23. How I Learned to Testify to God
In June of last year, I was selected as the watering deacon, and put in charge for watering those who had just accepted God’s work of the last days. I thought to myself, “I need to do my duty well and repay God’s love.” At first, I had many difficulties with the work: Some brothers and sisters were busy with jobs and didn’t attend gatherings regularly; some were deceived by the slander of the CCP and religious circles and were reluctant to attend gatherings; some were negative and weak due to hindrance by their families and couldn’t perform their duties. I felt a lot of pressure when I thought about these things. To water these brothers and sisters well, so that they could understand the truth and put down roots on the true way, a lot of work had to be done! During that time, I prayed to God, relied on God, and sought truth to resolve their problems and difficulties. After a while, most of them attended gatherings normally, and some of them learned the meaning of fulfilling their duties, so they took up duties to the best of their ability. When I saw these results, I was delighted, I couldn’t help but appreciate myself, thinking, “I must be good at this work. Why else could I achieve such good results?” After that, when I heard brothers and sisters talk about the problems and difficulties they encountered in their duties, I involuntarily started to show off that I was better and more experienced than them.
Once, at a gathering with some sisters who had just started watering newcomers, they mentioned that some newcomers saw the frantic suppression and arrests from the CCP, and felt negative, weak, timid, and afraid. These sisters didn’t know how to fellowship to resolve this. I thought to myself that since I had recently resolved these problems and achieved some results, this was a good chance to tell them how I fellowshiped on the truth to solve these things, and to show them that it was I who understood the truth and was the capable worker. So, I said confidently, “Recently, I watered a few brothers and sisters who were in the same state. I was very anxious at the time, so to water them well, I held many gatherings with them, and read God’s word and fellowshiped on the truth targeted at their state. I had to ride my bike more than 50 kilometers there and back. After watering them for a time, they gained some knowledge of God’s work, omnipotence, and wisdom, they understood the significance of God using the great red dragon as a foil in His work, and they gained confidence in God. They no longer felt constrained by CCP persecution, and even wanted to spread the gospel to testify to God’s work….” As I fellowshiped, the sisters watched me as if they were entranced. I felt a sense of fulfillment, and felt more energized as I spoke. When I finished my fellowship, a sister said excitedly, “With all your experience, you can see problems clearly. I would be totally confused.” Another sister said enviously, “Solving these problems is so easy for you. If you have any more good experience, please fellowship with us, so we can learn from you.” I was delighted when I heard their compliments. Although I said the results of my work were purely due to God’s guidance, and not my own effort, in my heart, I felt that it was I who had suffered and paid a price for these results. At one gathering, a sister felt negative because she didn’t achieve good results in watering the newcomers, and she talked about many difficulties. I thought, “If I talk about having these same difficulties and deficiencies, won’t others think less of me? I’m responsible for her work, so I’ll tell her about my successful experiences, and show her how I fellowshiped on the truth to resolve problems when I faced these different difficulties. That way, I can both resolve her problems and make others think more highly of me.” Once I thought of this, I avoided talking about my weaknesses and deficiencies and instead bragged about how effective I was in my duties to them. I said, “During this period, I watered and supported five brothers and sisters. They did not regularly attend gatherings—some because they had many religious notions, some because they lusted for money, and some because they were weak and negative due to problems at home. I went to them one by one, overcame some difficulties, looked for much of God’s word, and fellowshiped with each of them to solve these problems, until they understood the truth, let go of their notions, regularly attended gatherings, and willingly took up duties. There was one brother, a talented professional, who rarely came to gatherings because he pursued worldly status and fame. I had many difficulties in the process of supporting him, but I relied on God, read God’s word to him, and fellowshiped on God’s will. Having listened to me, this brother understood the value of pursuing the truth for believers in God, was able to see that pursuing reputation and status is empty, and he was willing to pursue the truth and fulfill his duties.” After my fellowship, I saw admiring and adoring looks on my sisters’ faces, and they hastened to write down the passages of God’s word in my fellowship. One sister said emotionally, “You used the truth to resolve their problems, so that they could understand God’s will and are willing to follow God and fulfill their duties. You couldn’t do that if you didn’t possess the realities of the truth.” Another sister said admiringly, “If I faced these problems, I wouldn’t be able to solve them. You have more experience, so you’re better at resolving these issues than us.” It was then that I felt something wasn’t right. Weren’t they worshiping me? After my fellowship, one of the sisters felt a little negative, for she felt her caliber was low, and that she couldn’t use the truth to solve newcomers’ problems. I thought, “Am I talking too much about my successful experience? Am I letting them think that the problems I encounter are simple to me and easy for me to resolve, and making them think highly of me? Those who admire and those who are admired will receive misfortune—is this kind of fellowship really appropriate?” But then I thought, “I’m telling them about my own practical experience, so it should be fine.” At that point, I didn’t continue to reflect on myself, and the matter passed. Later, I met two watering sisters to ask about their work. As soon as I arrived, one said excitedly, “Thank goodness you’re here. We have some brothers and sisters here with problems we don’t know how to solve. Please talk to us about them.” The expectant look in her eyes made me both excited and worried. Excited because she looked up to me, but worried because I wondered whether always talking about how I achieved results in my work had made her worship me. My next thought was, “I always talk about my successes so as to give them a path of practice in performing their duties, which is fellowshiping on the truth to resolve problems. Besides, I only talk about my real experiences, I don’t exaggerate.” So, I continued as before, fellowshiping on my successful experience. They reacted with admiration and envy, and I was delighted.
After that, at every gathering, I talked about how I suffered and paid a price in my duties, how I fellowshiped on the truth to resolve problems, and each one of my successful examples. Gradually, all my brothers and sisters started to worship me, they waited for me to solve all of their problems, and I very much enjoyed the feeling of being looked up to and worshiped. On the way back from gatherings, I recalled my brothers’ and sisters’ expressions of admiration and worship, and I couldn’t help but feel elated. Being admired and looked up to by so many gave me motivation in my duties. But just as I was immersed in the joy of being worshiped, I faced unexpected pruning and being dealt with.
One day, the church leader came to me and said, “I asked the brothers and sisters to evaluate you in this church election, and everyone says you like to show off.” When I heard this, my face instantly went red with shame. I thought, “How could they all say I love to show off? What must the leader think of me? How will I face anyone again?” I scrambled to explain myself, “I admit I am quite arrogant, and sometimes I involuntarily show off, but I don’t show off deliberately. In gatherings, I only speak of my own experience.” My leader saw I didn’t know myself, and said, “You talk about your own experience, but why do the brothers and sisters look up to you and rely on you instead of relying on God and seeking the truth? You say you don’t deliberately show off, but why don’t you talk about your own corruption, deficiencies, negativity, weakness, or your actual inner thoughts? You only talk about the good, not your own corruption or weakness. It gives the impression that you pursue the truth and know how to experience. Isn’t that just exalting yourself and showing off?” I had no answer to what my leader exposed. During gatherings, I had only talked about my successful experience, and had never opened up about my deviations and failures in my duties. I really was showing off. Thinking of how I had shown off in front of so many brothers and sisters, and how they all now had discernment of me, I felt so ashamed and embarrassed that I wanted to melt into the ground. The more I thought, the more miserable I felt, and I couldn’t stop myself from crying. I went on my knees before God and prayed, “God, I don’t want to show off anymore. Please guide me, so that I can reflect and come to know myself.”
Later, I read a passage of God’s words, “Exalting and testifying to themselves, flaunting themselves, trying to make people think highly of them—corrupt mankind is capable of these things. This is how people instinctively react when they are governed by their satanic natures, and it is common to all of corrupt mankind. How do people usually exalt and testify to themselves? How do they achieve this aim? They testify to how much work they have done, how much they have suffered, how much they have expended themselves, and what price they have paid. They use these things as the capital by which they exalt themselves, which gives them a higher, firmer, more secure place in people’s minds, so that more people esteem, admire, respect, and even venerate, idolize, and follow them. To achieve this aim, people do many things that testify to God on the surface, but essentially exalt and testify to themselves. Is acting that way reasonable? They are beyond the purview of rationality. These people have no shame: They unabashedly testify to what they have done for God and how much they have suffered for Him. They even flaunt their gifts, talents, experience, special skills, their clever techniques for conducting themselves, the means they use to toy with people, and so on. Their method of exalting and testifying to themselves is to flaunt themselves and belittle others. They also dissemble and camouflage themselves, hiding their weaknesses, shortcomings, and deficiencies from people so that they only ever see their brilliance. They do not even dare to tell other people when they feel negative; they lack the courage to open up and fellowship with them, and when they do something wrong, they do their utmost to conceal it and cover it up. Never do they mention the harm they have caused to the work of the church in the course of doing their duty. When they have made some minor contribution or achieved some small success, however, they are quick to show it off. They cannot wait to let the whole world know how capable they are, how high their caliber is, how exceptional they are, and how much better they are than normal people. Is this not a way of exalting and testifying to themselves? Is exalting and testifying to oneself something someone with conscience and reason does? It is not. So when people do this, what disposition is usually revealed? Arrogance is one of the chief dispositions revealed, followed by deceitfulness, which involves doing everything possible to make other people hold them in high esteem. Their stories are completely watertight; their words clearly contain motivations and schemes, yet they want to hide the fact that they are showing off. The outcome of what they say is that people are made to feel that they are better than others, that no one is their equal, that everyone else is inferior to them. And is this outcome not achieved via underhanded means? What disposition is behind such means? And are there any elements of wickedness? This is a kind of wicked disposition” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Four). What God’s word revealed pierced my heart. Wasn’t my behavior precisely this showing off? In gatherings, I had only talked about my own suffering and the successful results of my duties. When my brothers and sisters encountered problems they didn’t know how to solve, I didn’t fellowship on the truth, help them understand God’s will and know how to rely on God in their duties. Instead, I testified to my own ability to suffer and solve problems. I always talked about how far I traveled and the price I paid to water people. I never talked about the weakness or deficiencies I exposed when I had difficulties. I always spoke of how I bore burdens, how I was considerate of God’s will, how I sought the truth to resolve things when my brothers and sisters had problems, or how many attended gatherings and fulfilled their duties thanks to my watering and support, to make others think I understood the truth and I was good at resolving problems. It was clearly God’s word that allowed those brothers and sisters to understand the truth, have faith, and want to fulfill their duties. These were the results achieved by God’s word. But I didn’t exalt God or testify to God’s word and work. I let others think that I was the one who solved the problems of my brothers and sisters. Hearing my experience didn’t give others knowledge of God; instead, they worshiped me. They didn’t rely on God or seek the truth when they had problems. Instead, they sought out my fellowship to resolve things. They viewed me like someone who could even save their lives. If things went on like this, wasn’t I bringing them before myself? Even then, I didn’t feel like I was exalting myself or showing off. I still thought I was just discussing my own real experience. I saw that I had despicable intentions when I discussed my experiences. I was trying to earn a high position in people’s hearts. The more I thought, the more I felt I was despicable and shameless. It was God’s grace that I could take charge of watering work, and His will was for me to fellowship on His word to resolve problems, lead people before God, and help them understand the truth and come to know God. But in my duties, I constantly showed off to make people worship me. I saw the effects of the Holy Spirit’s work as the effects of my own labor and used them as capital to boast about myself. I stole God’s glory and enjoyed the admiration and worship of my brothers and sisters, and didn’t feel at all ashamed. I didn’t have the slightest conscience and reason! My leader pruned and dealt with me so that I could reflect on the wrong path I took and reverse course in time, which was God’s love and salvation for me! I knew I could no longer defy and oppose God. I had to repent at haste. I recalled a passage of God’s word, “‘Sharing and communing experiences’ means fellowshiping your experiences and knowledge of God’s words, giving voice to every thought in your heart, your state of being, and the corrupt disposition that is revealed in you, and letting others discern them, and then solving the problem through fellowship on the truth. Only when experiences are fellowshiped in this way does everyone benefit and gain a lot; only this is the true church life” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person). As I pondered God’s words, I understood fellowship on experience shouldn’t contain personal intentions, ambitions, and desires. I should open my heart and speak what is there to my brothers and sisters. No matter whether positive or negative, I should always open up about my true state, so that they can absorb the positive and learn to discern the negative from my experience, they can see I am also rebellious and corrupt, and can be negative and weak, and they won’t look up to or admire me. That way, my experience can teach them lessons and help them avoid mistaken paths. At the gathering the next day, I found the courage to discuss my state. I dissected and aired out how during this period I had been showing off to make others look up to me, and how I reflected and came to know myself. I felt a great sense of security and joy at that gathering.
Later, I heard that a sister was very depressed. When we talked, she said, “At gatherings I always hear your experience and how you effectively help others, but I lack the realities of truth, and my caliber is too low. When problems arise, I can’t solve them. It’s too stressful. I can’t handle this duty.” Hearing what she said, I felt very ashamed. I thought, “I am directly to blame for her negativity. I didn’t exalt God in my duties, I didn’t resolve the practical difficulties of my brothers and sisters in their life entry, and I always boasted and showed off, which made her mistakenly think I understood the truth and had stature. I can’t repeat my mistake. I have to open up and reveal myself to her.” So, I told her my state and how I had been showing off during this period. I let her know that I, too, had shortcomings, was weak when I encountered difficulties, and also that I didn’t actually possess the realities of truth, that the results of my duties came from the Holy Spirit’s work and guidance, and that I couldn’t achieve anything on my own. My sister was moved and said, “Your fellowship made me realize that I don’t pursue the truth, I have no place for God in my heart, and I look up to outward gifts, worship others, and haven’t understood that all achievements come from the work and guidance of the Holy Spirit. I don’t want to be negative and weak in the face of my troubles any longer. I want to rely on God and fulfill my duties.” Hearing my sister speak like this, I was very pleased.
After that, I started to reflect on myself. Why, even when I knew showing off was resisting God, did I still involuntarily take this path? What was going on here? Later, I read a passage of God’s word, “Some people particularly idolize Paul. They like to go out and give speeches and do work, they like to attend gatherings and preach, and they like people listening to them, worshiping them, and revolving around them. They like to have status in the minds of others, and they appreciate it when others value the image they present. Let us analyze their nature from these behaviors: What is their nature? If they really behave like this, then it is enough to show that they are arrogant and conceited. They do not worship God at all; they seek a higher status and wish to have authority over others, to possess them, and to have status in their minds. This is the classic image of Satan. The aspects of their nature that stand out are arrogance and conceit, an unwillingness to worship God, and a desire to be worshiped by others. Such behaviors can give you a very clear view into their nature” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. How to Know Man’s Nature). From what God’s word revealed, I understood I liked to show off to my brothers and sisters and make them look up to and worship me because I was controlled by my arrogant nature. Because my nature was so arrogant, once my duties produced some results I began to admire myself. In order to show that I was outstanding and superior, I boasted at gatherings and showed off the achievements of my work. Of my difficulties, my weaknesses, my rebelliousness and corruption, I said nothing. When my brothers and sisters praised me, I did not feel fear. Rather, I was very happy, and I shamelessly enjoyed their admiration and worship. Paul greatly enjoyed gatherings and preaching, claiming the effects of the Holy Spirit’s work as his own capital, showing off and flaunting himself everywhere to deceive people. He brought all the believers before himself, so that even now, 2,000 years later, the entire religious world worships and exalts him, treats his words as God’s word, and lacks knowledge of the Lord Jesus. Paul had an arrogant and self-righteous nature, and had no regard for God; he walked the path of an antichrist who resists God. He occupied God’s position in people’s hearts, seriously offended God’s righteous disposition, and was punished and cursed by God. Wasn’t my disposition the same as Paul? I was also arrogant, self-righteous, liked to exalt myself and show off, and surround myself with people. As a result, after months of my “performance,” everyone looked up to and worshiped me, and had no place for God in their hearts. When problems occurred, instead of God, I was the one they sought. Wasn’t I resisting God and harming my brothers and sisters? Wasn’t I walking the path of an antichrist? Only then did I see that I was in danger, and that I was controlled by my arrogant nature. Time and time again, I shamelessly showed off and boasted about myself, I deceived my brothers and sisters into worshiping me, and sometimes I even had despicable intentions and used tricks to show off. I was so despicable! Thinking on this filled me with disgust and loathing for myself, and I swore to myself that I would never show off again.
After that, I watched a video of a reading of God’s word. Almighty God says, “How should people know God’s disposition and what He has and is? And how should they know His authority, and His omnipotence and wisdom? Does anyone know how many years God has been working among all humanity and all things? No one knows the exact number of years for which God has been working and managing all mankind, no one has an accurate figure. God does not report such things to mankind. Yet if Satan were to do this for a bit, would it declare it? It would certainly declare it. Satan wants to show off itself, that it may deceive more people and have more of them give it credit. Why does God not report this undertaking? There is an aspect of God’s essence that is humble and hidden. What things are in opposition to humility and hiddenness? Arrogance and showing off. … Antichrists are no different from Satan: They boast about every little thing they do in front of everyone. Hearing them, it seems like they are testifying to God—but if you listen closely you’ll discover that they’re not testifying to God, but showing off, building themselves up. The motivation and essence behind what they say is to vie with God for the chosen ones, and for status. God is humble and hidden, and Satan flaunts itself. Is there a difference? Showing off versus humility and hiddenness: which are positive things? (Humility and hiddenness.) Could Satan be described as humble? (No.) Why? Judging by its wicked nature and essence, it is a worthless piece of trash; it would be extraordinary for Satan to not flaunt itself. How could Satan be called ‘humble’? ‘Humility’ is said of God. God’s identity, essence, and disposition are lofty and honorable, but He never shows off. God is humble and hidden, He does not let people see what He has done, but as He works in such obscurity, humankind is unceasingly provided for, nourished, and guided—and this is all arranged by God. Is it hiddenness and humility, that God never divulges these things, never mentions them? God is humble precisely because He is able to do these things but never mentions or divulges them, does not discuss them with people. What right have you to speak of humility when you are incapable of such things? You didn’t do any of those things, yet insist on taking credit for them—this is called being shameless. Guiding mankind, God carries out such great work, and He presides over the entire universe. His authority and power are so vast, yet He has never said, ‘My ability is extraordinary.’ He remains hidden among all things, presiding over everything, nourishing and providing for humankind, allowing all humankind to continue for generation after generation. Take the air and the sunshine, for example, or all the material things necessary for human existence—they all flow forth without cease. That God provides for man is beyond question. So if Satan did something good, would it keep it quiet, and remain an unsung hero? Never. It’s like how there are some antichrists in the church who previously undertook dangerous work, who made sacrifices and endured suffering, who may have even gone to prison; there are also some who once contributed to one aspect of the work of the house of God. They never forget these things, they think they deserve lifelong credit for them, they think these are their lifetime’s capital—which shows how small people are! People are truly small, and Satan is shameless” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Seven (Part Two)). Having read God’s words, I felt ashamed. God is the Creator. He has authority and power. He has the highest status. Yet God personally came incarnate to save corrupt humankind, and He quietly expresses the truth to supply and save people. He never uses the status of God to show off, nor does He speak of how much work He has done to save humankind or how much humiliation and pain He suffers. Instead, He always remains humble and hidden among people, doing His work of watering and saving humanity. God’s essence is so holy, so kind and good! I am someone utterly filthy who is deeply corrupted by Satan, in God’s eyes I am insignificant, yet I shamelessly exalted myself, showed off, and made others look up to and worship me. I was truly so arrogant that I lost my reason, and I wasn’t worthy to live before God! In that moment I felt even greater shame at my arrogance, flaunting, and showing off. I fell down before God and prayed, “God, through Your judgment and revelation, I have seen that I live with no human likeness, and I don’t want to live like this anymore. God, guide me, teach me to practice the truth, and testify to You.”
I saw God’s word, “When bearing testimony for God, you should mainly talk more about how God judges and chastises people, what trials He uses to refine people and change their dispositions. You should also talk about how much corruption has been revealed in your experience, how much you have endured, how many things you did to resist God, and how you were eventually conquered by God; talk about how much real knowledge of God’s work you have, and how you should bear witness for God and repay Him for His love. You should put substance into this kind of language, while putting it in a simple manner. Do not talk about empty theories. Speak more down-to-earth; speak from the heart. This is how you should experience. Do not equip yourselves with profound-seeming, empty theories in an effort to show off; doing so makes you appear quite arrogant and senseless. You should speak more of real things from your actual experience, and speak more from the heart; this is most beneficial to others, and most appropriate for them to see” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition). I found paths of practice in God’s words. True fellowship does not mean talking about successful experiences in order to show off. It is to testify to how God judges, cleanses, and saves us. It is necessary to expose one’s own rebelliousness, corruption, and their own despicable intentions and the consequences of their actions, and talk about how, later, through experiencing the judgment and chastisement in God’s word, they come to know themselves. It is in this way that others can gain discernment of the true face of their own corruption and have knowledge of God’s work, God’s disposition, and God’s demands of humanity. It is how they can see God’s salvation for people, and His love for people. Only fellowshiping in this way can one testify to God. Once I understood these paths of practice, I began to practice them consciously. At one gathering, a brother talked about pursuing reputation and status in his duties. He compared himself to everyone, felt miserable about it, and didn’t know how to resolve it. As I heard him describe his state, I thought, “If I resolve his problem, when he talks about his experience in the future, he will say my fellowship is what allowed him to change his state. The brothers and sisters will look up to me and say I understand the truth and have stature. I have to compose the words and ideas in my fellowship and tell him all about my experience.” At that moment, I felt self-reproach as I suddenly realized I was about to give my satanic performance again. The thought I had just held in my mind felt disgusting, as if I had swallowed a dead fly. So I silently prayed to God to ask for the strength to forsake myself and exalt and testify to God this time. Later, I told my brother my failed experience of being replaced for pursuing and fighting for reputation and status. I spoke too of how, through reading God’s word, I was able to reflect, come to know myself, repent, and achieve some change. After my fellowship, my brother recognized that his nature was too arrogant, and that pursuing reputation and status is the path of an antichrist, and he wanted to repent. As I heard my brother’s fellowship, I thanked God in my heart. This was God’s guidance at work.
After that, in my fellowship with my brothers and sisters at gatherings, although I still showed off sometimes, it wasn’t as obvious or serious as before. Sometimes I thought of showing off, but when I sensed it, I prayed to God and was able to forsake myself. Gradually, I showed off less and less, and I experienced fewer states of wanting to boast, and became a bit reasonable in my words and actions. I am deeply grateful for Almighty God’s salvation!