62. Awakening From My Arrogance

By Johnny, Italy

I started working on spreading the gospel in 2015, and had some success under God’s guidance. Sometimes those I preached to had strong notions and didn’t want to investigate any further into the gospel. So I prayed and relied on God and patiently fellowshiped with them on the truth, and they’d quickly accept God’s work of the last days. After some success in my duty, I felt better than the other brothers and sisters, like I was some sort of rare talent.

Then my partner Liam and I each took on watering work for a church. The church I took on was large and had quite a few members, so when I started, I was always praying to and relying on God and discussing things with brothers and sisters. Things started going well before long. Most brothers and sisters were attending gatherings on a regular basis and were really proactive in their duties. I was quite pleased with myself. I was thinking that even with such a large church and so many members, I was getting results so quickly, so it seemed like I must have a bit of caliber. I also saw that Liam’s watering work wasn’t going too well, that some waterers in his church were unsuitable and their duty needed to be adjusted, and some needed fellowship because they were in a negative state. So, I looked down on him a bit and thought he could only resolve these problems with my help. After that, I started getting involved with his work, summing up mistakes and flaws with everyone in gatherings, fellowshiping on God’s words to help with others’ negative states, and adjusting the duties of unfit members. The work picked up pretty quickly. Seeing how quickly I had solved our problems, I felt even more indispensable and like some sort of rare talent. After this my arrogance just grew and grew. I’d often complain about the brothers and sisters not putting heart into their duties and scold them, saying: “There’s been such a delay in watering work. Is there a single person paying heed to God’s will and doing the work properly? You’ve all been so irresponsible and sloppy. It’s a good thing there’s been a little progress these past couple weeks, otherwise who could take responsibility for this delay?” No one dared say a word. I wondered if my reaction was inappropriate, but then I thought that they wouldn’t care unless I took a strong tone. Because I often looked down on my brothers and sisters, and scolded them and made them do as I said when I found problems and deviations in their work, over time they distanced themselves from me and usually never talked to me about anything except work-related matters. Sometimes they’d be talking and laughing together, but as soon as I showed up, they just scattered, as if they were afraid of me. And since they were afraid of messing up and being scolded, they’d first ask me whenever something came up, and wait for my decision. I did feel kind of uneasy when I saw the situation. I wondered if I was being authoritarian and walking the path of an antichrist. But then I thought I needed to be firm in work. No one would listen if I weren’t a little hard on them. Then how would we get anywhere? I felt like directly calling out problems was me having a sense of righteousness. After that, my arrogance became even more intense and I had to have the final say in everything, large or small, and had to follow up on how members were allocated and arranged, because I felt like no one on the team was as capable as me. Even when I did discuss things with them, we always ended up doing what I wanted, so if I decided right away, I thought we could save time. Sometimes my leader came to a gathering, and I thought nothing of him, thinking, “So what if you’re a leader? Can you share the gospel and bear witness? Can you do a good job of even one aspect of this work? If you can only fellowship in gatherings, without getting practical work done, you are no match for me.” So whenever the leader asked me how our work was going, I would share more when I felt like talking, but when I didn’t feel like talking I’d just throw him a couple of words. I thought there was no need to talk about it, because at the end of the day I was the one who was going to be doing the work. The leader exposed my arrogance, saying I always had final say on matters and that I didn’t work well with the brothers and sisters. Dealt with and pruned in this way, I acknowledged to his face that I was arrogant, but I didn’t pay it any real mind. I thought I had good caliber and that I was capable—so as long as I did my work well, what did it matter if I was a little arrogant? Besides, I was the one heading up most of the church’s work, so what were they going to do—fire me? I didn’t remotely accept the leader’s dealing with me and pruning me and kept on doing my duty exactly the way I pleased, fully in charge, until I was exposed by God.

One time, a newly-established church needed more people doing watering, and without discussing it with Liam and the others, I just arranged for a sister to go help them out. I figured that generally they agreed with what I suggested, so it was fine for me to decide on my own. But I was surprised to find out that because this sister’s understanding of the truth was too superficial, she wasn’t capable of the work and couldn’t solve practical problems. This was a serious hindrance to the church’s work and she later had to be reassigned to another duty. But I still didn’t reflect on myself. After, because of my unrelenting arrogance and my failure to seek principles of the truth in my duty, or to guide the others to follow principles in their duty, everyone was just busy running to and fro without any real results. It really hindered our work progress. Even so, I was still totally unaware of my own problems—I just blamed the others for not shouldering their burdens. For a while I had this indescribable sense of foreboding, like something terrible was about to happen. I didn’t know what to say in gatherings or prayers, and I was often getting sleepy in work meetings, and didn’t have insight into anything. I was feeling mentally fuzzy and didn’t have energy for anything, but just wanted to rest. I knew that I’d lost the work of the Holy Spirit, but I didn’t know why. I prayed to God, asking Him to help me understand myself.

A few days later, my leader came to a gathering and dealt with me and exposed my behavior. He said, “You’ve been arrogant. You’re always haughtily scolding people, constraining them, and often flaunting your seniority. You don’t listen to anyone and you’re hard to work with. Furthermore, you do whatever you want without discussing with anyone else, you’re arbitrary and autocratic. Based on your behavior, we’ve decided to dismiss you.” Every word of his cut straight to my heart. I thought back over how I’d been acting. I’d only ever gone my own way and had been dictatorial. Wasn’t that just like an antichrist? That thought really scared me and I thought to myself: “Am I being exposed and cast out by God? Is this how my years of faith are going to end?” For a few days, I felt like a zombie. I was filled with fear from the moment I woke up, and I just didn’t know how to face the day. I prayed to God, saying, “God, I know Your benevolent will is in this, but I don’t know how to get through it. Oh God, I’m so depressed. Please enlighten me to know Your will.” Then I read these words of God: “God is not concerned with what happens to you each day, or how much work you do, how much effort you put in—what He looks at is what your attitude toward these things is. And what does the attitude with which you do these things, and the way you do them, relate to? It relates to whether or not you pursue the truth, and also to your entry into life. God looks at your entry into life, at the path that you walk. If you walk the path of pursuing the truth, and you have entry into life, you will be able to cooperate harmoniously with others when you perform your duties, and you will easily perform your duties in a way that is qualified. But if, while performing your duty, you constantly emphasize that you have capital, that you understand your line of work, that you have experience, and are mindful of God’s will, and pursue the truth more than anyone else, and if you then think that because of these things, you should have the final say, and you don’t discuss anything with anyone else, and are always a law unto yourself, and try to run your own operation, and always want to be ‘the only flower in bloom,’ then do you walk the path of entry into life? No—this is the pursuit of status, it is walking the path of Paul, it is not the path of entry into life” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. What Is the Adequate Performance of Duty?). “There was someone who had been spreading the gospel for a few years and had some experience at it. He suffered much hardship while spreading the gospel, and was even incarcerated and sentenced to many years in prison. After getting out, he continued to spread the gospel, and converted several hundred people, some of whom turned out to be significant talents; some were even chosen as leaders or workers. As a result, this person believed himself worthy of great accolades, and used this as capital that he bragged about wherever he went, showing off and testifying to himself: ‘I went to prison for eight years, and I stood firm in my testimony. I have converted many people, some of whom are now leaders or workers. In the house of God, I deserve credit, I have made a contribution.’ No matter where he was spreading the gospel, he was sure to brag to the local leaders or workers. He would also say, ‘You must listen to what I say; even your senior leaders must be polite when they speak to me. Anyone who isn’t, I teach a lesson!’ This person is a bully, is he not? If someone like this had not spread the gospel and converted those people, would they dare be so pompous? They would indeed. That they can be so pompous proves that this is in their nature. Their nature and essence are such that they become so arrogant that they lack all reason. After spreading the gospel and converting a few people, their arrogant nature swells, and they become even more pompous. Such people brag about their capital wherever they go, they try to claim credit wherever they go, and even put the squeeze on leaders at various levels, trying to be on an equal footing with them, and even thinking that they themselves ought to be a senior leader. Based on what is manifested by the behavior of someone like this, we should all be clear about just what kind of nature they have, and what their end is likely to be. When a demon wheedles their way into the house of God, they do a little service before showing their true colors; they don’t listen no matter who deals with or prunes them, and persist in fighting against the house of God. What is the nature of their actions? In the eyes of God, they are putting themselves to death, and they will not rest until they have killed themselves. This is the only appropriate way of putting it” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Spreading the Gospel Is the Duty to Which All Believers Are Honor-Bound). Reading these words of God made me tremble with fear. It felt like God was exposing me, face-to-face, revealing my state and the deepest secrets that I’d never told a single person. I’d had some results in these years of sharing the gospel, so I thought I’d made an enormous contribution, that I was a rare talent, and I often kept an inner score of everything I’d done. I felt like I deserved some credit and I was a pillar in the church. I took these things as personal capital, arrogantly looking down on everyone. I also had liked to disdainfully scold people, which was constraining for brothers and sisters. I had had to have the final say on everything and wasn’t cooperative in my duty, and was instead autocratic and did whatever I wanted, seriously delaying and hindering the church’s work. Even when the leader dealt with me I paid it no mind. I even flaunted my seniority. I looked down on him and thought he wasn’t any better than me. I didn’t want to accept his supervision or guidance. I wanted to decide everything on my own. I dressed brothers and sisters down when they didn’t live up to my expectations, saying things like “You’ll be dismissed and cast out if you don’t do your duty well.” That kept them obsessed with work, afraid of being dealt with or losing their duty if they slipped up, and living in an incorrect state. How was that doing a duty? Wasn’t it doing evil, resisting God? That thought really scared me. I never imagined I’d do such evil, that I would constrain and wound brothers and sisters so much, that I would hinder and disrupt our work to that degree. I was fighting against God, but thought I was doing my duty to satisfy Him. I was so blind, ignorant, and irrational! I saw in God’s words that acting that way is putting yourself to death. In God’s phrase “putting themselves to death,” I got a sense of how revolted, disgusted, and sickened God is by that kind of person. It was heart-wrenching, as if God had condemned me to death. I thought I was able to sacrifice everything for my duty, that I’d always been successful in it, so God was sure to approve of me and a little bit of arrogance hardly mattered. But then I realized if I didn’t pursue the truth and failed to have dispositional change, then no matter how much I sacrificed or how much I achieved in my duty, I was just a service-doer. The judgment and revelation of God’s words showed me His righteous disposition that cannot be offended. I saw that God is perfectly principled in His actions. If a person accomplishes some things out in the world, they may have some capital and leverage. But in God’s house, the truth and righteousness hold sway. Using capital and leverage in the church is putting yourself to death and it offends God’s disposition.

Later, I was pondering why I felt I had some capital and started getting so reckless, arrogant and dictatorial after achieving a few things in my duty. What kind of nature was I being controlled by? I read this in God’s words: “If, in your heart, you truly understand the truth, then you will know how to practice the truth and obey God, and will naturally embark on the path of pursuing the truth. If the path you walk is the right one, and in line with God’s will, then the work of the Holy Spirit will not leave you—in which case there will be less and less chance of you betraying God. Without the truth, it is easy to do evil, and you will do it despite yourself. For example, if you have an arrogant and conceited disposition, then being told not to oppose God makes no difference, you can’t help yourself, it is beyond your control. You would not do it on purpose; you would do it under the domination of your arrogant and conceited nature. Your arrogance and conceit would make you look down on God and see Him as being of no account; they would cause you to exalt yourself, constantly put yourself on display; they would make you scorn others, they would leave no one in your heart but yourself; they would rob you of God’s place in your heart, and ultimately cause you to sit in the place of God and demand that people submit to you, and make you venerate your own thoughts, ideas, and notions as the truth. So much evil is done by people under the dominance of their arrogant and conceited nature!” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition). “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). God’s words taught me that the root of defiance and opposition to God is arrogance. When someone has an arrogant nature, they can’t stop themselves from opposing God and doing evil. Reflecting on what I revealed during this period of time, it was subject to the control of an arrogant nature. I was walking on air after achieving a few things, thinking I was of good caliber, was capable, that I was a rare talent, and that the church couldn’t do without me. I looked down on other brothers and sisters, often using my position to scold and constrain them, thinking nothing of them. I was dictatorial and arbitrary in my duty, not discussing anything with anyone else. I felt like I was fine on my own and I could make decisions unilaterally. I was incredibly arrogant and didn’t have any reverence for God. When the leader dealt with me, I did acknowledge my arrogance, but I didn’t truly care about it. I even felt like there wasn’t anything wrong with arrogance, thinking that being called that meant I had some skills. If I didn’t have some capital, why would I be arrogant? I was incredibly unreasonable and totally shameless. I was living by Satan’s poison of “In all the universe, only I reign supreme,” acting like king of the hill in the church, and I alone had final say on everything. How was I any different from the dictatorship of great red dragon? The great red dragon is arrogant and lawless, resorting to unprecedented means of violent repression against anyone who doesn’t listen to it. I was dictatorial and intractable in the church, not accepting anyone’s oversight. Wasn’t that kind of disposition just like the great red dragon? Only then did I realize how arrogant I had been, that I hadn’t cared about anyone else or even God, that I was unconsciously going against the truth, vying against God, and that I was on a path against God. If I didn’t repent, I’d definitely end up cursed and punished by God just like the great red dragon. Then it was really clear for me to see how serious the consequences of my arrogant nature were, that my problem wasn’t as simple as the exposure of a little corruption, as I had thought before. That thought reminded me of when I’d scolded and belittled others and elevated myself, that I spoke and presented myself as if I was unequaled in the world. I felt nauseated and disgusted by myself. I resolved that I had to start pursuing the truth properly, seeking principles in everything, revere God in my heart, and to stop living by my arrogant nature and resisting God.

Later on, when I was seeking how to appropriately approach any successes I might have in my duties, I read God’s words: “In the course of performing your duty, are you able to sense the guidance of God and the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit? (Yes.) If you are able to sense the work of the Holy Spirit and still think highly of yourself, and that you are possessed of reality, then what is going on here? (When our performance of our duty has borne some fruit, we will think that half the credit belongs to God, and half belongs to us. We will then magnify our cooperation to an unlimited extent, thinking that nothing is more important than our cooperation, and that God’s enlightenment would not have been possible without it.) So why did God enlighten you? Can God enlighten other people as well? (Yes.) When God enlightens someone, this is the grace of God. And what is that little bit of cooperation on your part? Is it something you are due credit for—or is it your duty, your responsibility? (Duty and responsibility.) When you recognize that it is duty and responsibility, this is the right state of mind, and you will not have thoughts of trying to take credit. If what you believe is always ‘This is my contribution. Would God’s enlightenment have been possible without my cooperation? This needs people’s cooperation; people’s cooperation accounts for the bulk of this,’ then this is wrong. How could you have cooperated if the Holy Spirit had not enlightened you, and if no one had fellowshiped the principles of the truth to you? You would not know what God requires, nor would you know the path of practice. Even if you wanted to obey God and cooperate, you wouldn’t know how. Is this ‘cooperation’ of yours not empty words? Without true cooperation, you’re only acting according to your own ideas—in which case, could the duty you perform be up to standard? Absolutely not, which indicates a problem. What problem does this indicate? No matter what duty a person performs, whether they achieve results, perform their duty up to standard, and gain God’s approval rests upon God’s actions. Even if you fulfill your responsibilities and duty, if God does not work, if God does not enlighten and guide you, then you won’t know your path, your direction, or your goals. What ultimately comes of that? After toiling for all that time, you will not have performed your duty properly, nor will you have gained the truth or the life—it will all have been in vain. Therefore, your duty being performed up to standard, benefiting your brothers and sisters, and obtaining God’s approval all depends on God! People can only do those things that they are personally capable of, that they ought to do, and that are within their inherent capabilities—nothing more. Therefore, ultimately, performing your duties in an effective manner depends on the guidance of God’s words and the enlightenment and leadership of the Holy Spirit; only then can you understand the truth, and complete God’s commission according to the path that God has given you and the principles that He has set. These are God’s grace and blessings, and if people cannot see this, they are blind” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Principles That Should Guide One’s Conduct). From God’s words, I understood that my achieving some things in my duty was entirely because of God’s grace and the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment and guidance. God became flesh and expressed the truth to water and supply man, fellowshiped clearly and concretely on all aspects of the truth and principles. Only then did I understand some truths, gain direction in my duty, and have a path of practice, and it was not at all because I had good caliber or could do some work. Without the guidance of God’s words or the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment, no matter my caliber or how well-spoken I was, I’d never achieve anything. And this little bit of work I had done was me doing the duty of a created being. It was my responsibility. Whatever duty it is, it’s what a created being should do. Anything accomplished is just what should be done, and should not be our personal contribution or capital. However, I didn’t know what I was made of. I thought a few achievements meant my caliber was good and that I was good at what I did, and took that as something I could leverage. I was so pleased with myself, trying to steal God’s glory. I was so arrogant and unreasonable! In fact, thinking back on it, not only did I fail to accomplish anything when I was working from my arrogance, but I often delayed our work. Like when I recklessly put the wrong person into a watering position, which left lots of newcomers unable to get the watering and sustenance they needed in time, seriously disrupting the work of the church. At the same time, I wasn’t entering into principles of the truth or leading the others to follow principles in their duty. That meant we weren’t accomplishing things in our work and it delayed our progress. But I’d never reflected on all of that. Instead, I congratulated myself and became more arrogant, feeling that the work of the church couldn’t spare me. But if God could enlighten me, of course He could enlighten others, so couldn’t the church’s work go on as usual after my dismissal? I thought the church couldn’t do without me because I was so arrogant and ignorant. I thought of Paul in the Age of Grace. He thought he had some capital after doing some work, so didn’t think anything of others. He directly said he was no less than the greatest disciple, and he often belittled Peter. In the end, he tried to use his work to ask God for a reward, a crown. He was arrogant to the point of losing reason. Was I not just like Paul? I was on the same path as him. Without the judgment and revelation of God’s words, I’d still be oblivious to my problems, thinking I was great. Seeing all of this, I really hated myself. I wanted to confess and repent to God.

Then I read a passage of God’s words: “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. … 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)). “God loves mankind, cares for mankind, and shows concern for mankind, as well as constantly and unceasingly providing for mankind. He never feels in His heart that this is additional work or something that deserves a lot of credit. Nor does He feel that saving humanity, supplying them, and granting them everything, is making a huge contribution to mankind. He simply provides for mankind quietly and silently, in His own way and through His own essence and what He has and is. No matter how much provision and how much help mankind receives from Him, God never thinks about or tries to take credit. This is determined by the essence of God, and is also precisely a true expression of God’s disposition” (The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself I). I pondered God’s words and saw how benevolent His disposition and essence are! God is the Creator who rules and sustains absolutely everything. He has become flesh again, expressing truths to save mankind, paying a great price for us. However, He has never thought of this as a huge contribution to mankind. He’s never talked up or boasted about anything. He just quietly does all His own work. God’s life essence is so benevolent and without any sort of arrogance or showing off. He is worthy of our love and eternal praise. I am an insignificant human, nothing at all, but I was still so arrogant, always wanting the final say in things. I was dizzy with the tiniest bit of success, as if it were some sort of magnum opus, some sort of great contribution. I looked down on everyone and had to have things my way. I was so unreasonable and superficial. God is so humble and hidden, and has such a benevolent essence, which makes me feel even more strongly how sickening and disgusting my arrogant disposition was and makes me truly long to learn the truth to get rid of it soon, to live out a human likeness.

Then, during a gathering once, I read this passage in God’s words. God says, “Today God judges you, chastises you, and condemns you, but you must know that the point of your condemnation is for you to know yourself. He condemns, curses, judges, and chastises so that you might know yourself, so that your disposition might change, and, moreover, so that you might know your worth, and see that all of God’s actions are righteous and in accordance with His disposition and the requirements of His work, that He works in accordance with His plan for man’s salvation, and that He is the righteous God who loves, saves, judges, and chastises man” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. You Should Put Aside the Blessings of Status and Understand God’s Will to Bring Salvation to Man). Reading this, I was really moved by God’s words and understood His will a little better. I was doing my duty relying on a corrupt disposition, disrupting the work, so I was dismissed by the church based on principles. I thought God was exposing and casting me out, and I figured He was condemning me and that I couldn’t be saved. I finally realized that being dismissed was not being exposed or cast out. That dismissal curbed the evil steps I was taking in good time. It made me aware of my corrupt disposition and showed me that I was on the wrong path. This was God’s salvation and most genuine love for me.

After that, I exposed and dissected myself in a gathering about how I’d been arrogant in my duty before, how I’d hurt brothers and sisters, and how I’d reflected after being dismissed. I initially thought everyone would be disgusted with me when they saw how inhumane I had been and wouldn’t want anything to do with me, but surprisingly they didn’t come down on me. I felt even more indebted to them then. I’d been hurting everyone with my arrogant disposition, I had been so inhumane. Later, when I took up a duty with brothers and sisters again, I was a lot more low-key. I stopped looking down on brothers and sisters or turning my nose up at them for their faults, and I could treat them properly. I also made a conscious effort to listen to others’ suggestions on issues and stopped trusting myself too much and acting arbitrarily. I had a good change in my state after a little while and was appointed as a supervisor again. I knew deep down that it was God uplifting and gracing me with that. I thought back on how I’d been arrogant in my duty before, and how I had disrupted and hindered the work of the church and the life entry of the brothers and sisters, and how the church still gave me another chance to do such an important duty. I truly experienced God’s mercy and leniency. In my duty after that, I stopped relying on my own arrogant disposition to act arbitrarily, but I had some fear for God, and was constantly praying to Him in my duties. When I encountered a problem I couldn’t deal with, I discussed it with the others so we could seek principles of the truth together. After doing that for a little while, I realized that our whole team’s performance had improved quite a bit. When I was doing everything on my own, and hadn’t partnered or discussed things with the others, it was really exhausting for me. There were a lot of things I wasn’t taking into account or considering fully, so we didn’t get good results. But now that I discuss issues that come up with my brothers and sisters and we make up for one another’s shortcomings with each other’s strengths, it’s so much easier to resolve problems. By cooperating with the others, I could see they really do have some strengths. Some of them pay attention to seeking the truth in their duties and operate in accordance with principles. Some may not have a lot of caliber, but they are diligent and uphold the work of the church. Those are strengths I don’t have. Before, I always thought that I was superior to and stronger than others, often elevating myself and scolding them, making everyone feel constrained and estranged from me, which was painful for me. Now I know that I am just a created being, a corrupt human, and that there is nothing that makes me stand out from everyone else. I interact normally and cooperate harmoniously with the brothers and sisters. I can learn from the strengths of my brothers and sisters to make up for my own faults. It’s a much more free and easy way to live.

About a year later, our leader arranged for a summary meeting so everyone could fellowship on what they’d learned and experienced over that year. I listened in silence, thinking over what I’d gained in the year. Then I realized that God had saved me by having me replaced. If it hadn’t been for that, I still wouldn’t see how serious my arrogant nature was, that I was smug and arbitrary just because I had some gifts, and I would still not have realized that I was resisting God. It was God’s discipline and the revelation of God’s words that allowed me to know my arrogant nature. This also taught me a bit about God’s righteous disposition and gave me some fear for God. I’m so grateful for God’s salvation!

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