7. I Wasn’t True in My Faith
By Michel, Cameroon
My family was always quite poor, and I had always dreamed of being a bank executive, to have a certain status in society, so we wouldn’t be so hard pressed for money. After I graduated from university, I started looking for work and sent out a lot of resumes, but I never landed an ideal job I wanted, and all I could get were average, low-paying jobs. In 2019, I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. Soon thereafter, I started doing my duty at the church, and was really excited. I thought that if I did my best for God, then He’d certainly bless me and help me find the job I wanted. So, I kept sending out resumes while doing my duty.
In June, 2021, I got a call from a company, asking me to go in for an interview. It was a multinational company, and its CEO had been making investments all over the world. He also owned a large bank that I’d always wanted to work for, but nothing ever came of my interviews with them. I’d never thought that company would take the initiative to call me in for an interview. It was such a pleasant surprise. I felt it was God giving me a chance, and if I could work at that multinational company, it would be God’s grace. I told myself that I’d definitely get a manager’s position because God would help me. I was thrilled that I was finally getting a chance at my dream job, and it would make the Master’s degree I’d worked so hard on worth it. I started imagining how, after getting this job, my life would change in the future, that I’d have lots of money, my own house, and be able to buy whatever I wanted. I’d be able to take care of my family. I thought that once I started working there, everything would get better.
At the interview, I saw there were three candidates, and I started to feel anxious I wouldn’t be selected, but I told myself, “No, this job will be mine. I’m a child of God and He’ll certainly be gracious toward me. No matter what, God will save this position for me, and I’m also confident in my own capabilities.” During the interview, I answered all the questions and the interviewer told me that if I was successful then they would call me within five days. I felt confident I’d be selected. Throughout those five days, I was waiting on pins and needles for a call. But after a week had gone by, I still hadn’t received a call from them, and I realized I’d failed the interview. I was heartbroken and started asking myself why I’d failed. I’d relied on God and prayed to Him, so why wasn’t I successful? I was feeling really negative and weak, and started to blame God. I’d been a believer for over two years and had been doing my duty the whole time. I’d never strayed from God or given up on my duty. Why wouldn’t He give me grace? I became more depressed and miserable, to the point that I didn’t attend gatherings for a whole week. When the brothers and sisters contacted me, I got really annoyed, and didn’t want to respond, nor did I want to talk. I just wanted to be alone. During that time, I couldn’t find any motivation or goals, I didn’t want to do anything at all. I stopped preaching the gospel, and didn’t want to read God’s words. I just stayed in my room all day. I didn’t want to leave the house, and didn’t even have an appetite.
One day I heard a hymn of God’s words “What God Wants in Trials Is Man’s True Heart”:
1 When God is trying people, what kind of reality does He wish to create? He is constantly asking that people give Him their hearts. When God tries you, He sees if your heart is with Him, with the flesh, or with Satan. When God tries you, He sees whether you are standing in opposition to Him or are in a position that is compatible with Him, and He also sees whether your heart is on His side.
2 When you are immature and facing trials, you have little confidence, and you cannot know exactly what it is you need to do to fulfill God’s intentions, for your understanding of the truth is limited. However, if you can still pray to God genuinely and sincerely, and if you can be willing to give your heart over to Him, make Him your sovereign, and be willing to offer unto Him all those things that you believe to be most precious, then you will have already given God your heart.
3 As you listen to more sermons and understand more of the truth, your stature will also gradually grow. At this time, the standard of God’s demands will not be the same as it was when you were immature; He will demand a higher standard of you. As people gradually give their hearts over to God, their hearts grow slowly nearer to Him; as people can genuinely grow nearer to God, then their hearts will revere Him ever more. What God wants is just such a heart.
from Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs
Then I understood that when God tests people, He’s observing their hearts, whether they’re submitting to God in the environment He’s set up. When reflecting on myself, I realized that instead of giving God my heart, I was thinking about how to use Him to satisfy my own desires. When I didn’t get the job, wealth, and comfortable life I’d wanted, I grew negative and weak, and I didn’t even want to attend gatherings or do my duty. This was a betrayal of God, and I had lost my testimony for God. So I prayed, “Almighty God, You’ve revealed that I’m not devoted or true to You. I haven’t truly submitted to You or stood witness for You. God, please have mercy on me. I want to repent.”
After my prayer I felt much more at peace, and I responded to my brothers’ and sisters’ messages. A sister asked me about my state and I told her all about what I’d been going through. She sent me a passage of God’s words: “No one goes their whole life without suffering. For some people, it has to do with family, for some, with work, for some, with marriage, and for some, with physical illness. Everyone suffers. Some say, ‘Why must people suffer? How great it would be to live our whole lives peacefully and happily. Can’t we not suffer?’ No—everyone must suffer. Suffering causes every person to experience the myriad sensations of physical life, whether these sensations be positive, negative, active or passive; suffering gives you different feelings and appreciations, which, for you, are all life experience. That is one aspect, and it is in order to make people more experienced. If you can seek the truth and understand God’s will from this, then you will draw ever closer to the standard God requires of you. Another aspect is that it is the responsibility that God gives to man. What responsibility? This is the suffering you should undergo. If you can take on this suffering and bear it, then this is testimony, and not something shameful” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Resolving One’s Notions Can One Embark on the Right Track of Belief in God (1)). I learned from God’s words that everyone undergoes struggles in life, whether they’re a believer or not. Suffering is a part of life, and it’s by no means devoid of value. Suffering can enrich our experience and can bring us closer to God, so that we can come before God to seek the truth and His will. We’ve been so deeply corrupted by Satan, we’re all greedy, we covet glory, we pursue status and a good future, and don’t love the truth. If we live easy lives in comfort, then we’ll grow more distant from God and become more and more depraved. God allowing that to happen to me was to bring me before God in prayer, to have me seek the truth, so that I could gain true faith in God and draw nearer to Him. After understanding God’s earnest intentions, I no longer wanted to fight that situation, but wanted to obey God and go on with my duty.
After that, I read another passage, which gave me some awareness of my corrupt disposition. God says, “In people’s life experiences, they often think to themselves, I’ve given up my family and career for God, and what has He given me? I must add it up, and confirm it—have I received any blessings recently? I’ve given a lot during this time, I’ve run and run, and have suffered much—has God given me any promises in return? Has He remembered my good deeds? What will my end be? Can I receive God’s blessings? … Every person constantly makes such calculations within their heart, and they make demands of God which bear their motivations, ambitions, and a transactional mentality. This is to say, in his heart man is constantly testing God, constantly devising plans about God, constantly arguing the case for his own individual end with God, and trying to extract a statement from God, seeing whether or not God can give him what he wants. At the same time as pursuing God, man does not treat God as God. Man has always tried to make deals with God, ceaselessly making demands of Him, and even pressing Him at every step, trying to take a mile after being given an inch. At the same time as trying to make deals with God, man also argues with Him, and there are even people who, when trials befall them or they find themselves in certain situations, often become weak, passive and slack in their work, and full of complaints about God. From the time when man first began to believe in God, he has considered God to be a cornucopia, a Swiss Army knife, and he has considered himself to be God’s greatest creditor, as if trying to get blessings and promises from God were his inherent right and obligation, while God’s responsibility were to protect and care for man, and to provide for him. Such is the basic understanding of ‘belief in God’ of all those who believe in God, and such is their deepest understanding of the concept of belief in God. From man’s nature and essence to his subjective pursuit, there is nothing that relates to the fear of God. Man’s aim in believing in God could not possibly have anything to do with the worship of God. That is to say, man has never considered nor understood that belief in God requires fearing and worshiping God. In light of such conditions, man’s essence is obvious. What is this essence? It is that man’s heart is malicious, harbors treachery and deceit, does not love fairness and righteousness and that which is positive, and it is contemptible and greedy. Man’s heart could not be more closed to God; he has not given it to God at all. God has never seen man’s true heart, nor has He ever been worshiped by man. No matter how great the price God pays, or how much work He does, or how much He provides to man, man remains blind and utterly indifferent to it all. Man has never given his heart to God, he only wants to mind his heart himself, to make his own decisions—the subtext of which is that man does not want to follow the way of fearing God and shunning evil, or to obey the sovereignty and arrangements of God, nor does he want to worship God as God. Such is the state of man today” (The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II). God’s words revealed my true state and made me feel really ashamed. My faith had just been for the sake of grace, and though I had expended myself for God and suffered a little, it was not to satisfy Him, instead it was entirely to be rewarded by Him. I had put so much time and energy into my duty, in the hopes that God would bestow His grace upon me and allow me to find an ideal job. Then I’d want for nothing, and my family and I would no longer suffer, but live happily. That was my goal. But after more than two years of faith, I still hadn’t found the job of my dreams, the blessings I’d been pursuing hadn’t materialized, and thus I lost my motivation to follow God and fulfill my duty. It wasn’t until reality showed me that I realized I’d been cheating God all along, trying to make deals with Him. My hard work for God and actively fulfilling of my duty stemmed from ulterior motives—to gain more grace and blessings from God. The enlightenment within God’s words showed me my own selfishness, that I was only thinking of myself and my family, forcing my demands upon God, making extravagant demands of Him. I wasn’t treating Him like God, and I wasn’t actually worshiping God in my faith. Instead, I was demanding payment from God as if He were my debtor, asking Him for special favors, and using Him to fulfill my desires. God has already given us life, and has unconditionally given us so many truths. God has become flesh and suffered so much to save humanity, corrupted by Satan, all so we can gain the truth, cast off our corrupt disposition, and be fully saved by God. God’s love for us is tremendous, and He’s given us so much grace. But I was blind to God’s love and never cared about His will. I only knew how to make demands. I had no conscience or reason!
Later on, I read another passage of God’s words. “No matter how they are tried, the allegiance of those who have God in their heart remains unchanged; but for those who do not have God in their heart, once the work of God is not advantageous to their flesh, they change their view of God, and even depart from God. Such are those who will not stand fast in the end, who only seek God’s blessings and have no desire to expend themselves for God and dedicate themselves to Him. Such base people will all be expelled when God’s work comes to an end, and they are unworthy of any sympathy. Those without humanity are incapable of truly loving God. When the environment is safe and secure, or there are profits to be made, they are totally obedient toward God, but once that which they desire is compromised or finally refuted, they immediately revolt. Even in the space of just one night, they may go from a smiling, ‘kind-hearted’ person to an ugly-looking and ferocious killer, suddenly treating their benefactor of yesterday as their mortal enemy, without rhyme or reason. If these demons are not cast out, these demons that would kill without blinking an eye, will they not become a hidden danger?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God’s Work and Man’s Practice). God’s words tell us that only those with a place for God in their hearts can stand witness through His trials, while those without God in their hearts only consider their own interests. When they obtain some fleshly gain, they force themselves to obey God, but as soon as their desires aren’t satisfied, they immediately become hostile toward God, blaming and betraying Him. This is the sort of person who God hates and will eliminate—they are like demons. Pondering God’s words, I realized, wasn’t I just exactly that sort of person? My faith in God was for graces alone. As soon as things didn’t go the way I wanted, I lost my drive in my duty, and blamed God, and had no devotion or submission for Him whatsoever. I saw that my faith in God wasn’t genuine, that I was cheating God and making deals, and He’d never recognize that kind of faith. In the last days, God is making a group of overcomers. These people, like Job, are able to stand witness for God through hardship and trials. Only they are the ones whom God will perfect in the end, and only they will deserve God’s approval and blessings. During Job’s trials, he lost his children and all his possessions, and his body was covered in sores; he suffered through so much, yet he never blamed God for his suffering. On the contrary, he was still able to praise God’s name and submit to God’s rule. His faith in God never wavered, and in the end he bore resounding witness for God, and brought glory to Him. Now that I hadn’t undergone any major trials and only my desire for blessings was unfulfilled, I blamed God and slacked off in my work. Not only could I not bear witness to God, I had become the personification of shame. I fell far short of God’s requirements.
One day, I read this passage of God’s words: “If I were to place some money in front of you right now and give you the freedom to choose—and if I did not condemn you for your choice—then most of you would choose the money and forsake the truth. The better among you would give up the money and choose the truth reluctantly, while those in-between would seize the money in one hand and the truth in the other. Would your true colors thus not become self-evident? When choosing between the truth and anything to which you are loyal, you would all make this choice, and your attitude would remain the same. Is that not so? Are there not many among you who have seesawed between right and wrong? In contests between positive and negative, black and white, you are surely aware of the choices that you have made between family and God, children and God, peace and disruption, riches and poverty, status and ordinariness, being supported and being cast aside, and so on. Between a peaceful family and a broken one, you chose the former, and you did so without any hesitation; between riches and duty, you again chose the former, even lacking the will to return to shore; between luxury and poverty, you chose the former; when choosing between your sons, daughters, wives and husbands, and Me, you chose the former; and between notion and truth, you once again chose the former. Faced with all manner of your evil deeds, I have simply lost faith in you. It simply astounds Me that your hearts are so resistant to being softened. Many years of dedication and effort have apparently brought Me nothing more than your abandonment and despair, but My hopes for you grow with each passing day, for My day has been completely laid bare before everyone. Yet you persist in seeking dark and evil things, and refuse to loosen your grip on them. What, then, will be your outcome? Have you ever given careful consideration to this? If you were asked to choose again, what then would be your position? Would it still be the former? Would you still bring Me disappointment and wretched sorrow? Would your hearts still possess the sole modicum of warmth? Would you still be unaware of what to do to comfort My heart? At this moment, what do you choose? Will you submit to My words or be weary of them? My day has been laid out before your very eyes, and what you face is a new life and a new starting point. However, I must tell you that this starting point is not the beginning of past new work, but the conclusion of the old. That is, this is the final act. I think you can all understand what is unusual about this starting point. One day soon, however, you will understand the true meaning of this starting point, so let us move past it together and welcome the finale to come!” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. To Whom Are You Loyal?). God’s words moved me greatly, and I saw that I bore a nature of betraying God. I only loved material possessions and money, status and fame, but not the truth. Despite the fact that our nature is loathsome to God, He still disregards our rebelliousness and corruption, but looks at whether we’re currently pursuing the truth, whether we’ve repented and changed. God wants to fully save us from Satan’s influence and bring us into His kingdom. But I hadn’t treasured God’s salvation or sought to gain the truth. I was focused on finding a good job with a high salary, longing for wealth and fleshly comforts. I was so foolish! Only the truth can save people, cleanse our corruption, allow us to distinguish good and evil, and escape Satan’s deception and harm. Understanding the truth could help me know God, know how to live, and how to find meaning in life. Pursuing money and material pleasures would only take me farther from God, leaving me increasingly greedy and indulgent, losing my chance at salvation. Just like the Lord Jesus said, “And again I say to you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24). Also, the Lord Jesus warned us, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. But seek you first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:31–33). Disasters are growing all the time. What’s most important right now is to equip ourselves with truth and work hard in our duties. While doing our duties, we must seek to cast off corrupt disposition, to become qualified created beings, to obey and worship God. Nothing else has value or meaning. I also realized that whether I found a good job depended entirely on God’s arrangements. I was willing to put myself entirely in His hands and follow His arrangements!
Later, I read another passage from God: “There is no correlation between the duty of man and whether he is blessed or cursed. Duty is what man ought to fulfill; it is his heaven-sent vocation, and should not depend on recompense, conditions, or reasons. Only then is he doing his duty. To be blessed is when someone is made perfect and enjoys God’s blessings after experiencing judgment. To be cursed is when someone’s disposition does not change after they have experienced chastisement and judgment, it is when they do not experience being made perfect but are punished. But regardless of whether they are blessed or cursed, created beings should fulfill their duty, doing what they ought to do, and doing what they are able to do; this is the least that a person, a person who pursues God, should do. You should not do your duty only to be blessed, and you should not refuse to act for fear of being cursed. Let Me tell you this one thing: Man’s performance of his duty is what he ought to do, and if he is incapable of performing his duty, then this is his rebelliousness” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Difference Between the Ministry of God Incarnate and the Duty of Man). After reading God’s words, I learned that whether God gives us fortune or calamity, we must do our own duty properly. This is our responsibility, and I should not make conditions. After experiencing a series of failures in my pursuit of a job, I saw that I could cease fulfilling my duty simply because I was not receiving any benefits. This was an incorrect attitude toward my duty. As a created being, I had a responsibility to do my part. Regardless of what situation God puts me through, whether I understand His will or not, no matter how weak or negative I become, I must keep to my duty, because I am a created being who should submit to God unconditionally. I have no right to demand anything of God or make deals with Him. After realizing all this, I began taking my duty seriously, spreading the gospel every day as well as I could, and I felt that only by doing so could I feel at ease.
One day, I received an invitation for an interview from a school. I knew this school was very prestigious, and that if I were hired I’d have a high salary. During the interview, I said to God in my heart, “God, I don’t ask of You for this job, I’m simply willing to submit to Your arrangements. Even if I don’t get the job, I’ll still praise You and continue doing my duty.” The results of the written portion were released, and I was in the top five candidates. I was truly ecstatic. But after the oral interviews, I found out I hadn’t been selected, and instead a friend of mine had. While I was happy for my friend, I did feel a little disappointed. I prayed to God to watch over my heart so I could submit to His rule. I felt so calm after my prayer, and I went back to doing my duty as usual, because I knew that if God allowed it, I would have gotten the job, but otherwise, no amount of hard work would land me the job. I believed that all of this is in God’s hands, and no one can overrule God. When I thought about it that way, I felt a strong internal motivating force. This time, I couldn’t lose my testimony like before. No matter how God had arranged things, I really wanted to do my duty to the utmost. This was my responsibility.
This experience had shown me how adulterated my faith was, and that I was even capable of cheating God, and trying to make deals with Him. It was the guidance of God’s words that helped me understand myself and turn my mistaken pursuits around. I’m so grateful for God’s love!