13. I Know the Way to Resolve Corrupt Disposition
By Ramses, Mexico
I grew up in a Catholic family, and I believed in the Lord along with them since I was little. As I grew up, I came to realize that some believers just went to church on Sundays, but still regularly smoked, drank, and partied just like the unbelievers. I felt like they weren’t following the Lord’s requirements, that they were sinning. I often lived in sin, too. I lied, lost my temper, and got jealous. Even if I did confess my sins to the priest, I just couldn’t escape that cycle of sinning, confessing, and sinning again. I felt totally at a loss. So I decided to leave our church and join another church to seek the path to escaping sin.
Later on, while working, I met Brother Raul, a longtime Christian. He said he’d been to many different churches, but he’d stopped attending because the pastors’ sermons weren’t insightful, and they were always asking for offerings. They were only interested in money, and when the brothers and sisters wanted their help with some sort of problem, they would just say, “Go ask the preacher first, and let me know if you still can’t figure it out.” I was really confused by that. Why would things like that happen in a church? After that I went to five or six other Christian churches and saw they were exactly like what Brother Raul had described. I remembered in one service some believers were playing a game of chess and holding a banquet. I saw the churches didn’t have the Holy Spirit’s work, and seemed more like entertainment venues for religious people. I didn’t want to go to church anymore. But I recalled that the Bible says, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25). So I felt really lost. Where should I go to attend assembly? There are over 1,000 Christian denominations, so finding one that truly had God’s guidance and the Holy Spirit’s work would be extremely hard. Brother Raul didn’t know where to go, either. So we decided to leave our congregation and use our free time to study the Bible. We read the Bible a lot together and shared our understanding, helping and supporting each other.
Several years went by that way, and although I was praying and reading the Scripture every day, what really frustrated me was that when something I didn’t like happened, or my interests were compromised, I still couldn’t control my anger. Sometimes when working together with Brother Raul, if he asked me to do something and I didn’t entirely understand him, he’d speak to me rather harshly, and I’d get really mad. I was thinking it was clear that he didn’t communicate well, but he was yelling at me, treating me like an idiot, and I didn’t have to take that. So I’d yell right back at him. We’d get really amped up and couldn’t rein in our anger whatsoever. In the end, all we could do was storm off. I wasn’t willing to listen to him or explain things to him. But after calming down, we would acknowledge our wrongs, and apologize to each other. I knew I hadn’t freed myself from sin, that I’d just keep sinning and rebelling against God, so I prayed and confessed to God, and I wanted to rein myself in. But no matter how hard I tried, I’d just keep messing up, sinning by day, confessing by night. I’d sunken into misery and guilt within this relentless cycle, and I was so disappointed in myself. I was asking myself why I couldn’t stop sinning. Brother Raul and I had talked about that plenty of times and we knew we just couldn’t help ourselves, that our self-righteousness, arrogance, and self-importance were glaring, and that we hadn’t escaped the bondage of sin.
Once, when we were studying the Bible together, we saw God’s words: “You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45). “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). These verses gave us pause for thought. The Lord told us we must be holy, yet we were living in sin. How could we achieve holiness? We didn’t have a path. I asked a pastor about it, and he told me, “As long as we’re living in the flesh, we’ll never achieve holiness. But the Lord Jesus redeemed us of our sins. Our sins have already been forgiven, and the Lord doesn’t see us as being of sin. When He comes down on a cloud, He’ll take us up into the kingdom of heaven.” This was rather comforting for me to hear, but I was still confused: The Lord is holy, yet right now we’re always living in sin. Will He really take us into His kingdom when He returns?
One day in July 2019, Brother Raul and I were having one of our regular Bible studies. We did a web search for “the Bible,” and found a movie by The Church of Almighty God, called Caught the Last Train. After watching the movie, I was really surprised. It was a great movie and the truths fellowshiped in it were really enlightening, especially the part where a sister says, “The Lord Jesus did the work of redemption. He simply forgave people’s sins, but He didn’t resolve our sinful nature, so we keep sinning and resisting God. Looking at those who believe in the Lord, from clergy down to regular believers, which of them can claim to be free from sin? Not a single one. Without a single exception, humans are bound and constrained by sin. We are full of arrogance, cunning, and greed. We can’t help but sin even when we don’t want to. Some may seem humble and gentle, but their hearts are full of corruption. We’re not the people who do God’s will, and we are not qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven. That’s why God needs to continue His work to save humankind in the last days according to His plan, to do a stage of judgment work on the foundation of the forgiveness of sins to cleanse and fully save us so we can escape sin and become pure, then enter God’s kingdom and gain eternal life.” Everything said in the movie was true. I was really excited, because I’d never heard anything like it. How were they able to share so much novel enlightenment? Where did they get it from? I saw they were reading a book called The Word Appears in the Flesh. Its content was full of power and authority, and things I’d never heard before. I really wanted to look into it further. After the movie, we reached out to The Church of Almighty God and started attending online gatherings, reading and fellowshiping Almighty God’s words.
One day, I read this in Almighty God’s words: “Before man was redeemed, many of Satan’s poisons had already been planted within him and, after thousands of years of being corrupted by Satan, he has within him an established nature that resists God. Therefore, when man has been redeemed, it is nothing more than a case of redemption in which man is bought at a high price, but the poisonous nature within him has not been eliminated. Man that is so defiled must undergo a change before becoming worthy to serve God. By means of this work of judgment and chastisement, man will fully come to know the filthy and corrupt essence within his own self, and he will be able to change completely and become clean. Only in this way can man become worthy to return before the throne of God. All the work done this day is so that man can be made clean and be changed; through judgment and chastisement by the word, as well as through refinement, man can purge away his corruption and be made pure. Rather than deeming this stage of work to be that of salvation, it would be more apt to say it is the work of purification. In truth, this stage is that of conquest as well as the second stage in the work of salvation” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)). “Christ of the last days uses a variety of truths to teach man, to expose the substance of man, and to dissect the words and deeds of man. These words comprise various truths, such as man’s duty, how man should obey God, how man should be loyal to God, how man ought to live out normal humanity, as well as the wisdom and the disposition of God, and so on. These words are all directed at the substance of man and his corrupt disposition. In particular, the words that expose how man spurns God are spoken in regard to how man is an embodiment of Satan, and an enemy force against God. In undertaking His work of judgment, God does not simply make clear the nature of man with a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes over the long term. All these different methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth of which man is utterly bereft. Only methods such as these can be called judgment; only through judgment of this kind can man be subdued and thoroughly convinced about God, and moreover gain true knowledge of God. What the work of judgment brings about is man’s understanding of the true face of God and the truth about his own rebelliousness. The work of judgment allows man to gain much understanding of the will of God, of the purpose of God’s work, and of the mysteries that are incomprehensible to him. It also allows man to recognize and know his corrupt essence and the roots of his corruption, as well as to discover the ugliness of man. These effects are all brought about by the work of judgment, for the essence of this work is actually the work of opening up the truth, the way, and the life of God to all those who have faith in Him. This work is the work of judgment done by God” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth). After reading God’s words, I saw that the Lord Jesus had done the work of redemption, which was just redeeming us so we were no longer of sin, but humankind’s sinful nature wasn’t removed. That’s why we keep lying and sinning, and revealing corruption. Thinking about it, I realized that it was true. Every time I lost my cool, I’d regret it later. But whenever something I didn’t like happened, I still couldn’t help but lose my temper. I realized that if I didn’t resolve my sinful nature, I’d never be free from sin, and then I’d be against God in thought, word, and deed. From Almighty God’s words, I also saw that in the last days God has expressed the truth to expose and cleanse humankind. Full of curiosity about God’s work of judgment, I later read much more of Almighty God’s words, and saw that He reveals everything about humankind’s sinful nature. He shows us how Satan corrupts people, how we can escape sin and be cleansed, who can enter the kingdom of heaven, who will be punished, and the outcomes of different types of people. God’s words judging and exposing humankind contain His love and salvation. No matter how harsh He sounds, it’s all so we can understand the truth, so we can clearly see the truth of how Satan has corrupted us, genuinely despise ourselves, then repent and change. Upon becoming aware of all this, I was filled with joy, and I was longing for more of Almighty God’s words. I was also greatly enjoying attending gatherings and fellowshiping on God’s words with brothers and sisters, and hoped that I could experience the judgment and chastisement of God’s words so that I could resolve my corrupt disposition.
Later, I was elected as a church leader. Once, a sister sought me out for some help with problems she’d encountered while fulfilling her duty, and I gave her some advice on what she should do. After she and another sister heard my advice, they agreed to act accordingly. At this time, a leader called us and the two sisters asked me to share my ideas with her, too. After I’d explained it, the leader said nothing, and just gave us a document to review, then told us how we should do it. I was a little annoyed. I felt like she hadn’t really understood what I’d meant. I’d already discussed with those two sisters what to do, and spent so much time thinking over how the duty should be carried out. Was all my hard work really for nothing? I impatiently said to the leader, “Did you understand what I said? We’ve already agreed on this and we have a mutual understanding.” The leader told me, “The solution you’ve suggested is okay, but it won’t be very efficient.” Then she told us about a faster and simpler way to get that duty done. I indeed thought her solution was a good one, but I wasn’t all that pleased. I was wondering what the two sisters would think of me if the approach I’d spent so much time thinking of wasn’t used. Would they think I was really useless and couldn’t even arrange a little work? That would be so embarrassing. I felt worse the more I thought about it. Later, the leader asked me to do the duty with those two sisters. I was really resistant to it and didn’t speak to her very kindly. Later, I did complete the duty, yet throughout the process I’d shown corruption in it that left me feeling unsettled and guilty. Afterward, I thought to myself that the leader was taking responsibility and offering some good suggestions to improve our work efficiency. This was good for the work of the church. But I couldn’t accept it, and even got angry about it. I asked myself why I couldn’t accept suitable opinions and they even made me angry. I needed to find the root of it, so I could be free of this state as soon as possible.
That evening, I searched the church website for passages in God’s words about anger, and I found this one: “Once a man has status, he will often find it difficult to control his mood, and so he will enjoy seizing upon opportunities to express his dissatisfaction and vent his emotions; he will often flare up in rage for no apparent reason, so as to reveal his ability and let others know that his status and identity are different from those of ordinary people. Of course, corrupt people without any status also often lose control. Their anger is frequently caused by damage to their private interests. In order to protect their own status and dignity, they will frequently vent their emotions and reveal their arrogant nature. Man will flare up in anger and vent his emotions in order to defend and uphold the existence of sin, and these actions are the ways in which man expresses his dissatisfaction; they brim with impurities, with schemes and intrigues, with man’s corruption and evil, and more than anything else, they brim with man’s wild ambitions and desires” (The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique II). After reading God’s words I saw that there’s a reason humans tend to flare up. When our interests or reputation are compromised, we often vent our dissatisfaction, show our tempers, and lack normal human reason. What we show are satanic dispositions, negative things. Reflecting on myself in light of God’s words, I saw that when my ideas were rejected, I became very resistant. I clearly knew the leader’s approach was better than mine, that it would be quick and simple, but I still felt angry and worried that the others would think I was really useless. So I spoke unkindly to the leader. At that point I saw I was really arrogant, and was too focused on my name and status. I had always felt like my view was great, and I didn’t want to listen to others. I didn’t consider what would benefit the work of the church whatsoever. I saw I was arrogant beyond all reason, and even had so much trouble accepting sound advice. Upon realizing that, I was filled with remorse. I prayed to God to repent, asking Him to guide me to know myself better and get rid of my arrogance.
Later, I read another passage of God’s words: “There are many kinds of corrupt dispositions that are included within the disposition of Satan, but the one that is most obvious and that stands out the most is an arrogant disposition. Arrogance is the root of man’s corrupt disposition. The more arrogant people are, the more irrational they are, and the more irrational they are, the more liable they are to resist God. How serious is this problem? Not only do people with arrogant dispositions consider everyone else beneath them, but, worst of all, they are even condescending toward God, and they have no fear of God within their hearts. Even though people might appear to believe in God and follow Him, they do not treat Him as God at all. They always feel that they possess the truth and think the world of themselves. This is the essence and root of the arrogant disposition, and it comes from Satan. Therefore, the problem of arrogance must be resolved. Feeling that one is better than others—that is a trivial matter. The critical issue is that one’s arrogant disposition prevents one from submitting to God, His rule, and His arrangements; such a person always feels inclined to compete with God for power over others. This sort of person does not revere God in the slightest, to say nothing of loving God or submitting to Him. People who are arrogant and conceited, especially those who are so arrogant as to have lost their sense, cannot submit to God in their belief in Him, and even exalt and bear testimony for themselves. Such people resist God the most and have absolutely no fear of God. If people wish to get to where they revere God, then they must first resolve their arrogant dispositions. The more thoroughly you resolve your arrogant disposition, the more reverence you will have for God, and only then can you submit to Him and obtain the truth and know Him. Only those who gain the truth are genuinely human” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three). I gave this passage some thought, and realized the reason that I couldn’t handle others’ suggestions appropriately was because I had an arrogant disposition. I wanted other people to listen to me, but I wasn’t willing to accept or hear others’ advice. When I was working with Brother Raul, that’s how I was. Since I’d been so arrogant, I wasn’t willing to follow his instructions, much less could I stand him speaking to me with such a harsh tone. And in my interactions with my wife or others in daily life, I always thought I had the best ideas, that I was right, so they should listen to me and do what I said. After gaining my faith and taking on a duty with brothers and sisters, I continued living in arrogance and didn’t want to accept other people’s suggestions. Even when I knew my approach wasn’t great, I still wanted to do things my way and have others listen to me. I was so arrogant I had no rationality to speak of. Due to my arrogant nature, I couldn’t look at things rationally. I felt like I was always right, but oftentimes other people actually did have better ideas and a more comprehensive view than mine. For example, always thinking I was in the right, oftentimes I’d have my wife do things according to my plan, but it turned out badly. This time it was the same. The approach the leader suggested was simple, saved time, and could get better results, while the approach I had fellowshiped with the two sisters on was complicated and also time-consuming. The facts showed me I had no reason to be so arrogant. I should be down-to-earth, low-key, and know my place. If I kept living in such arrogance, I’d end up like the archangel, having no regard for God, resisting Him and offending His disposition, for which He’d punish and curse me. Upon realizing this, I quickly said a prayer to God: “God, I don’t want to live by my arrogant disposition anymore. I want to live out normal humanity, listen to the brothers’ and sisters’ suggestions in my duty, work well with them, and do my duty to satisfy Your will.”
I read a couple more passages of God’s words after that. “An arrogant nature makes you willful. If you have an arrogant nature, you will behave arbitrarily and rashly, heedless of what anyone says. How, then, do you resolve your arbitrariness and rashness? Say, for example, something happens to you and you have your own ideas and plans; before determining what to do, you must seek the truth and you should at least fellowship with everyone about what you think and believe about this, asking everyone to tell you if your thoughts and plans are correct and in line with the truth, asking that everyone make final checks for you. This is the best method of solving arbitrariness and rashness. First, you can shed light on your view and seek the truth; this is the first step you put into practice in order to solve arbitrariness and rashness. The second step happens when other people voice dissenting opinions—what practice can you put in place to keep from being arbitrary and rash? You must first have an attitude of humility, set aside what you believe to be right, and let everyone have fellowship. Even if you believe your way to be correct, you should not keep insisting on it. That is a kind of step forward; it shows an attitude of seeking the truth, of denying yourself, and of satisfying God’s will. Once you have this attitude, at the same time that you do not adhere to your own opinion, you should pray, seek the truth from God, and then look for a basis in God’s words—determine how to act on the basis of God’s words. This is the most suitable and accurate practice” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three). “The hardest problem for corrupt mankind to fix is that of making the same old mistakes. To prevent this, people must first be aware that they have yet to obtain the truth, that there has not been a change in their life disposition, and that although they believe in God, they still live under the dominion of Satan, and have not been saved; they are liable to betray God and stray from God at any time. If they have this sense of crisis in their hearts—if, as people often say, they are prepared for war in times of peace—then they will be able to hold themselves in check somewhat, and when something does happen to them, they will pray to God and depend on God, and will be able to avoid making the same old mistakes. You must see clearly that your disposition has not changed, that the nature of betrayal to God is still deeply rooted in you and has not been expelled, that you are still at risk of betraying God, and that you face the constant possibility of suffering perdition and being destroyed. This is real, so you must be careful. There are three most important points to keep in mind: Number one, you still don’t know God; number two, there have not been any changes in your disposition; and number three, you have yet to live out the true image of man. These three things are in line with the facts, they are real, and you must be clear about them, you must be self-aware. If you have the will to fix this problem, then you should choose your own motto: for example, ‘I am the dung upon the ground,’ or ‘I am the devil,’ or ‘I often fall into my old ways,’ or ‘I’m always in danger.’ Any one of these is fit to serve as your personal motto, and it will help if you remind yourself of it at all times. Keep repeating it to yourself, reflect on it, and you may well be able to make fewer mistakes, or stop making mistakes—but what’s most important is to spend more time reading God’s words and understanding the truth, knowing your own nature and escaping your corrupt disposition; only then will you be safe” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition). God’s words helped me understand that to resolve my arrogance, I have to learn to cooperate with others, to seek and fellowship. I should share my thoughts with the brothers and sisters in work discussions, and humbly seek others’ opinions. Regardless of whether they’re different from what I suggest, I should put aside what I think is right. I should pray and seek based on what others have said and let God guide and enlighten me to show me what’s right, what’s suitable, and show me my own shortcomings and flaws. Even when I think what I say is right, I can’t cling to my own ideas, I must seek the truth, and seek the will of God. And when I see that someone else has a better, more correct idea than me, I should learn to put myself aside and accept what they say. That’s in line with God’s will and keeps me from making mistakes. On top of that, I wrote out a motto for myself about my arrogant nature: “I’m nothing but dung, and I must not be arrogant. I always put myself in danger with my lack of self-control.” This helped me remember of the disgrace of my arrogant states, and reminded me of the danger and consequences of living in arrogance. After that, I started focusing on practicing God’s words and listening to others’ ideas. When someone offered a different suggestion or opinion from mine, either at home or in a duty with brothers and sisters in the church, I started putting my ego aside. I saw that other people really did have more comprehensive ideas than me, and I learned to accept their ideas from the heart and implement proper suggestions. After putting that into practice, I found that I lost my temper with the brothers and sisters less often and I could listen to and accept what other people had to say. I also felt so much more relaxed than before. I was grateful to God from the bottom of my heart!
Later on, I read another passage of God’s words: “People cannot change their own disposition; they must undergo the judgment and chastisement, and suffering and refinement, of God’s words, or being dealt with, disciplined, and pruned by His words. Only then can they achieve obedience and faithfulness to God, and no longer be perfunctory toward Him. It is under the refinement of God’s words that people’s dispositions change. Only through the exposure, judgment, discipline, and dealing of His words will they no longer dare to act rashly but instead will become steady and composed. The most important point is that they are able to submit to God’s current words, and to His work, even if it is not in line with human notions, they are able to put these notions aside and willingly submit” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. People Whose Dispositions Have Changed Are Those Who Have Entered Into the Reality of God’s Words). Almighty God’s words showed me that we can’t rely on our own strength or perseverance to control or change our dispositions. All that effort at self-control can just change some behaviors, and those changes won’t last very long. If we want to undergo true dispositional change, we have to accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, dealing and pruning, chastening and discipline, as well as trials and refinement. That’s the only way to truly know our satanic nature and clearly see the dangerous consequences of living by our satanic dispositions. Then we can truly hate and forsake ourselves, and achieve genuine repentance and change.
I’m grateful for Almighty God giving me the chance to experience His judgment and chastisement of the last days so I can learn truths, and come to know myself and resolve my corruption. I feel incredibly fortunate. I don’t feel so lost and confused anymore, because Almighty God’s words have revealed the root of our sin, and the manifestations of our various corrupt dispositions. He’s also given us a path to cast off sin and achieve changes in life disposition. Almighty God’s words are rich and plentiful, and give us all we need. They give us answers for all of our questions and difficulties. As long as we read and accept God’s words from the heart, we can understand our corruption and rebelliousness, and find the path to resolving our corrupt disposition. Thanks be to Almighty God!