34. Almighty God’s Word Has Conquered the Arrogant Me
Tongchuan City, Shaanxi Province
I was born into a Christian family. I’m 50 years old. Since the 1970s, I had begun to serve God fervently. At that time, there weren’t many believers, so I became a leader in my twenties. I had joined several denominations, and in the end, I joined the “Shouters.” I thought that the messages of Witness Lee were the highest and best, and no one else could compare with him in the religious world. I treated his spiritual books as treasures. Whenever I got those books, I was very proud as no one else around me had them. Because I had some biblical knowledge, others all spoke highly of my preachings. Everyone said that I had love for the Lord and was a good “shepherd.” I thought that I would certainly be an elder in the “Shouters,” and would certainly be raptured in the future. I spent more than thirty years in a life of “enjoying the respect and support of others” and became more and more arrogant. I especially looked down upon people of other denominations and didn’t even want to talk to them. I always thought, “What do they know? They have nothing but the Bible. Can they unlock it by their mind? They are all ignorant peasants.”
In December of 2000, a co-worker of mine brought a brother to my home, who wanted to talk about the matters of believing in God with me. I thought, “You want to talk about the matters of believing in God with me? Humph! You are only fit to sit aside and listen. Do you have any right to speak? Know your place. You dare to come to preach to me? I’ll definitely put you to shame.” I heard the brother said, “God has done a new work now, the work of judging man with His word. God has come among men through incarnation again for the sake of mankind, coming to China, a filthy land. The Age of Grace has passed. We should not stick to the old work, and should accept the new work…” Hearing that, I flew into a rage at once, unable to tolerate those words at all. I thought, “I’ve preached in Tongchuan for many years. Now I’m a well-known leader here. Who do you think you are? How could you know God’s coming to earth earlier than me? Even Witness Lee hasn’t said that, and you dare to say it? Have you ever interpreted any scripture of the Bible? Do you know the Bible? You dare to say such a word! Aren’t you afraid of offending God? You dare to believe in God outside the Bible. You are really ‘capable!’ But I won’t be easily deceived anyway.” So I said to him aggressively, “Brother, you say that God has already come. Please tell me, where is He? Where does He live? Have you seen Him? What does He look like? You say that God is in China. Then I really want to see Him. I’m not afraid of spending my money, as long as I can see Him. Quick, quick, quick! Let’s go now!” Seeing me like this, the brother smiled, and said calmly, “Not everyone can see God. And I haven’t…” “Have you seen God or not?” I roared, staring at him. The brother said, “No. I’m unworthy to see God now. I’m certain that God has come through reading His word.” Seeing that he didn’t fall out with me, I held back my anger and said, “Believers in God should take the Bible as the basis of faith. I won’t believe in anything outside the Bible. The apostle Paul said, ‘That you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.’” I also warned him, “Since you also believe in God and dare to come to me to preach your way, you may also have something. Then you have to make it clear. If you can’t, please don’t say any more.” Hearing my words, the brother pondered for a while. Just when he was going to speak, I waved my hand. “Ay! Actually, I’m telling you that I won’t accept it. You needn’t waste your time. Go back and have a good study of the Bible.” Seeing that I didn’t allow him to stay anymore, the brother had to leave.
In March 2001, the co-worker brought an elderly brother to my home. During our fellowship, I found that he knew very little about the Bible. So I had little regard for him. I thought, “You always bring me these useless people. You should bring someone capable. Aren’t you belittling me by doing so?” So I bragged to the elderly brother how great Witness Lee was and how I preached. And I also demonstrated my “talents” to him. The brother clapped his hands and said, “Great!” I was a bit surprised, thinking, “What did you come for? You can’t say anything but only clap your hands. Look at your pitiful look. You want to preach to me? You are at such an old age. Don’t you feel ashamed? If you dare to talk about the new work today, I’ll immediately tell you to leave.” Seeing that I didn’t give him any chance to speak, the brother said, “I’ll go back today, and let’s talk another day.” I said more arrogantly, “Go back and tell your leader. If anyone wants to preach to me again, he should be a master hand. Otherwise, please don’t come lest it waste time.” After saying that, I laughed at him secretly, “At such an old age, you should have some experience. Yet this is the best you got? And you dare to come out to preach? I will really laugh my teeth off. With your poor stuff, you dare to come out; you are really shameless! If anyone comes to preach to me again, I must show my true ability and let him lose his face completely! Today I’ll let you nobodies off. Next time, I must put you to utter shame! How many in Tongchuan have the books of Witness Lee’s biblical interpretations? You come to me without asking about who I am. You have really overrated your abilities.”
Soon, it was the end of the year. The co-worker really brought another brother to my home to fellowship with me. The brother said, “God’s work of managing mankind is done by three stages. In the first stage, He did in Israel the work of leading people to live on earth. In the second stage, He was incarnated in Judea and did the work of redeeming mankind through crucifixion. In the third stage, He is incarnated in China, the filthiest land, to conquer the most corrupt people to reveal His righteousness and holiness, and He discloses man’s nature by His word and makes man know himself and cast off his corrupt dispositions and be restored to man’s original likeness, thereby defeating Satan. God is a God who is almighty and wise, and always new and never old. He doesn’t do His work according to man’s notions, and never repeats His work. There is nothing wrong with any of His work, but He does different work in different ages. We shouldn’t restrict God within a book.” Hearing his words, I thought, “This guy seems capable. But anyhow, if God comes, I should know it earlier than you. How can it be that you come to preach to me? What’s more, Witness Lee never said that God has come to earth.” So I said to him, “I know all that you said, but you may not know what I will say. Go on.” He continued to preach to me, but I was absent-minded. Seeing that I had no intention to listen, the brother had to stop. But I at once ridiculed him, “Well said! Go on.” The brother bore it and went on with his fellowship. I made a cup of tea and began to savor its taste with my legs crossed.
The brother preached to me earnestly, but I thought triumphantly, “What a poor guy! Though you are preaching endlessly now, I won’t listen to a word. I’ll exhaust you. Since I said last time that I would put you to shame, I won’t let you go today. I’ll put you to utter shame. Now you can talk to your heart’s content. After a while, I’ll let you reap ‘good fruit.’ And I’ll surely make you speechless and let you know how capable I am. You even dare to preach to me with your poor stuff. You should go to ask whether I have submitted to anyone in this place and whether anyone here can prevail over me.” Just like this, I kept thinking what questions I should ask to make it hot for him. Seeing that I didn’t listen, the brother stopped again. I kept silent for a while, and then I assumed a solemn face and asked several unreasonable questions to embarrass him. “Where is Israel on the map? What will we do in the future? In what part of the earth will Satans appear in the future? Where is their home? What does the color red, white, black, yellow, green, purple, blue, bronze symbolize respectively?” And I said, “I won’t ask you difficult questions now. You can answer these simple ones first.” For a short while, the brother was at a loss what to do. But I was bursting with joy and sniggered, “Brother, you are ashamed now, aren’t you? Huh, you can’t even get through my first pass. Then what else do you want to do? Answer me! Go ahead! Didn’t you talk eloquently just now?” The brother’s silence made me more excited and elated. “It’s a pity that there are no other people around. Otherwise, I will make you more embarrassed and let you be ashamed to face others in future.” Ay! I was such a small man filled with self-satisfaction. Now, I feel disgusted when I think of myself at that time.
Afterward, I not only didn’t accept the true way, but I also hindered others from accepting it. Wherever I went, I preached wantonly, “It’s not a book of God’s word at all! There isn’t even the name of the publisher or chapters and sections in it. What’s more, it is written in the vernacular and understandable to anyone. How could it be called God’s word! It must be a heresy, a cult.” Because of my arrogance and self-conceit, I not only ridiculed the brothers and sisters but also blasphemed the word of God recklessly. As a result, God’s discipline came upon me. Whenever I said such words, I suffered from excessive internal heat, and my teeth came out. Within a few months I lost more than ten teeth. This really fulfilled the word “I will laugh my teeth off” I said when I laughed at them, and also made me taste the bitterness of competing with God. From then on, I dared not to say arrogant words like “I will laugh my teeth off” to ridicule the brothers and sisters who followed Almighty God, and even less dare to despise the word of God.
In July 2002, I went with my wife to my hometown to visit my parents. At that time, my families had already accepted Almighty God, but I didn’t know it. My elder sister brought a sister to fellowship about the Bible with me and told me that the sister was also a believer of the Shouters. So I didn’t dare to be so insolent as before and had to sit down and listen to her fellowship. Unexpectedly I really encountered a master hand this time. She could tell the contents of the biblical verses clearly without referring to the Bible. I thought, “This one is really capable. But anyway, even though you are a master hand, I’m not an incapable one. You can preach your way, but I will hold my ground. I’ll see what the result will be after you finish your preaching.”
The sister fellowshipped from the Age of Law to the last days. In the end she said, “God has come back and done a new work.” I was shocked at this word and wanted to lose my temper. As all my families were there, I held back my anger for fear of losing my face. I just asked her, “I have believed in God for decades. If God comes back, I should know it first. Why didn’t God tell me about it? Do you have any evidence to prove that God has already come back?” Seeing me like this, the sister said, “Brother, you said that you are pious and know a lot, but can any wage of our work be compared with Paul’s? There are altogether twenty-seven books in the New Testament, and thirteen of them were written by Paul alone. Yet, even such a servant of God who is admired by everyone didn’t know God, and he resisted God many times and wasn’t perfected by God in the end. What is our course then? Do we really know about God? Can we really fathom what work God does? Can God only do His work within the Bible? Can’t He do a greater and newer work? …” “Stop! Stop! Stop!” The more I listened, the more I felt something was wrong. So I interrupted her angrily. “You are too bold! You dare to say Paul wasn’t approved by God. Do you know how many sufferings he underwent, how many miles he ran, and how many slashes he suffered for preaching the gospel? He is an example for us to imitate. If he weren’t approved, who of us would be saved?” Seeing that I was so arrogant and imperious, the sister said, “It is true that Paul is the one for us to imitate, he ran more miles than us, and his epistles are beneficial to us, but he pursued with his own intents and purposes.” With that, she opened the book The Word Appears in the Flesh and read these words: “He was not someone who was filled with love and reverence for Jesus Christ, nor was he someone who was adept at seeking the truth, much less was he someone who sought the mystery of the incarnation. He was merely someone who was skilled in sophistry, and who would not yield to any who were higher than him or who were possessed of the truth. He envied people or truths that were in contrast to him, or in enmity of him, preferring those gifted people who presented a great image and possessed profound knowledge. He did not like interacting with poor people who sought the true way and cared for nothing but the truth, and instead concerned himself with senior figures from religious organizations who only spoke of doctrines, and were possessed of abundant knowledge. He had no love of the new work of the Holy Spirit, and cared not for the movement of the new work of the Holy Spirit. Instead, he favored those regulations and doctrines that were higher than general truths. … He did much work, yet he must not be judged on the quantity of work he did, but only on its quality and substance. Only in this way is it possible to get to the bottom of this matter. He always believed: I am capable of working, I am better than most people; I am considerate of the Lord’s burden as no one else, and no one repents as deeply as I, for the great light shone upon me, and I have seen the great light, and so my repentance is deeper than any other. At the time, this is what he thought within his heart. At the end of his work, Paul said: ‘I have fought the fight, I have finished my course, and there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.’ His fight, work, and course were entirely for the sake of the crown of righteousness, and he did not actively forge ahead; though he was not perfunctory in his work, it can be said that his work was merely in order to make up for his mistakes, to make up for the accusations of his conscience. He hoped to complete his work, finish his course, and fight his fight as soon as possible, so that he could gain his longed-for crown of righteousness all the sooner. What he longed for was not to meet the Lord Jesus with his experience and true knowledge, but to finish his work as soon as possible, in order that he would receive the rewards that his work had earned him when he met the Lord Jesus. He used his work to comfort himself, and to make a deal in exchange for a future crown. What he sought was not the truth or God, but only the crown. How can such a pursuit be qualified? His motivation, his work, the price he paid, and all of his efforts—his wonderful fantasies pervaded them all, and he worked wholly according to his own desires. In the entirety of his work, there was not the slightest willingness in the price he paid; he was merely engaging in a deal. His efforts were not made willingly in order to perform his duty, but were made willingly in order to achieve the objective of the deal. Is there any worth to such efforts? Who would commend his impure efforts? Who has any interest in such efforts? His work was full of dreams for the future, full of wonderful plans, and contained no path by which to change human disposition. So much of his benevolence was a pretense; his work did not provide life, but was a sham of civility; it was the doing of a deal. How can work such as this lead man to the path of recovering his original duty?” Hearing these words, I had to admit that they have authority and power. They not only dissect Paul’s service so thoroughly but hit home in me. I couldn’t but acquiesce. The sister seemed to notice my change, and she said, “Brother, didn’t you want the evidence of God’s return? This book is a collection of the words God has personally spoken after coming back. Let’s read another passage.” With that, she opened the book again and began to read: “Do not think that you are compatible with Christ if you … perform some good deeds. Do you believe that your kindness can purloin the blessing of Heaven? Do you think that good deeds are a substitute for your obedience? None of you can accept dealing and pruning, and all find it difficult to accept the normal humanity of Christ. Yet you always claim obedience to God. Such faith as yours will bring upon a fitting retribution. Stop indulging in fanciful illusions and wishing to see Christ, for you are too little in stature, such that you are not even worthy to see Him. When you have completely cast away your rebellion and can be at peace with Christ, then God will naturally appear to you. If you go to see God without having undergone pruning or judgment, then you shall definitely become an opponent of God and be set for destruction.” After hearing this passage of God’s word, I was full of emotions and thoughts and couldn’t calm down for a long time. For a moment, I felt that I was so unfamiliar with God as if I had never believed in God before. In the past, I always thought that it was OK that I could sacrifice myself and have a kind heart and good intentions, and that I could be qualified to meet God and reign with God if I could expound the Bible and preach. Actually, these were all my fanciful ideas.
I picked up the hymn book Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs, which the sister brought, and read it casually. I was caught by these lyrics in it: “Men all seek God in sufferings, look to God in trials, enjoy God in peaceful times, deny God in dangerous situations, forget God at busy times, and treat God perfunctorily at leisure. However, not a single one has ever loved God all his life, all his life.” I was shocked at these words. “That’s really so correct. Over the past thirty years I have spent my life just in this way. I thought that I had loved God so much. Only today have I known that I didn’t ever love God but pursued for myself all along. My so-called ‘love for God’ is actually nothing but deception. Ay! How long will I, this old fogy, be obstinate?”
Moved and inspired by God’s words, I picked up the book of God’s word again and saw these words: “Do not think that you understand everything. I tell you that all you have now seen and experienced is insufficient for you to understand even one thousandth of My management plan. So why then are you so haughty? The mere bit of talent and the minimal knowledge you have are insufficient to be used in even one second of the work of Jesus! How much experience do you actually have? What you have seen and all that you have heard in your lifetime and what you have imagined are less than the work I do in a moment! You best not nitpick and find fault. No matter how haughty you may be, you are still a creature less than an ant! All that within your belly is less than that within the belly of an ant! Do not think that because you have experienced much and become senior, you can speak and act with unbridled arrogance. Are not your experiences and your seniority as a result of the words I have uttered? Do you believe that they are earned through your labor and toil? This day, you see My incarnation, and as a result you have such rich conceptions, from which come innumerable notions. If not for My incarnation, no matter how extraordinary your talents, you would not have as many conceptions. Is it not from this that your notions arose? If not for the first time Jesus became flesh, what would you know of the incarnation? Is it not because of your knowledge of the first incarnation that you dare to brazenly judge the second incarnation? Why should you scrutinize it instead of being an obedient follower? You have entered into this stream and come before the incarnate God. How could you be allowed to study? It is fine for you to study your own family history, but if you study the ‘family history’ of God, how could the God of today allow you to do so? Are you not blind? Are you not asking for troubles?” At that point, my heart was greatly stirred again. And I began to examine myself. “In the past, I thought that I had rich knowledge of the Bible and was very familiar with the life-study messages, and that as long as I understood these things, I understood God’s will, and I didn’t need any other truths. Every time when I preached, I would show off my knowledge complacently. I always thought that I was superior to anyone else and was most faithful to God, and no one but me could be worthy to receive a reward at the time of God’s return. Today, from God’s words, I see clearly that I’m so poor, blind, and pitiable and know that I’m a sinner resisting God.” Then, I turned to the piece of God’s word “Christ Does the Work of Judgment with the Truth” and saw these words: “I exhort you all not to regard yourselves with more importance than gold. If others can accept the judgment of God, then why can you not? How much higher do you stand above others? If others can bow their heads before the truth, why can you not also do so? The great trend of God’s work is unstoppable. He will not repeat the work of judgment again for the sake of your ‘merits,’ and you will sorely regret losing such a good opportunity. If you do not believe My words, then just wait for that great white throne in the sky to ‘pass judgment’ upon you! You must know that all of the Israelites spurned and denied Jesus, yet the fact of Jesus’ redemption of mankind still spread to the ends of the universe. Is this not the fact that God has long ago fulfilled? If you are still awaiting Jesus to take you up to heaven, then I say that you are an obstinate piece of deadwood. Jesus will not acknowledge a false believer such as you who is disloyal to the truth and seeks only blessings. On the contrary, He will show no mercy in casting you into the lake of fire to burn for tens of thousands of years.” After reading those words, I felt my heart aching as if being stabbed by a sharp sword. Those words were stern but true indeed. From them I saw that I was an arch-criminal resisting God and a living Satan through and through. I was arrogant, disobedient, ignorant, and blind, and in order to preserve my position, I even opposed God at the cost of “laughing my teeth off.” God’s salvation came upon me again and again, but I not only didn’t seek it but exalted myself with the “capital of my years of work” and carried out schemes to hurt God’s heart. I wantonly blasphemed God’s work so many times and bound so many believers under me, yet I regarded myself as “faithful” to God. However, Almighty God’s tolerance is as boundless as the sea and sky, and He didn’t remember my disobedient deeds but saved me back with His great, sincere, and selfless love. So that I, an arrogant religious person, truly understood what position I should stand in to worship God as a created being and how I should believe to be after God’s heart.
I thank Almighty God for conquering the arrogant me by His word. Today I tell brothers and sisters my experience of how I came before God, in the hope that you will gain some enlightenment from it and seek Almighty God’s work with a humble heart without caring about your position and face. I believe that you will surely find our longed-for Savior—the Almighty who is and who was and who is to come.