by Jiaying, Hong Kong
When I was a student, I became a Christian. At that time, my mom often took me to the church after she learned that there was a free remedial course there, which offered me a chance to come into contact with Christianity. I guess that was from God’s sovereignty and arrangements.
Under the influence of the pastors and brothers and sisters in the church, I was favorably inclined toward Christianity. Through studying and communicating with brothers and sisters, I had some knowledge of the Christ and knew that He was crucified in order to save us sinners. Though I wasn’t familiar with Christianity and didn’t fully know about the history of the Bible at that time, I thought I had found spiritual sustenance and knew that I should pray to the Lord Jesus for peace and entrust my everything to Him. Besides, I also saw the Lord’s work in brothers and sisters: They served the Lord fervently, and they lived in harmony with each other and helped each other. I was deeply moved by these and was resolved to accept the Lord Jesus as my Lord and join this big family.
Two years later, just when I was about to throw myself into serving the Lord, I saw the darkness of the church. Pastor Tan, who was upright and had always been serving fervently, was secretly dismissed by the church committee. He had served the Lord zealously for many years, and was popular among some young believers, for his sermons could help us know the Lord and give us positive guidance. However, just because he didn’t have much skill in preaching sermons as the former pastor, some members who worshiped the former pastor always complained about that. They even threatened the committee that they would never come to the church if Pastor Tan’s sermon was still that dull. And at last they chose to leave. Fearing that more believers would leave, the committee dismissed Pastor Tan secretly.
I thought about this incident for a long time but still couldn’t put it aside. “How could such a good pastor, who can help us know the Lord Jesus and teach us to be a good Christian, be secretly dismissed?” I felt injustice done to him, and was also disappointed about the divisions and unfairness in the church. At last, we a group of young members left the church angrily and decided to search for a good church by ourselves.
However, as I had to take the school exams, I delayed my search. After I had a job, I went to several churches on the recommendation of my classmates and colleagues, only to find none of them had the Lord’s presence and guidance. Pastors in those churches often gave sermons about offerings or exalted themselves in their sermons, which couldn’t give us the supply of life at all. Although brothers and sisters came to attend the meetings, what they did when gathering together was showing off their status and position, or sharing their experiences of eating, drinking and merry making. No one communicated the topic of knowing God. I not only didn’t receive any provision of life, but my heart was further away from God after I attended the meeting each time. I thought I’d better not go to the church. So gradually I stopped my search.
The time flew by. After I had a baby, my years of comfortable life changed radically. Because of the differences in idea and method of parenting, my husband and I often argued red in the face for the child, and we could not be at a greater distance on this issue. We were bitter at each other and didn’t listen to each other. Living this way for more than half a year, I could not bear it any longer and went back to my mother’s house with my child. From then on I lived in emptiness and pain, and didn’t know how to get out of this plight. Having thought for a long time, I decided to continue to search for a church. I thought: Maybe my problem will be solved if I return to the church. I wanted to retrieve the peace I had when I came to know the Lord in the beginning.
Thank God for His preparation. In April 2016, the gospel of —the returned Lord Jesus—came to me quietly. Through the fellowship of the preachers, I finally found out the reason why I lived in emptiness and pain. Almighty God says, “Few people take it upon themselves to seek out where God does His work today, or to look for how He presides over and arranges the destination of man. And in this way, human civilization unconsciously becomes ever more incapable of meeting the wishes of man, and there are even many people who feel that, living in such a world, they are less happy than people who have gone. Even people of countries that used to be highly civilized air such grievances. For without the guidance of God, no matter how much rulers and sociologists wrack their brains to preserve human civilization, it is to no avail. No one can fill the emptiness in man’s heart, for no one can be the life of man, and no social theory can free man from the emptiness with which he is afflicted. Science, knowledge, freedom, democracy, leisure, comfort, these are but a temporary respite. Even with these things, man will inevitably sin and bemoan the injustices of society. These things cannot allay man’s craving and desire to explore. Because man was made by God and the senseless sacrifices and explorations of man can only lead to more distress. Man will exist in a constant state of fear, will not know how to face the future of mankind, or how to face the path that lies ahead. … Man, after all, is man. The position and life of God cannot be replaced by any man. Mankind does not just require a fair society in which everyone is well-fed and is equal and free, but the salvation of God and His provision of life to them” (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind”). s spoke to my heart. I came to realize that I had been so entangled by the world that my heart had moved away from God and I had forgotten God. Neither did I search for God’s footprints nor care about where God did His work and what He was doing. I was tightly bound by the matters of the flesh, thus living in emptiness and pain. God’s words told me that God is the source of life for us humans, and that only God can supply and guide us. Without God, I would live just like a “walking dead.” Almighty God’s words showed me the right direction. I needed God’s guidance, and I wanted to return to His house, for God was my only reliance and only He could help me out of all my troubles.
Almighty God’s words not only comforted my heart, but also told me the truth which I had never understood in the religious churches for years. God says, “Though many people , few understand what faith in God means, and what they must do to be after God’s heart. This is because, though people are familiar with the word ‘God’ and phrases such as ‘the work of God,’ they do not know God, much less do they know His work. No wonder, then, that all those who do not know God are possessed of a muddled belief. People do not take belief in God seriously because believing in God is too unfamiliar, too strange for them. In this way, they fall short of the demands of God. In other words, if people do not know God, do not know His work, then they are not fit for God’s use, much less can they fulfill the desire of God. ‘Belief in God’ means believing that there is a God; this is the simplest concept of faith in God. What’s more, believing that there is a God is not the same as truly believing in God; rather, it is a kind of simple faith with strong religious overtones. True faith in God means experiencing the words and work of God based on a belief that God holds sovereignty over all things. So you shall be freed of your corrupt disposition, shall fulfill the desire of God, and shall come to know God. Only through such a journey can you be said to believe in God. Yet people often see belief in God as something very simple and frivolous. The belief of such people is meaningless and shall never gain the approval of God, because they tread the wrong path” (Preface). Thinking back, although I had attended meetings in the church for quite a period of time, I knew nothing about how to believe in God. I thought the purpose of believing in God was to receive a spiritual sustenance or the peace of the flesh. I had never thought to fulfill the desire of God or how to experience God’s work so as to be gained by God. It was only through the revelation of Almighty God’s words that I realized I didn’t have the true faith in God since I believed in the Lord. My belief was nothing but a kind of simple faith. It was not until today I truly accepted God’s work in the last days and read these words that I finally knew the true meaning of belief in God and understood these words of God: “True faith in God means experiencing the words and work of God based on a belief that God holds sovereignty over all things. So you shall be freed of your corrupt disposition, shall fulfill the desire of God, and shall come to know God. Only through such a journey can you be said to believe in God.” I couldn’t help giving praise in my heart: “Oh God! Thank You for bringing me before Your throne, so that I can know more of You and understand Your will, and gain the nourishment from Your words. These are all Your exaltation and salvation for me!”
Besides, my years of confusion about the desolation of religious world were resolved by God’s words. Almighty God says, “If it is the work of the Holy Spirit, man becomes ever more normal, and his humanity becomes ever more normal. Man has an increasing knowledge of his disposition, which has been corrupted by Satan, and of the essence of man, and he has an ever greater longing for the truth. That is to say, the life of man grows and grows, and the corrupt disposition of man becomes capable of more and more changes—all of which is the meaning of God becoming the life of man. If a way is incapable of revealing those things that are the essence of man, is incapable of changing the disposition of man, and, moreover, is incapable of bringing him before God or giving him a true understanding of God, and even causes his humanity to become ever more lowly and his sense ever more abnormal, then this way must not be the true way, and it may be the work of an evil spirit, or the old way. In short, it cannot be the present work of the Holy Spirit” (“Only Those Who Know God and His Work Can Satisfy God”). “Those who do not follow the present work of the Holy Spirit have not entered into the work of God’s words, and no matter how much they work, or how great their suffering, or how much they run about, none of it means anything to God, and He will not commend them. Today, all those who follow the actual words of God are in the stream of the Holy Spirit; those who are strangers to the actual words of God are outside of the stream of the Holy Spirit, and such people are not commended by God. Service that is divorced from the actual utterances of the Holy Spirit is service that is of the flesh, and of conceptions, and it is incapable of being in accordance with God’s will. … If people are incapable of following the steps of the Holy Spirit’s work, then they live amid conceptions, and the service of such people interrupts and disturbs. Such service runs contrary to God, and thus those who are unable to follow the footsteps of God are incapable of serving God; those who are unable to follow the footsteps of God most certainly oppose God, and are incapable of being compatible with God” (“Know the Newest Work of God and Follow the Footsteps of God”).
Almighty God’s words completely encapsulate the situation in the religious world. That’s absolutely right. Now the whole religious world has lost the work of the Holy Spirit. Living in negativity and weakness, brothers and sisters have lost their love for God and do not pursue the truth anymore. They have no power to resist the worldly trends, and some even have been dragged back to the world and no longer believe in the Lord. No matter how many efforts the pastors and elders have made to serve, they cannot supply the life of brothers and sisters or maintain a harmonious church life, and the church is even filled with divisions and strife. It is all because God’s work has changed and the Holy Spirit no longer works in the religious world. Without being upheld by the Holy Spirit, the religious world has fallen into desolation and chaos, which fulfills the words of Jehovah God: “And also I have withheld the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain on one city, and caused it not to rain on another city: one piece was rained on, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered” (Amos 4:7). God’s words enlightened me and made me clearly see the situation of the religious world. I no longer want to go with the flow, but am willing to keep up with God’s footprints quickly so as to receive the provision of the living water of life from Almighty God. Thank God! All the glory be to Almighty God!