By Chen Jiaxi
Everyone wishes to have a successful life surrounded by others’ admiration and praise, and we throw everything into this pursuit. But few have ever reflected upon this: What can bring us real happiness? What is the most valuable thing we should pursue? This article will explore the meaning of life with you.
In order to be successful and lead a superior lifestyle, I, just like all my friends in my village, had been working hard to equip myself with various skills.
Several years later, we all grew up and had our own family and career. Among my friends, some had a company of their own, some bought a car worth millions and returned home a man of wealth, and some had carved out a place in their business. Yet compared with them, I just had a stable family and a pretty ordinary life with no fame, fancy car, or big mansion. Unwilling to be left behind, I then started up my own pig farming business.
Running this business in the beginning was really tough for me, but with the conviction that “No pain, no gain,” I didn’t surrender to the difficulties I was confronted with, but persisted in tending those little piglets from dawn till dark. After a period of hard work, I eventually became a well-known livestock raiser in the local place. Constant TV interviews, the government’s commendation, plus my friends’ flattery greatly satisfied my vanity.
However, misfortune came upon me unexpectedly. Frequent outbreaks of plague coupled with the rapid decline of the pork price made my business sink into slump. At the same time, I was diagnosed with thyroid tumor as a result of long-term fatigue and enormous pressure, which made my situation even worse. “I haven’t achieved something. Am I going to die like this?” I really couldn’t accept this fact. Yet in the face of the illness, I could do nothing but helplessly await the judgment of my destiny. Fortunately, my tumor was later diagnosed as benign. I told myself: Since I dodged a bullet this time, I will definitely have good fortune in the future. So I became more determined to carve out a career for myself.
Later, I got into direct sales business, where I saw some people who came from a lower level in society had overnight turned into “successful men” and gave lectures to thousands of people on the stage, surrounded by flowers and applause, looking so dazzling and brilliant. There I seemed to catch a glimpse of hope, feeling that success was beckoning to me ahead.
In the following days, I traveled around the country learning how to establish a new market in a strange place, how to build up friendships with people and win their trust. Even though sometimes the meeting I attended finished at midnight, I didn’t feel tired at all. I kept telling myself, “No pain, no gain.” After a year of hard effort, I finally managed to establish a team of my own. But at that time I was still not content with what I’d achieved, and continued striving for a higher position.
Finally, I had a bit of a name in this line of work, and was frequently invited to give lectures and share my experience in many places. Whenever I stood on the platform and saw the admiring gazes of hundreds or even thousands of people below, an unspeakable sense of contentment and achievement would well up in my heart. In that moment, I felt all the effort I had paid was worth it.
However, good time didn’t last long. Just as I was immersed in the joy of success, my team suddenly lost two markets, which meant all my previous effort was in vain. Unable to accept this fact, I locked myself in the room and burst out crying. I felt so exhausted that I really wanted to give up. Yet as I calmed down, I thought, “Over these years I’ve been working hard to accumulate experience. Am I gonna give up so easily? No, I cannot. I cannot just live a life so ordinary. I must pick myself up!”
Thereafter I started all over again. In order to broaden my connections and establish markets, I learned how to flatter and toady up to others and even stoop to compromise. Yet when I reestablished my markets, all this bitterness and suffering seemed to be cast into the back of my mind and I started setting higher goals and traveled around the world to study. During that time, I was designated by a top leader as director of the training center in Hong Kong.
As I was interacting with all kinds of higher-ups, all I saw was how they schemed and fought with each other for fame and fortune. I couldn’t help asking myself: I’ve always been striving for higher positions and greater interests, but what good is it even if I achieve my goal? Living in this society where the strong prey on the weak, could I keep my integrity? Is this what I really want, a life full of strife? Gradually, I grew tired of this kind of life, but in order to keep what I had owned, I had no choice but to force myself to hang in there. During that period, every day I returned home I felt weary and I kept asking myself: I’ve won others’ admiration and praise and lived an aristocratic life, but why don’t I feel any happiness or joy?
Finally one day, I found the answer in God’s word, which says, “So Satan uses fame and gain to control man’s thoughts until all they can think of is fame and gain. They struggle for fame and gain, suffer hardships for fame and gain, endure humiliation for fame and gain, sacrifice everything they have for fame and gain, and they will make any judgment or decision for fame and gain. In this way, Satan binds man with invisible shackles. These shackles are borne on people, and they have not the strength nor courage to throw them off. So people trudge ever onward in great difficulty, unknowingly bearing these shackles. For the sake of this fame and gain, mankind shuns God and betrays Him, and they become more and more wicked. In this way, therefore, one generation after another is destroyed in the fame and gain of Satan. Looking now at Satan’s actions, are its sinister motives abominable? Maybe today you still cannot see through Satan’s sinister motives because you think that there is no life without fame and gain. You think that, if people leave fame and gain behind, then they will no longer be able to see the way ahead, no longer be able to see their goals, their future becomes dark, dim and gloomy. But, slowly, you will all one day recognize that fame and gain are monstrous shackles that Satan uses to bind man. Until the day you come to recognize this, you will thoroughly resist Satan’s control and thoroughly resist the shackles Satan brings to bind you. When the time comes for you to wish to throw off all the things Satan has instilled in you, you will then make a clean break with Satan and will also truly loathe all that Satan has brought to you. Only then will you have a real love and yearning for God.”
After reading God’s words, I came to understand that pursuing fame and gain is walking on a wrong path and that fame and gain are shackles Satan uses to bind us. Satan plants these poisons deep within our hearts, such as “No pain, no gain,” “People struggle to go upward, but water flows downward,” and “Distinguish oneself to bring glory to family and ancestors,” so that more and more people take getting ahead of others and standing out from the crowd as the goals to pursue in life. In order to acquire fame and gain, they are willing to pay any price and in this pursuit they contend and fight with each other, so much so that they are becoming more and more evil and corrupt until they finally end up being devoured by Satan. I was just a living example. Deeply affected by this poison of Satan, “No pain, no gain,” I had been very arrogant and ambitious since I was a child, pursuing to be outstanding and bring glory to my family. I believed that such kind of life was honorable and most valuable. So when I saw people around me all led a superior life, I was not willing to fall behind them, and thus began to run a pig farm in the hope of being successful. Even when I ended up in failure and was afflicted by illness, I still didn’t give up my pursuit of fame and gain. When I saw those who came from the low level of society obtained both fame and gain in the direct sales business, I was consumed with envy and then threw myself into this field. In order to achieve success, I busied myself day and night with no regard for my health, and later I even abandoned my dignity as a man by bowing to others. The pain and suffering were really beyond telling. However, when I finally succeeded and gained others’ admiration and praise, I didn’t feel happy or joyful at all. It was then that I came to realize that fame and gain were traps Satan set for man. Even though I had gained them, they didn’t bring me happiness or joy but instead made me lose my direction and become more and more depraved. Realizing this, I no longer wanted to be deceived and afflicted by Satan, so I began to look for the right path in life.
Then I saw these words of God, “The first thing one must understand, when one sets foot on this earth, is where human beings come from, why people are alive, who dictates human fate, who provides for and has sovereignty over human existence. These are the true assets in life, the essential basis for human survival, not learning how to provide for one’s family or how to achieve fame and wealth, not learning how to stand out from the crowd or how to live a more affluent life, much less learning how to excel and to compete successfully against others.” “If one views life as an opportunity to experience the Creator’s sovereignty and come to know His authority, if one sees one’s life as a rare chance to perform one’s duty as a created human being and to fulfill one’s mission, then one will necessarily have the correct outlook on life, will live a life blessed and guided by the Creator, will walk in the light of the Creator, know the Creator’s sovereignty, come under His dominion, become a witness to His miraculous deeds and to His authority.”
Pondering God’s words, I came to understand that God bestowed life upon us and brought us into this world so that each of us can have the opportunity to experience His work and gain a clear understanding of His authority and sovereignty, and that it is also for us to bear witness for God to others and fulfill our duties as created beings. As a creation, I should pursue to know God and try my best to fulfill my duties, which is the only way for me to stay far from Satan’s harm and receive God’s blessings. And only living in this way has value and meaning. I thought of how, during the first half of my life, I didn’t have a knowledge of the Creator, and even less did I know where I came from or the meaning of life. As a result, I kept pursuing fame and gain and didn’t stop even when my health broke down. I always worried about gains and losses and lived in inescapable torment. Although in the end I acquired fame and gain and enjoyed a short period of satisfaction, in my heart I didn’t feel a hint of peace or joy, but instead I became more and more hypocritical, losing my dignity and integrity as a man. Every day I lived in the trickeries of Satan, feeling extremely miserable. I was very grateful to the guidance of God’s word, for it allowed me to find my direction in life.
Since then, I often gathered together with my brothers and sisters, we fellowshiped with each other about our own experiences and knowledge of God’s words, pursued the truth and sought to be honest people. Living a life like this gave me a kind of assuredness and peace I’d never felt before and I also gained the faith to follow God. Besides, I always had this feeling that I should preach God’sto more people so that they could return before God and stay away from Satan’s affliction. So I later resigned my position as senior director. Though I’m no longer admired and praised by others and do not earn as much as before, I have more time to pursue the truth and fulfill my duties in the church. Every time I shared the testimony of God’s work of the last days with people around me and they accepted it, I would feel an inexpressible sense of contentment, thinking that I had done something most righteous, and I felt living like this was especially meaningful. It was God’s words that transformed my erroneous perspective of pursuing fame and gain, showed me the right direction in life and allowed me to understand the value and meaning of life. I thank God from the bottom of my heart!
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