55. I’ve Found My Place
After I believed in God, I pursued very enthusiastically. No matter what duty the church arranged for me, I obeyed. When I had difficulties or problems in my duty, I could also suffer and pay the price to seek a resolution without complaining. Before long, I started to practice watering newcomers, where I was continuously promoted. I felt I was a talent, someone who the church was cultivating, that I pursued more than others, and so as long as I worked hard at my duty, I would be promoted and given important roles. When I thought of this, I felt very pleased with myself.
A while later, I saw many brothers and sisters around my age had served as team leaders or supervisors, and I was envious. I thought, “If they can perform such important duties at such a young age, be valued by the leaders, and admired by the brothers and sisters, I can’t be satisfied with the status quo. I have to pursue well and strive to make a major breakthrough in my duty so I can also have an important role.” So, I worked harder in my duty. I wasn’t afraid to stay up late and suffer. When I had trouble in my duty, I searched God’s words to resolve it. But my hard work didn’t bring about any change. Due to my poor work ability, I was assigned to do some routine work. After that, when I saw that others around me being promoted, I was even more envious. I knew that I was still inferior to them by far, so I always encouraged myself not to be discouraged or satisfied with the status quo, that I had to pursue and improve, that I still needed to eat and drink more of God’s word, and put more effort into my life entry. I thought that once I improved my professional skills and put more effort into life entry, I’d certainly be promoted. So, as I worked hard to improve, I also looked forward to the day I would be promoted.
Before I knew it, two years had passed, and my new partners kept coming and going. Some were promoted, and some became leaders and workers. I started to become suspicious, “I’ve done this duty for quite a while, and those who have done it for a shorter time are promoted one after another, so why has my duty still not changed at all? Do the leaders think I’m not worth cultivating, and that I’m only suitable for routine work? Could it be that I have no chance at all of being promoted? Will I be stuck in this obscure duty forever?” When I thought about this, I suddenly felt like a deflated ball. I suddenly had no drive, I wasn’t as diligent in my duty as before, and I felt no sense of urgency to handle jobs that needed to be done. I simply went through the motions every day or muddled through the tasks. As a result, some deviations and oversights often appeared in my work, but I didn’t take it seriously, and I didn’t reflect on myself properly. Later, I heard that even more brothers and sisters I knew were being promoted, and I felt even more distressed. I thought, “Some of them used to do the same duty as me, but one by one, they’ve now all been promoted, while I’m stuck right where I started. Maybe I’m not someone who pursues the truth, or a worthy subject for cultivation.” This thought felt like a heavy weight on my shoulders. It felt miserable. In those days, I was in a very depressed state, and I felt unmotivated in my duty. I kept thinking I had no future in my belief in God. I felt very aggrieved, and couldn’t accept what was happening. I thought, “Could it be that I am really that bad? Could it be that I am really only suited for routine work? Is there no value in cultivating me at all? All I want is one chance. Why do I have to stay stuck in the corner all the time, where no one notices me?” The more I thought, the more aggrieved and depressed I felt. I sighed all day, and my legs felt too heavy to move. Sometimes, I would cry silently in bed at night, thinking, “If my professional skills are inferior to others, then I’ll work hard to pursue the truth. I’ll read more of God’s words and focus more on life entry. When I can fellowship with some practical knowledge, and the leaders see I focus on pursuing the truth, won’t they also promote me?” But when I thought like this, I also felt a little guilty. I thought, “Pursuing the truth is a positive thing, and it is what a believer should pursue. But I am using this for the purpose of standing out above others. If I pursue like this, with ambition and desire, God will detest and hate it, won’t He? Why aren’t I willing to do my duty in obscurity?” I felt a sense of accusation, so I prayed to God as I cried, “God, I know pursuit of status is wrong, but my ambitions and desires are so strong. I keep feeling like it’s useless of me to perform my duty in obscurity like this. God, I can’t get out of this state. Please lead and guide me in understanding Your will and knowing myself.”
One day, I read the words of God: “For antichrists, status and prestige are their life. No matter how they live, no matter what environment they live in, no matter what work they do, no matter what they strive for, what their goals are, what their life’s direction is, it all revolves around having a good reputation and a high station. And this aim does not change; they can never put aside such things. This is the true face of the antichrists, and their essence. You could put them in a primeval forest deep in the mountains, and still they would not put aside their pursuit of status and prestige. You can put them among any group of people, and all they can think about is still status and prestige. Although antichrists also believe in God, they see the pursuit of status and prestige as equivalent to faith in God and give it equal weight. Which is to say, as they walk the path of faith in God, they also pursue their own status and prestige. It can be said that in the antichrists’ hearts, they believe that faith in God and the pursuit of the truth is the pursuit of status and prestige; the pursuit of status and prestige is also the pursuit of the truth, and to gain status and prestige is to gain the truth and life. If they feel that they have no prestige or status, that no one admires them, or venerates them, or follows them, then they are very frustrated, they believe there is no point in believing in God, no value to it, and they say to themselves, ‘Is such faith in God a failure? Is it hopeless?’ They often deliberate such things in their hearts, they deliberate how they can carve a place out for themselves in the house of God, how they can have a lofty reputation in the church, so that people listen when they talk, and support them when they act, and follow them wherever they go; so that they have a voice in the church, a reputation, so that they enjoy benefits, and have status—they often ponder such things. These are what such people pursue” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Three)). “For an antichrist, if their reputation or status is attacked or taken away, it is a matter even more serious than trying to take their life. No matter how many sermons they listen to or how many of God’s words they read, they will not feel sadness or regret over never having practiced the truth and their having taken the path of the antichrist, nor over their possession of the nature and essence of an antichrist. Instead, they are always racking their brains for ways to gain status and increase their reputation. … In their consistent pursuit of reputation and status, they also brazenly deny what God has done. Why do I say that? In the depths of an antichrist’s heart, they believe, ‘All reputation and status are earned by people themselves. Only by gaining a firm foothold among people and gaining reputation and status can they enjoy God’s blessings. Life only has value when people gain absolute power and status. Only this is a befitting human life. On the contrary, it would be cowardly to live in such a way as to submit, as in the word of God, to God’s sovereignty and arrangements in everything, to willingly stand in the position of a created being, and to live like a normal person—no one would look up to them. A person’s status, reputation, and happiness must be won through their own struggles; they must be fought for and seized with a positive and proactive attitude. No one else will give them to you—waiting around passively can only lead to failure.’ This is how an antichrist calculates. This is the disposition of antichrists. If you hope for an antichrist to accept the truth, admit mistakes, and have real repentance, it is impossible—they absolutely cannot do it” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Three)). God revealed that antichrists regard status as more important than life. All they say and do revolves around status and reputation, and they only think about gaining and keeping it. Once they lose their status, they lose the motivation to live. For the sake of status, they can even resist God, betray God, and establish their own kingdoms. I realized I had always regarded status as very important. When I was young, my family often taught me things like “No pain, no gain” and “Man struggles upwards, water flows downwards.” I had always regarded these satanic laws of survival as words to live by. I had always thought that only by gaining status and being held in high esteem would a person be able to live a dignified and worthwhile life, while being content with my lot and being an ordinary, down-to-earth person showed that I lacked aspiration or any real goals. I thought that this was a useless way for a person to live. After I believed in God, my thoughts and views didn’t change. Outwardly, I wasn’t contending or vying, but my ambitions and desires were not small. I only wanted to perform a more important duty, to gain high status, and to gain others’ admiration. When I saw the people around me being promoted to team leaders and supervisors, this only stirred my desire even more, and made me even more discontent with my current situation. To be promoted, I rose early and stayed up late into the night, and I was willing to suffer and pay any price for my duty. When my hopes were shattered over and over again, I was filled with complaints and resistance to the environment around me. I even felt that there was no point in believing in God and lost my motivation for my duty. I was just going through the motions and muddling through what I could. I saw that since I had come to believe in God, the path I took was not the path of pursuing the truth at all. Everything I did was for name and status. In our duty, God hopes that we are able to pursue the truth, enter into its realities, and escape our corrupt dispositions. But I neglected my task. My mind was not on pursuing the truth, I desired nothing but to gain a high status, and when my desire fell through, I started to slack off, digging myself in deeper. I really had no conscience or reason! I thought of how, despite my years of believing in God, because I didn’t pursue the truth, even now, I didn’t have much knowledge of my own corrupt disposition. I couldn’t even do the duty I already had well. I still muddled through, and there were often problems and deviations in my work. Even like this, I wanted to be promoted and do bigger work. I was so shameless! Only then did I realize that believing in God without pursuing the truth, and blindly pursuing status, would only make me more ambitious and my disposition more arrogant, always wanting to be above others, but unable to obey God’s sovereignty and arrangements. Such pursuit is self-destructive, and is hated and cursed by God. Just like those antichrists expelled from the church, they didn’t pursue the truth, and they always pursued name, gain, and status. They sought to be admired and adored, and tried to ensnare and control people. The result of this was that they did too much evil and were revealed and cast out by God. Weren’t my pursuits the same as theirs? Wasn’t I walking the path of resisting God? God’s disposition is righteous and cannot be offended. If I refused to correct myself, I would definitely be rejected and cast out by God! With this in mind, I swore an oath to myself: From now on, I will not pursue status, I will submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements. I will pursue the truth, and do my duty properly and in a down-to-earth manner.
One day, during my devotionals, I read God’s word. “Because people do not recognize God’s orchestrations and God’s sovereignty, they always face fate defiantly and with a rebellious attitude, and they always want to cast off God’s authority and sovereignty and the things fate has in store, hoping in vain to change their current circumstances and alter their fate. But they can never succeed and are thwarted at every turn. This struggle, which takes place deep in one’s soul, brings profound pain of the sort that carves itself into one’s bones, as one fritters away their life all the while. What is the cause of this pain? Is it because of God’s sovereignty, or because a person was born unlucky? Obviously, neither is true. At bottom, it is caused by the paths people take, the ways they choose to live their lives. Some people may not have realized these things. But when you truly know, when you truly come to recognize that God has sovereignty over human fate, when you truly understand that everything God has planned for you and decided for you is a great benefit and protection, then you feel your pain begin to lighten, and your whole being becomes relaxed, free, liberated. Judging from the states of the majority of people, they objectively cannot truly come to terms with the practical value and meaning of the Creator’s sovereignty over human fate, even though on a subjective level, they do not want to keep on living as they did before and want relief from their pain; objectively, they cannot truly recognize and submit to the Creator’s sovereignty, and still less do they know how to seek out and accept the Creator’s orchestrations and arrangements. So, if people cannot truly recognize the fact that the Creator has sovereignty over human fate and over all human matters, if they cannot truly submit to the Creator’s dominion, then it will be difficult for them not to be driven and fettered by the idea that ‘one’s fate is in one’s own hands.’ It will be difficult for them to shake off the pain of their intense struggle against fate and the Creator’s authority, and, needless to say, it will also be hard for them to become truly liberated and free, to become people who worship God” (The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique III). God’s words stirred my heart. Before, I had never compared my state to what these words of God reveal. I thought that these words were addressed to the unbelievers, while I was one of the faithful, and I believed in and obeyed God’s sovereignty. But it was only when I calmed down and contemplated this passage of God’s word, that I realized that acknowledging God’s sovereignty does not represent knowledge of God’s almighty sovereignty, much less obedience to God’s sovereignty. Although I believed in God, my views on things were still the same as those of unbelievers. Unbelievers always think people’s fate is in their own hands, and always fight against fate. They want to change their destiny through their own efforts and live a life of excellence. As a result, they suffer a lot, pay a high price, until finally they are battered and bruised, and even when they are laced with scars, they still don’t wake up to reality. Wasn’t I the same? I always wanted to change the status quo through my own efforts and relied on my own struggle to strive for promotion and important roles. For this purpose, I suffered in silence, paid a price, and worked hard to learn professional skills. When my desire fell through, I became passive and resistant, and dug myself in deeper. Only then did I see I was so pained and so tired because I was taking the wrong path and had chosen the wrong way of living. I considered satanic fallacies like “One’s destiny is in his own hand” and “Man can create a pleasant homeland with his own hands” as maxims to live by. I believed that to achieve my goal, I had to rely on my own effort to reach it. Faced with my desires falling through over and over again, and being unable to gain promotions or important positions, I could not submit and I always wanted to fight against God, break free from His arrangements, and gain status and reputation through my own efforts. Only then did I see that I was a believer in name only. In reality, I didn’t believe in God’s sovereignty in my heart, and much less was I willing to obey His arrangements. What was the difference between a believer like me and a nonbeliever? God is the Lord of Creation, and God has sovereignty and control over everything. Each person’s destiny, their caliber and strengths, the duty they can perform in the church, what kind of situations they experience at what time, and so on, are all arranged and preordained by God, and no person can escape them or change anything. Only by obeying God’s sovereignty and arrangements can our hearts be at peace. Knowing this, I suddenly felt pitiful and pathetic. I had believed in God for years, and though I had eaten and drunk so much of God’s word, I was still just like an unbeliever. I didn’t know God’s omnipotence and sovereignty. I was so arrogant and ignorant! God’s word says, “When you truly understand that everything God has planned for you and decided for you is a great benefit and protection, then you feel your pain begin to lighten, and your whole being becomes relaxed, free, liberated” (The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique III). Pondering God’s word, I wondered, how could I know this environment was beneficial for me, and was protecting me? As I sought, I realized since I started believing in God, I had never experienced any great failure or setback, and I had not been dismissed or transferred. I had been continuously promoted and cultivated. Without realizing it, I had started thinking I was someone who pursues the truth, and that I was a key subject for cultivation in the church, so I naturally had come to regard “being promoted” as a goal to pursue. Every time I was promoted, I didn’t receive it as a responsibility and duty from God, and I didn’t pursue the truth in a down-to-earth manner or think about how to use principles in my duty. Instead, I saw my duty as a tool to pursue status and be looked up to by others. I thought the greater the duty and the higher the status, the more people would admire and value me, so I was very concerned about being promoted, and I spent my days worrying about these gains and losses. I had long forgotten what I was really supposed to pursue in my belief in God. Thinking back, my ambition and desires were so big, and if I really had been promoted and given an important role as I wished, I don’t know how arrogant I might have become or what evil I might have done. There are too many examples of such failures. There are many people who can sincerely perform their duties when they have no status, but the moment they have status, their ambitions grow, they start to do evil, and they deceive and ensnare people. To maintain their name, gains, and status, they exclude and suppress others, and bring ruin upon themselves as a result. I saw that status, for those who pursue the truth and walk the right path, is practice and perfection. But for those who don’t pursue the truth or walk the right path, it is temptation and revelation. As of that moment, I still had no status, and just because I hadn’t been promoted or viewed as important, I was so resentful that I didn’t even want to do my duty. I could see that my ambitions and desires were enormous, and that if I had actually been promoted to an important duty, I was certain to fail as badly as those who had already failed. At this point, I truly felt that there was God’s permission in me not being promoted to team leader or supervisor. God used this environment to force me to stop and reflect on myself, so that I could mend my ways, and walk the path of pursuing truth. This environment was what my life required, and it was a great protection of me! Thinking of this, I felt that I had been so ignorant and blind, and I hadn’t understood God’s will. I had misunderstood and blamed God. I had truly hurt the heart of God.
After that, I read God’s word: “What kind of heart does God want? First of all, the heart must be honest. It must be able to perform a duty in a sincere and down-to-earth manner, able to protect the work of the church, and without so-called great aspirations or lofty goals. It should be one that wants to walk one step at a time in following God, worshiping God, and living as a created being. It should not desire to be a bird in the sky or any created being on another planet, let alone wish to be someone with supernatural abilities. Furthermore, this heart should love the truth. What does loving the truth mainly refer to? Loving positive things, possessing a sense of righteousness, being able to genuinely expend for God, being able to genuinely love God, being able to obey God, and being able to testify about God” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Five Conditions That Must Be Met to Embark on the Right Track of Belief in God). After reading God’s word, I was very moved. I felt God’s hopes and requirements for people. God does not want people to be famous, great, or lofty. God doesn’t ask us to engage in great undertakings or have any glorious achievements. God only hopes people pursue the truth and submit to His sovereignty and arrangements, and fulfill their duties in a down-to-earth manner. But I didn’t understand God’s will, and I didn’t know myself. I always wanted status, and to be a lofty or mighty figure. Without status and attention, I felt I lived a depressed, useless life. I had no humanity or reason at all. I was clearly grass that wanted to be a tree, a finch that wanted to be an eagle, and as a result I strained until I was miserable and exhausted. Realizing this, I prayed to God, “God! In the past, I always pursued status, name, and gain. I always wanted to be admired and praised. I wasn’t content to perform my duty in obscurity, which You loathe and detest. Now I understand that this is the wrong way. I wish to submit to Your sovereignty and arrangements. Regardless of whether I can be promoted in the future, I will pursue the truth in a down-to-earth manner and perform my duty well.” After I prayed, I felt a great sense of release, and I felt closer to God.
Later, through reading God’s word, I gained some knowledge of my mistaken views on pursuit. God’s words say, “When someone is promoted to serve as a leader or worker, or they are cultivated for some sort of technical work—for which they are appointed supervisor—this is nothing more than God’s house entrusting them with a burden. It is a commission, a responsibility, and of course, it is also a special duty, an extraordinary opportunity; it is an exceptional elevation, and this person has nothing to brag about. When someone is promoted and cultivated by God’s house, it does not mean they have a special position or status in God’s house, so that they can enjoy special treatment and favor. Instead, after they have been exceptionally exalted in God’s house, they are given the opportunity and better conditions to practice and enter into the realities of truth, and they are able to do more specific work involving the principles of the truth. That is, principles are highly involved in this work, and the requirements and standards of God’s house will be higher, which is very beneficial for people’s life entry. When a person is promoted and cultivated in God’s house, it means they will be put under strict requirements and tightly supervised. God’s house will strictly inspect and supervise the work they do, and will get to understand and give attention to their life entry. From these points of view, do the people promoted and cultivated by God’s house enjoy special treatment, special status, and special position? Absolutely not, and even less do they enjoy any special identity. For people who have been promoted and cultivated, if they feel that they have capital as a result of performing their duty somewhat effectively, and so stagnate and stop pursuing the truth, then they are in danger when they encounter trials and tribulations. If people’s stature is too small, they will likely be incapable of standing firm. Some say, ‘If someone is promoted and cultivated as a leader, then they have an identity. Even if they are not one of the firstborn sons, they at least have hope of becoming one of God’s people. I have never been promoted or cultivated, so what hope do I have of counting as one of God’s people?’ It is wrong to think this way. To become one of God’s people, you must have life experience, and you must be someone who obeys God. No matter if you are a leader, worker, or an ordinary follower, anyone who possesses the realities of truth is one of God’s people. Even if you are a leader or worker, if you lack the realities of truth, you are still a service-doer” (The Word, Vol. 5. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). I understood from God’s word that promotion and cultivation in the church does not mean people have a special status, or they receive special treatment like officials in the world. It’s simply an opportunity to practice. It’s only a greater responsibility for people. Being promoted and cultivated only means a person is switching from one duty to another. It does not mean that a person’s identity and status are higher than others, and moreover, it doesn’t mean they understand the truth or possess its realities. Not being promoted doesn’t mean you are inferior, and it doesn’t mean you have no future and cannot be saved. In short, no matter what duty you perform, whether or not you are promoted, God treats all people fairly, and each person is given a chance to practice in their duty. The church arranges duties reasonably according to each person’s caliber and strengths, so that each person’s caliber and strengths can be used to their fullest. This benefits both the work of the church and our personal life entry. Whether or not you are promoted to an important duty, God’s expectations for people and the provision for everyone are the same. God wants people to pursue the truth and change their dispositions in the course of their duties. Therefore, God’s salvation for people never depends on their status or qualifications. Rather, it depends on people’s attitude toward truth and their duty. If you walk the path of pursuing the truth, as you perform your duty, you can get more practice, and you will keep making progress in life. If you don’t pursue the truth, no matter how high your status, you won’t last. Sooner or later, you will be dismissed and cast out. I didn’t have a pure understanding of promotion in the past. I always thought being promoted meant getting status, and the higher my status, the better my future and fate. As a result, I didn’t focus on pursuing the truth in my duty, and I solely pursued status. Only now do I realize this view of things is absurd! In reality, the church gave me the chance to practice, but my caliber was just too low for more important tasks. But I had no self-awareness, so I always felt like I was capable and could be promoted to do more important work. I really didn’t know myself at all. No matter what work we do in God’s house, we all need to understand the truth and enter the principles of truth for our work to achieve good results. But I didn’t understand the truth, and I couldn’t do any practical work at all. Even if I was promoted, what good could I possibly do? Wouldn’t I just get in the way? Never mind that I would be utterly exhausted, I would also hinder the work of the church. That would not be worth it. At this point, I finally realized that my current duty was very suitable for me. I was capable of it, and it made use of my strengths. This was helpful for my own life entry, and beneficial to the work of the church. Through the enlightenment and guidance of God’s words, I became aware of God’s will, I found my own place, I knew what duty I should be doing, and my negative state was turned around.
After that, I was much less controlled by name, gain, and status, and I bore a burden in my duty. When I was not busy with work, I used my spare time to practice preaching the gospel and testifying about God. When I saw people who truly believe in God and thirst for the truth accept the work of Almighty God in the last days, I felt a great sense of ease and comfort. Finally, I understood that it doesn’t matter how important a position you are put into, what matters is whether you can play the role of a created being as you perform your duty. This is the most important thing. Now, although I often hear news that some brothers and sisters I know are promoted, I am much calmer, and I am no longer jealous as I was before, because I know that although we perform different duties, we all strive for the same goal, and we do our utmost to spread God’s gospel of kingdom. Now, I have finally found my place. I am only a small created being. My duty is to obey the Creator’s orchestrations and arrangements. In the future, no matter what my duty is, I am willing to accept, obey, and do my best in my duty to satisfy God.