1. I Am Fortunate to Do Service for God
Almighty God says, “By what means is God’s perfection of man accomplished? It is accomplished by means of His righteous disposition. God’s disposition primarily consists of righteousness, wrath, majesty, judgment, and curse, and He perfects man primarily by means of His judgment” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God). “Before the time of the service-doers, man understood nothing of the pursuit of life, what it means to believe in God, or the wisdom of God’s work, and nor did he understand that God’s work can test man. From the time of the service-doers through to today, man sees how wondrous is the work of God—it is unfathomable to man. Man is unable to imagine how God works by using his brain, and he also sees how small his stature is and that too much about him is disobedient. When God cursed man, it was in order to achieve an effect, and He did not put man to death. Although He cursed man, He did so through words, and His curses did not actually befall man, for what God cursed was the disobedience of man, and so the words of His curses were also spoken in order to make man perfect. Whether God judges man or curses him, both make man perfect: Both are done in order to make perfect that which is impure within man. Through this means man is refined, and that which is lacking within man is made perfect through His words and work. Every step of God’s work—whether it be harsh words, or judgment, or chastisement—makes man perfect, and is absolutely appropriate. Never throughout the ages has God done work such as this; today, He works within you so that you appreciate His wisdom. Although you have suffered some pain within you, your hearts feel steadfast and at peace; it is your blessing to be able to enjoy this stage of the work of God. Regardless of what you are able to gain in the future, all that you see of God’s work in you today is love. If man does not experience God’s judgment and refinement, his actions and fervor will always remain at surface level, and his disposition will always remain unchanged. Does this count as having been gained by God?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God). These words of God are really moving for me. I can feel that God’s work of judgment and chastisement is entirely to cleanse and save mankind. I can’t help but think of the first trial I went through after accepting God’s work of the last days, which was the trial of the service-doers.
One day in February 1991, I was attending a gathering just like always when a brother said to us happily, “The Holy Spirit has uttered words!” The brothers and sisters then began to read: “Praise has come to Zion and God’s dwelling place has appeared. The glorious holy name, extolled by all peoples, spreads. Ah, Almighty God! The Head of the universe, Christ of the last days—He is the shining Sun that has risen upon Mount Zion, which towers in majesty and grandeur over all the universe …” “You have made a group of overcomers and fulfilled God’s management plan. All peoples shall flow to this mountain. All peoples shall kneel before the throne! You are the one and only true God and You deserve glory and honor. All glory, praise, and authority be to the throne!” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 1). Even though I didn’t entirely understand this at the time, when I heard it, I felt that it was very special, very moving, and no human could have spoken such words. I was certain that these words had come from God, that they were the utterances of the Holy Spirit. After that, chapter after chapter of the Holy Spirit’s words were being sent to our church all the time, words that revealed many truths of faith and mysteries of the Bible, and also opened up to us the path for practicing the truth and entering into life. During that time we had gatherings almost every day to read the Holy Spirit’s words. It was so sustaining and nourishing for our hearts. Everyone was immersed in joy and delight and felt so blessed. We all thought we were among the first who had been raised up before God, that we were the overcomers who God would make, that we’d certainly have a share in the kingdom of heaven, and we’d be fit to receive God’s promises and blessings. Full of faith, we all expended ourselves for God. Some were furiously copying out the Holy Spirit’s words, some were putting them to music to make them into hymns. Our circumstances were also really trying at the time, with quite a few brothers and sisters being arrested while at gatherings. I wasn’t timid or afraid, but kept enthusiastically expending myself for God.
Just as I was filled with hopes of being blessed and getting into the kingdom of heaven, God uttered new words and ushered us into the trial of the service-doers. One day in October I was notified to go to a church gathering 25 miles away to collect new words uttered by the Holy Spirit. I thought there had to be wonderful news, so I excitedly got on my bike and rode to the gathering place, humming a tune and bursting with energy. To my surprise, when I arrived I saw my brothers and sisters looking troubled and all hanging their heads. One brother said to me, “The Holy Spirit has uttered words. God says that we’re all service-doers.” A sister said, her eyes filled with tears, “We’re all service-doers. Chinese people are for providing service and we won’t get any blessings at all.” I just couldn’t believe it was true. I rushed to read the Holy Spirit’s words, and read this from God: “In China, apart from My firstborn sons and My people, all the others are the offspring of the great red dragon and are to be discarded. You must all understand, China is after all a nation cursed by Me, and a few of My people there are nothing more than those that render service for My future work. To say it another way, apart from My firstborn sons, there is no one else—they are all to perish. Do not think that I am too extreme in My deeds—this is My administrative decree. Those who suffer My curses are objects of My hatred, and this is set in stone” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 95). Reading this left me stunned. Service-doers had been mentioned many times in the Holy Spirit’s words, and I had always thought it meant the unbelievers. But it turned out that it was about us. It said that Chinese people are service-doers who will be cursed by God, and when they’ve completed their service, they’ll be thrown into the bottomless pit. I felt my whole body go weak. I’d never imagined I was a service-doer. Had all those years of faith been for nothing? Not only would I not be blessed in the kingdom of heaven, but I’d be thrown into the bottomless pit! I felt like I’d been tossed into the abyss. I was miserable, and complaints began to surface. I thought about how I’d given up my studies to follow the Lord, how the people of the world mocked me, how my friends and family couldn’t understand, and about the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution and how I’d narrowly escaped arrest several times, but I’d never shrunk back, instead continuing to expend myself and make sacrifices. I’d suffered so much. I thought I’d get into the kingdom of heaven and enjoy blessings, but now I was a lowly service-doer. I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. I sat there for a while heaving sighs of despair. Other brothers and sisters were hanging their heads, some shed tears, some covered their faces and began crying out loud, and some brothers even wailed loudly.
On my way home after the gathering, I hardly had the strength to ride my bicycle. I wondered the whole way, “How could I be a service-doer?” The more I thought about it, the more wronged I felt, and my tears just kept coming. Back home, I wasn’t interested in doing anything at all, and even when I was walking, I would hang my head, unwilling to speak with anyone. Even breathing felt exhausting. I just couldn’t resign myself to being a service-doer who wouldn’t get any blessings in the end.
Chapter after chapter of God’s words were being released, and I read each one eagerly, longing for there to be a shred of hope in His words, that my outcome could be changed. But not only did I see nothing about the blessings I hoped for, but it was all harsh judgment. There were some of God’s words in particular that said: “Those who render service and those who belong to the devil are the spiritless dead, and they must all be abolished and rendered into nothingness. This is a mystery of My management plan, and is a part of My management plan that mankind cannot fathom; however, at the same time, I have made this public to everyone. Those who do not belong to Me are against Me; those who belong to Me are the ones who are compatible with Me. This is utterly incontrovertible, and it is the principle behind My judgment of Satan. This principle should be known to all so that they can see My righteousness and justness. Everyone who comes from Satan will be judged, burned, and turned to ash. This, too, is My wrath, and from this My disposition is further made evident” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 108). “After doing service for Me today, they must all leave! Do not loiter in My house; stop your constant shameless freeloading! Those who belong to Satan are all sons of the devil, and will perish forever” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 109). Seeing God judging and cursing service-doers, I lost all hope and really felt I’d fallen straight into the bottomless pit. I don’t even know how to describe that feeling of misery. I thought about how I’d just been in God’s embrace, basking in His love, but now I’d been tossed out, condemned and cursed by God, cast into the bottomless pit. I sunk into the refinement of misery and became very negative. I didn’t have the energy to pray, listen to hymns, or read God’s words. I even started regretting everything I’d put in and sacrificed before. If I’d known it would turn out like that, I would have left myself an out, but now I was left with nothing. If my unbelieving friends and family members knew I’d turn out to be a service-doer and would end up empty-handed, wouldn’t they mock me to no end? How could I show my face? What could I do? When I thought about that, I felt really reproached. Thinking over my years of faith, even though I’d suffered quite a bit, I’d enjoyed a lot of God’s grace and blessings. Today I’d been elevated by God to hear His new words, and I’d learned so many mysteries and truths. I couldn’t depart from God no matter what.
Just as we were living in pain, we read these words of God in a gathering: “I desire only that you offer all your strength up to Me with all your heart and mind, and to the best of your ability. Whether today or tomorrow, whether you are someone who renders service for Me or someone who gains blessings, you should all exert your measure of strength for My kingdom. This is an obligation that all created people should take up, and it must be done and implemented in this way. I shall mobilize all things to render service for the beauty of My kingdom to be made ever new, and for My house to be made harmonious and united. No one is allowed to defy Me, and any who do so must suffer judgment and be cursed” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 100). The church leader at the time also shared some fellowship of the brother from the Above. “Many people feel that it is shameful to be a service-doer, but that is utterly wrong. That we can render service to God today was something predestined by Him, and more than that, we were chosen by God to do so. In fact, rendering service to the supreme and almighty God is quite a glorious thing! We are humans who have been corrupted so deeply by Satan, and before God, we are all but tiny creatures. Who is fit to do service for God? Out of all of mankind, we are the ones God selected to do service for Him. We have gained much, and this is truly a great elevation from God. This is the fairest statement, and if we cannot comprehend it, then we are arrogant beyond all reason. Frankly speaking, God has allowed us—we who are completely lacking in humanity—to do service for Him; do you know, though, how much humiliation He has suffered? He is faced each day with such corrupt people as ourselves, yet who among us has ever given any thought to the great humiliation God has suffered? We always rebel against Him and defy Him, we judge Him by our own notions and imaginings, and we have broken His heart. How much anguish has God suffered? Truth be told, we are filled with corrupt dispositions, and when we do service for Him, we fall short of His requirements. With such behavior, we are not even fit to render service to God. How could we be fit to be His people?” Hearing this awakened me. God is the Creator, and He is supreme. I am lowly and miniscule, so being able to do service for Him is God’s elevation and kindness. But I didn’t know my own identity or status, believing that being a service-doer was lowly, and I was unwilling to do that for God. I was so arrogant and unreasonable. Thinking back, even though I’d pursued eagerly, making sacrifices and expending myself, it was all to gain blessings, to enjoy the blessings of the kingdom of heaven. I became really motivated when I read God’s words of promises and blessings for man, and I kept going even in the face of CCP persecution. But when I read God’s words saying we were service-doers who would be tossed into the bottomless pit, I began to complain and blame God, and even thought about betraying and abandoning God. How was I any kind of true believer? What I gave, what I sacrificed and expended was all tainted with my motives and impurities. It was to gain blessings, it was trying to cheat God, to make a deal with God. I was so selfish and despicable. I’d enjoyed so much of God’s grace and blessings, the sustenance and watering of His words, but I wanted to betray Him the moment I didn’t see blessings in it for me. I was totally lacking any conscience or reason. This thought left me full of remorse and self-reproach. I was the offspring of the great red dragon. I belonged to Satan and was not of God’s house, and even my faith was motivated by being blessed. God is holy and righteous, and His disposition tolerates no offense. Going by my behavior and attitude toward God, I wasn’t even worthy of being a service-doer. I should have been cursed and sent to hell by God long ago. God wasn’t punishing me, but was allowing me to live with the very breath so that I had a chance to hear His utterances, accept His sustenance for life, and do service for God, the Most High. This was an extraordinary exaltation, and I should give thanks to God. What right did I have to complain? I knew I had to render service for God well!
In late November, we received more of God’s new words. God says, “After I return to Zion, those on earth will continue to praise Me as in the past. Those loyal service-doers will wait as ever to render service to Me, but their function will have come to an end. The best they can do is to contemplate the circumstances of My presence on earth. At that time, I will begin to bring disaster down onto those who will suffer calamity; yet everyone believes that I am a righteous God. I will certainly not punish those loyal service-doers, but only let them receive My grace. For I have said that I will punish all evil-doers, and that those who perform good deeds will receive the material enjoyment that I bestow, demonstrating that I am the God of righteousness and faithfulness Himself” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 120). I saw that God hadn’t abandoned us at all, and He wasn’t punishing us because we were the great red dragon’s offspring. God was still allowing us to be devoted service-doers for Him and praise Him on earth. This gave me a warm feeling, and I was really energized. I really felt that being able to do service for God was being exalted by Him, and it was a blessing. Over that period of time, we sang the hymn “It’s Our Good Fortune to Render Service to God” in every gathering: “Only through the revelation and judgment of God’s words do we see how deeply corrupted we are. Filled with the intent and desire to be blessed, how are we worthy to live before God? We are unfit to enter the heavenly kingdom; to render service to God is already His exaltation. Oh! By the grace of God we render service, and to render service is our good fortune. Whether through fortune or disaster, I wish only to do service to the end. Today, we can render service to God, and we feel so unworthy. Whatever our prospect, fate and outcome, we’ll follow God to the end. God uses His words to purify us, to recover our conscience and reason. Oh! We’re willing to work like beasts of burden for God and submit to His orchestrations and arrangements. With all our hearts, we’ll render service to God all our lives, and will forever praise God’s righteous disposition” (Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs).
Once we were willing to do service for God, Almighty God uttered new words. This was February 20, 1992. He elevated us to be people of the kingdom and brought the trial of the service-doers to a close. God’s words say, “The situation now is not what it once was, and My work has entered on a new starting point. That being so, there will be a new approach: All those who see My word and accept it as their very life are people in My kingdom, and being in My kingdom, they are people of My kingdom. Because they accept the guidance of My words, even though they are referred to as My people, this title is in no way secondary to being called My ‘sons’” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God’s Words to the Entire Universe, Chapter 1). Seeing that God had turned service-doers into His people of the Age of Kingdom, I felt happiness mixed with regret and self-reproach. I regretted that I’d been negative, weak, and devoid of hope during the trial of the service-doers, and had even complained to God, misunderstanding and blaming Him. I’d been unwilling to be His service-doer. I totally lacked devotion and obedience to God. This left me feeling really regretful and in God’s debt. I was happy that as the great red dragon’s offspring, so rebellious and corrupt, just because we didn’t give up through the trial, God elevated us to be people of the kingdom, to be members of His house. I could feel God’s great love for us, and gratitude and praise for God welled up in my heart.
After going through the trial of the service-doers, I saw the incredible wisdom in God’s work. He judges, chastises, and even curses people with His words, and although they’re harsh, leaving us in pain and feeling distressed, it’s all to purify and transform us. Though I’d been refined through God’s words, I’d seen His righteous disposition. He’s disgusted by our motives and impurities, and He’s disgusted by faith motivated by blessings. After this experience, my perspective on faith changed a bit. I stopped single-mindedly pursuing blessings and entry into the kingdom of heaven, but felt that to be a service-doer rendering service for the Creator is to be exalted by God, and it is a blessing for me. It makes me feel proud and honored!