12. Freed From Jealousy’s Bonds
By Joylene, the Philippines
In January 2018, I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days, and before long I was given a duty in the church as the lead singer in music videos for hymns. At the start, many brothers and sisters noticed me, saying I sang nicely, and wherever I went, they recognized me. This made me happy. A few months later, I was elected as church leader. There were many newcomers to water, and much gospel work to follow up on. To better handle the newcomers’ problems, I often watched gospel movies to equip myself with the truth about knowing God’s work, and every time the newcomers had certain notions or encountered problems they didn’t understand, I was able to actively fellowship with them and resolve their issues. My brothers and sisters often praised me for my good caliber and understanding. I was very happy to earn their approval. However, I was never very effective in gospel work. At that time Sister Claire was transferred to our church to preach the gospel. She quickly threw herself into her work, she was able to fellowship and take the initiative to resolve any problems others had in their duties, and she also actively fellowshiped in gatherings. I should have been happy when I saw that Claire was so responsible in her duty, but for reasons I didn’t know, I didn’t like her. Every time she fellowshiped with the brothers and sisters, I didn’t even want to see her. Especially when I heard them say “Claire is so good, she could be a gospel deacon,” I was even more uncomfortable. I thought, “Before Claire came to our church, many of the brothers and sisters all praised me for my good caliber, understanding, and watering of newcomers, and they all looked up to me, but now they all think she is the best and they look up to her. Now who will look up to me?” From that time, I started to be jealous of Claire, and I worried she could take my place in our brothers’ and sisters’ hearts.
After that, I saw that Claire often called to ask about newcomers’ states, and that many newcomers also sought her to resolve problems. One time, a sister I watered had encountered difficulties in gospel work and asked my opinion. After I fellowshiped with her, she went to seek out Claire. When I learned she went to Claire, it made me sad. I thought to myself, “Maybe she doesn’t take my suggestions seriously and must think Claire is better than me, and doesn’t look up to me anymore. Since I’m so bad with gospel work, I have to work hard to make up for my deficiencies. Then I won’t be worse than Claire, and in the future, if the brothers and sisters have problems, they will come to me instead of her.” In the days that followed, I quietly started to compete with Claire. I saw that Claire ate dinner late every day because she was busy with her duty, and she sometimes worked through the night. So I also tried to stay up late for my duty to let the brothers and sisters see I was also responsible and no worse than her. Later, the church held an election for a gospel deacon. Weighing up every aspect, Claire was the best for this duty, but I didn’t want to choose her. I thought that she was more capable than me and that if she became a gospel deacon, everyone’s attention would gradually shift to her. But considering that church leaders can’t do all the work alone and need deacons to take on a portion of the work, I thought to myself, “Should I choose her? If I choose her, the brothers and sisters will definitely flock to her and I will be cast aside.” But I had to admit Claire had very high caliber, and she could handle the work of a gospel deacon. I considered it for a long time, and finally reluctantly chose her.
On one occasion, the church was seeking a sister with good Filipino and English to play a role in a music video. Claire’s Filipino and English were both good, and in the end, the brothers and sisters selected her. I was very frustrated, “My Filipino and English are also good, so why did the brothers and sisters choose her instead of me?” I was very jealous of her, and I also felt some hatred for her in my heart. Just at that time, because Claire had revealed a somewhat arrogant disposition, our leaders were investigating how she performed her duties, and they asked me to write an evaluation of her. I was very happy, and I wanted to write more about her deficiencies, so our leaders would move her to other duties and I wouldn’t have to perform duties with her anymore. Though I didn’t do this in the end, I still wanted her to leave. When I thought of how the brothers and sisters all sought her out to seek answers and how they no longer looked up to me, I felt aggrieved and miserable. Even during our duties together, I didn’t want to look at her. I was filled with jealousy, and corrupt dispositions really took hold of my heart at that time.
After that, I couldn’t feel the work and guidance of the Holy Spirit in my duties. When I encountered some problems, I couldn’t understand their essence and I didn’t know how to resolve them. I was also ineffective in my duties. I didn’t realize at all that my negative state was already impacting my duties. That was until I saw these words of God at a gathering, “To be a church leader is not merely to learn to use the truth to resolve problems, but also to discover and cultivate people of talent, whom you absolutely must not envy or suppress. Practicing in this way is beneficial to the work of the church. If you can cultivate a few pursuers of the truth to cooperate well with you in all the work you do, and in the end, all of you have experiential testimonies, then you will be a qualified leader. If you grow able to act in all things according to the principles, you will then be living up to your loyalty. There are some who are always afraid that others are better than they and higher than they, that others will be esteemed while they are neglected. This leads them to attack and exclude others. Is this not a case of being jealous of people more capable than themselves? Is such behavior not selfish and contemptible? What kind of disposition is this? It is malicious! Thinking only about one’s own interests, satisfying only one’s own desires, showing no consideration for others or the interests of God’s house—people like this have a bad disposition, and God has no love for them. If you are truly capable of being considerate of God’s will, then you will be able to treat other people fairly. If you recommend a good person and let them undergo training and perform a duty, thereby adding a person of talent to God’s house, will your work not then be easier to do? Will you not then have lived up to your loyalty in this duty? This is a good deed before God; it is the minimum of conscience and sense of which one who is a leader should be possessed” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Freedom and Liberation Can Be Gained Only by Casting Off One’s Corrupt Disposition). After reading God’s word, I realized that I performed my duty for reputation and status, to make people look up to and adore me. When Claire came to the church and I saw that she could fellowship on the truth and solve problems, and that others would seek her out for fellowship instead of me, I became jealous and feared Claire would take my place, so I began to compete with her at every turn, exerting great effort to make up for my shortcomings in my attempts to surpass her. When the church needed to elect a gospel deacon, I could clearly see that Claire could take on this work, but I feared she would steal my status, so I didn’t want to choose her, and I hated and despised her in my heart. I was happy when I saw her reveal corruption, and bore malicious intention when it came time to write her evaluation. I wanted to write all about her shortcomings and have her sent away, so that I wouldn’t have to be afraid of the brothers and sisters looking up to her. Through the revelations in God’s word, I realized that I was jealous of her ability and couldn’t bear her being better than me, and what I exposed was a vicious disposition. Outwardly, I was actively performing my duty, but in my heart, I didn’t consider the work of the church whatsoever. Claire was good at the gospel work, and I should have partnered with her to make the gospel work more effective. However, I only thought of how to be better than her, how to get her to leave, and how to protect my own status. God examines our hearts and our attitudes toward our duties. I performed my duty without fear of God, and I only cared about pursuing name, gain, and status. God detests and is disgusted by this behavior.
Later, I read another passage of God’s word: “In anything that involves reputation, status, or which can give them exposure—when people hear that the house of God plans to nurture various kinds of talent, for example—everyone’s heart leaps in anticipation, and each of you always wants to make a name for yourself and be recognized. Everyone wants to fight for status and reputation; and they are ashamed of this, but they feel bad if they don’t. They feel jealousy and hatred when they see someone stand out, and become resentful, and feel that this is unfair, thinking, ‘Why can’t I stand out? Why do other people always get the glory? Why is it never my turn?’ And after they feel resentment, they try to repress it, but they cannot. They pray to God and feel better for a while, but when they encounter this sort of situation again, they still cannot overcome it. Does this not display an immature stature? When people are plunged into such states, have they not fallen into Satan’s trap? These are the shackles of Satan’s corrupt nature that bind humans” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Freedom and Liberation Can Be Gained Only by Casting Off One’s Corrupt Disposition). God’s word revealed my state. I was jealous of my sister because I had an intense desire for name and status, and because I wanted to stand out from the crowd and have a place in people’s hearts. I remembered, in college, to gain praise and admiration from others, I competed with my classmates, and as long as there was a possibility of standing out, it didn’t matter if I would hurt them. After I believed in God, I once again engaged in the same kind of pursuit within the church. When I saw that Claire was better than me, I wanted very much to surpass her because I wanted to get more people’s praise and ambitiously hoped to be admired and adored by people, which showed how arrogant I was. I was always pursuing reputation and status, so I could not get the work of the Holy Spirit in my duties, and was falling into darkness. These were the shackles of Satan’s corrupt nature that bound and harmed me. Later, I saw another passage of God’s word that helped me understand a little of the essence and consequences of pursuing name, gain, and status. God says, “Some people believe in God but do not pursue the truth. They always live by the flesh, clinging always to carnal pleasures, always sating their own selfish desires. No matter how many years such people believe in God, they will never enter the reality of the truth. This is the mark of having brought dishonor to God. You say, ‘I haven’t done anything to resist God; how have I brought God dishonor?’ All your ideas and thoughts are evil. In the intentions, goals, and motives behind your actions, and in the consequences of what you do—in every way you are satisfying Satan, being its laughingstock, and letting it get something on you. You have borne none of the witness that a Christian should. You are someone who belongs to Satan. You dishonor God’s name in all things and do not possess genuine testimony. Will God remember the things you have done? In the end, what conclusion will God draw about your acts and the duty you performed? Does something not have to come of that, some sort of statement? In the Bible, the Lord Jesus says, ‘Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and in Your name have cast out devils, and in Your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity’ (Matthew 7:22–23). Why did the Lord Jesus say this? Why did so many of those who preached, cast out demons, and performed many miracles in the name of the Lord become evildoers? It was because they did not accept the truth expressed by the Lord Jesus, did not keep the commandments of the Lord Jesus, and had no love for the truth in their hearts. They only wanted to exchange their work, suffering, and sacrifices for the Lord for the blessings of the kingdom of heaven. This is transacting with God, and it is using God and deceiving God, so the Lord Jesus loathed them, hated them, and condemned them as evildoers. Today, people are accepting the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, but some still pursue reputation and status, always want to stand out, always want to be leaders and workers and gain reputation and status. Although they all say they believe in God and follow God, and they forsake and expend for God, they perform their duties to gain fame, interests, and status, and they always have personal schemes. They are not obedient or loyal to God, they act arbitrarily without reflecting on themselves at all, and so they have become evildoers. God hates such evildoers, and God does not save them” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Freedom and Liberation Can Be Gained Only by Casting Off One’s Corrupt Disposition). After reading God’s words, I felt ashamed. My ideas, thoughts, intentions, and motivations weren’t to satisfy God at all, they were entirely to make others admire me. When I saw my brothers and sisters pay more attention to Claire than me, I felt jealous, I competed with her, I wanted to surpass her, and even hoped she would be transferred to another church. As a church leader, I wasn’t focused on cultivating people, or on doing church work well; instead, I was neglecting my duty, jealous of talent, and vying for name and gain. I was the same as the evildoers condemned by the Lord Jesus. The effort they expended was to maintain their reputation and status and to make others look up to them. I was the same. The effort I expended was also to earn praise from my brothers and sisters and to earn reputation and status. While I was busy showing off, my intentions in my duty were no longer correct, which made it impossible for me to gain the work of the Holy Spirit. There was no light in my fellowship, and I couldn’t solve problems for the brothers and sisters. Now I understood that pursuing name, gain and status is really an evil thing, and it is something that God despises. The Lord Jesus said, “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and in Your name have cast out devils, and in Your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:22–23). God hates those who outwardly seem to travel and suffer for God, but who actually only work to satisfy their own intentions and motives. What they do is for their own benefit. It isn’t to testify or satisfy God at all. This is the reason why they have done so much work, yet God doesn’t recognize it. I saw myself doing the same. I was outwardly performing my duties, but I didn’t seek the truth or try to reflect and know myself, and I didn’t try to learn from the strengths of my partners. Instead, I took the wrong path of pursuing reputation and status, so I was no different from those evildoers. I thought about how Paul expended and suffered so much purely to make others look up to him and worship him. He often exalted himself and showed off how much he had suffered and how much he had run around, saying that he was “no less than the greatest of disciples,” even to the point of saying he was Christ as he lived. His work and speech never paid testimony to God, it was testifying himself. This has led to people looking up to him and adoring him still two thousand years later, even to the point of treating his words as the words of God. In the end, God punished him for offending His disposition. If I kept pursuing name, gain, and status, and for others to look up to me in my duties, I would unconsciously become like Paul, walk a wrong path, become an evil person, and be rejected and eliminated by God. Once I realized this, I prayed to God: “Almighty God, I don’t want to let my corrupt disposition get in the way of my duty, I want to resolve my corrupt disposition and work well with my sister to fulfill my duty. Please guide me so that I can solve this problem.”
One time, I read a passage of God’s word: “Do not always do things for your own sake and do not constantly consider your own interests; do not consider the interests of man, and give no thought to your own pride, reputation, or status. You must first give thought to the interests of God’s house, and make them your first priority. You should be considerate of God’s will and begin by contemplating whether or not you have been impure in the fulfillment of your duty, whether you have been loyal, fulfilled your responsibilities, and given your all, as well as whether or not you have wholeheartedly given thought to your duty and the work of the church. You must give consideration to these things. Think about them frequently and figure them out, and it will be easier for you to perform your duty well. If you are of poor caliber, if your experience is shallow, or if you are not proficient in your professional work, then there may be some mistakes or deficiencies in your work, and the results may not be very good—but you will have put forth your best effort. In everything you do, you do not satisfy your own selfish desires or preferences. Instead, you give constant consideration to the work of the church and the interests of the house of God. Although you may not perform your duty well, your heart has been rectified; if, on top of this, you can seek the truth to solve the problems in your duty, then your duty will be up to standard and you will be able to enter into the reality of the truth. This is bearing testimony” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Freedom and Liberation Can Be Gained Only by Casting Off One’s Corrupt Disposition). From God’s word I found a path of practice. We shouldn’t do our duties before others, so that they praise and admire us. We should instead put aside our reputation and status, and consider the interests of the church, and put our duties first. This accords with God’s will. Claire did gospel work well and was responsible in her duties. I shouldn’t have been jealous of her. I should learn from her strengths to make up for my shortcomings and cooperate with her to fulfill our duty properly.
Once, I wanted to preach the gospel to my cousin, but he had many religious notions. I worried my fellowship wouldn’t be clear, and that I wouldn’t be able to solve his problem, so I wanted to find a sister to partner with me. I thought of how good Claire was at preaching the gospel, and that it would be suitable to find her, but I hesitated. I thought, “If I take her as my partner, doesn’t that prove I’m inferior to her? That I can’t testify God’s work or resolve religious notions? If my brothers and sisters found out, would they look down on me? If Claire resolved my cousin’s notions, my brothers and sisters would definitely look up to her even more.” When I had that thought, I realized that I was competing with her again for name and gain, so I silently prayed to God. Later, I recalled a passage of God’s word: “You must learn to let go and set aside these things, to recommend others, and to allow them to stand out. Do not struggle or rush to take advantage the moment you encounter an opportunity to stand out or obtain glory. You must be able to put aside these things, but must not delay the performing of your duty. Be a person who works in quiet obscurity, and who does not show off to others while you loyally perform your duty. The more you let go of your prestige and status, and the more you let go of your own interests, the more peaceful you will become, the more light there will be within your heart, and the more your state will improve. The more you struggle and compete, the darker your state will be. If you do not believe it, try it and see!” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Freedom and Liberation Can Be Gained Only by Casting Off One’s Corrupt Disposition). God’s word enlightened me. I had to put down my pride and status, and take the initiative to cooperate with her. Practicing like this would benefit my duties. If I remained jealous of her and continued to compete with her for name and gain, my state would only become more negative and dark, because pursuing name and status is the path of Satan. I therefore prayed to God, “Almighty God, I have a corrupt disposition. I am jealous of my sister, and compete with her for name and gain, but I am willing to forsake the flesh and cast aside myself to partner with the sister so that I may practice the truth to satisfy You.” After I prayed, I felt more relaxed, and went to Claire to explain the situation. She agreed immediately and discussed with me how we should partner and testify God’s work in the last days to my cousin. I thought of how I had been jealous of Claire because of reputation and status, and how I had pretended to get along with her, but she never knew my real thoughts. So, I decided to open up to Claire. After dinner, I came clean with Claire, and fellowshiped about all the corruption I exposed and my realizations from self-reflection in that time. After hearing this, she said, “It’s fine. I’m also very corrupt in this regard. Opening up like this is very good.” After I opened up, I felt quite relieved. Now I can harmoniously perform my duties with Claire, and I feel a deep sense of security and release. Thanks be to Almighty God!