence,’ ‘charming personality,’ ‘irresistible,’ ‘celebrated and great,’ ‘idolized’—are such words any good? Are these goals that people should be pursuing? (No.) Then what are they? (Satan’s path; they represent the pursuit of becoming the archangel.) Is there even one word in all of the truth that tells you to be such a person? (No.)” God’s words fully exposed my desires and ambitions of pursuing reputation and position, making me feel ashamed. I thought back: When the upper leaders let us carry out the work, I intended to fulfill my work as fast as I could so as to prove my abilities and gain the respect of the upper leaders and my co-workers; when seeing I was faster than them in accomplishing the task, I was pleased inwardly and thought I was better than them and that they would admire and worship me; when they not only did not praise me but instead pointed out many deficiencies in my work, which destroyed my ambitions and desires, I felt very pained and upset and lived in negativity because I couldn’t gain their respect or the praise of the upper-leaders and even the good images the church leaders had of me were spoiled. When carefully discerning and dissecting my thoughts, I realized that I had completely lived by the satanic poison “standing out from others and putting ourselves above others,” and pursued to be an important person, always wanting others to worship and respect me and have a place for me in their hearts. I was so arrogant and self-conceited. Didn’t I want to occupy the hearts of people and be in enmity to God just like Satan? Wasn’t I resisting God in this way? Thinking of these, I realized my satanic nature was so terrifying. In order to protect my own face and status, even though I was clearly aware that there were problems existing in the work, I was still unwilling to solve them quickly. I was really too selfish and despicable. If I didn’t correct the errors as soon as possible, eventually I would do something that disrupted God’s work and damaged the interests of the church, then I would be filled with regret. So I came before God to pray, “Oh God! Thank You for Your timely enlightenment and guidance, which has prevented me from doing a wicked thing. I’m willing to return to You and not continue in this way.”
Afterward, I read God’s words, “The simplest way of practice is to consider the interests of God’s house first. In everything think of the interests of God’s house first. Let go of your selfish desires. Let go of your individual motives, intent, concern with face and status. Put those things behind you and consider the interests of God’s house first—this is the least that should be done. If a person performing his duty cannot do even this much, then how can he be said to be performing his duty? … Only later think about the stability of your status and how others see you. Can you do this?” “As one of the creatures, man must keep his own position, and behave conscientiously, and dutifully guard that which is entrusted to him by the Creator. And man must not act out of line, or do things beyond his range of ability or do things that are loathsome to God. Man must not try to be great, or exceptional, or above others, nor seek to become God. This is how people should not desire to be. Seeking to become great or exceptional is absurd. Seeking to become God is even more disgraceful; it is disgusting, and despicable. What is commendable, and what the creatures should hold to more than anything else, is to become a true creature; this is the only goal that all people should pursue.” God’s words pointed out a path of practice for me: In performing my duties, I should face God and consider the interests of God’s house instead of seeking for my own interests or pursuing to be looked up to by others. The only thing I should pursue is to remain earnest and well-grounded in fulfilling my every duty and accomplishing the mission God gives me to do as a created being. Only in so doing can I be an approved creation in God’s eyes and gain His approval. Brother Zhang, without being emotional, without being afraid to offend me, without looking out for his own interests, pointed out the deficiencies in my work. This was protecting the interests of God’s house; it was a display of righteousness and was completely after God’s heart. Since what he said was right, I should accept it. Regardless of how others would look at me, I should boldly face the facts, admit my faults, and resolve the deviations in the work. Only such practice could be after God’s heart. Then I told the church leaders the problems that Brother Zhang pointed out quickly and asked them to carry out the work again.
Five days later, the church leaders resolved all the omissions in the work. When I learned that the church work was unaffected, I felt very peaceful and steady. I deeply knew that it was the timely enlightenment and guidance of God’s words that protected me and so the church work wasn’t harmed. I thanked God from my heart. Afterward, I found Brother Zhang and had a heart-to-heart talk with him and laid bare my own corruption to him.
Then, my mind came back to reality. Thinking of the words of brother Zhang, I offered my sincerest thanks and praise to God. Through this experience, I knew that those who are always chasing to have a good image and a place in people’s heart are vying with God for position and such people are no different from the archangel and can only be spurned by God. Meanwhile, I also understood that as a created being, I should cooperate harmoniously with my brothers and sisters and work together to fulfill our duties. Only by performing my duty in this way can I gain God’s approval. From now on, no longer will I pursue to be exceptional. I only wish to fulfill my duty and satisfy God as a created being.