77. Craving Comfort Gets You Nothing
By Kristin, Sweden
Last July, I was put in charge of video work. At the start, I often looked into the problems and difficulties my brothers and sisters were having in performing their duties, and sought the truth with them to find solutions. After some time passed, there was an obvious improvement in the results of work. I thought, “Now that work is steadily improving, there should be no major problems. Even if a problem occurs, it won’t affect our work results, and we’ll have time to solve it.” Seeing that everyone was proactive in their duties and could pay a price, I thought I didn’t need to worry too much. During that period, following up on everything often meant going to bed late, and sometimes I was too busy to eat on time. I felt pretty tired, and I hadn’t been in the best health, so I thought I should take things easy. After that, I started to relax about work, and I wasn’t as diligent in keeping track of it. Sometimes, I only asked perfunctorily, I seldom looked into the details of my brothers’ and sisters’ duties, and I didn’t think about how to further improve the results of our work.
Soon, several videos we produced had problems and had to be redone, which directly affected the progress of work. When I saw this situation, I was very worried. I also realized that it didn’t happen by accident, and that there were lessons for me to learn, so I prayed to God, asking Him to guide me in understanding His will. After I prayed, I asked the team leader why we were having these problems. The team leader said, “Some brothers and sisters sought quick success and performed their duties without principles. They only focused on progress, not quality. Another reason is that I haven’t followed up on the work, and didn’t discover the problems in time.” This made me think angrily, “How many times have I told you about these problems? Why are they still happening?” I wanted to rebuke the team leader, but then I thought, “Don’t I have the same problem as the team leader? After all, I didn’t follow up either.” So, I swallowed my words. Then, I quickly checked the videos everyone made during this period and found that some people hadn’t made progress in their duties, and some even regressed. These were such obvious problems, how had I not found them before? I was clearly aware this was due to me not doing practical work. I felt remorse, so I prayed to God, asking Him to guide me in reflecting and knowing myself.
The next day, in my devotionals, I read a passage of God’s word. “If you are not assiduous in reading God’s words, and you do not understand the truth, then you cannot reflect on yourself; you will merely be satisfied with making a token effort and committing no transgression, and use this as capital. You will pass each day in a muddle, live in a state of confusion, merely do things on schedule, not apply yourself, never engage your mind, and always be cursory and slapdash. In this way, you will never perform your duty to an acceptable standard. To put all your effort into something, you must first put all your heart into it; only when you first put all your heart into something can you put all your effort into it, and do your best. Today, there are those who have begun to be assiduous in performing their duty, they have begun to think about how to properly carry out the duty of a created being in order to satisfy God’s heart. They are not negative and lazy, they do not passively wait for the Above to issue orders, but take some initiative. Judging by your performance of your duty, you are a little more effective than before, and although it is still below standard, there has been a little growth—which is good. But you must not be satisfied with the status quo, you must keep searching, keep growing—only then will you perform your duty better, and reach an acceptable standard. But when some people perform their duty, they never pull out all the stops and give it their all, they only give 50-60% of their effort, and just make do until what they are doing is done. They can never maintain a state of normalcy: When there’s no one to keep an eye on them or offer support, they slacken off and lose heart; when there’s someone to fellowship the truth, they perk up, but if the truth isn’t fellowshiped to them for a while, they become indifferent. What is the problem when they always go back and forth like this? This is how people are when they haven’t gained the truth, they all live by passion—a passion which is incredibly difficult to maintain: They must have someone preach and fellowship to them every day; once there is no one to water and provide for them, and no one to support them, their hearts go cold again, they slacken once more. And when their hearts slacken, they become less effective in their duty; if they work harder, effectiveness increases, their performance of their duty becomes more productive, and they gain more. Is this your experience? You might say, ‘Why do we always have trouble performing our duty? When these problems are solved, we are invigorated; when they aren’t, we grow indifferent. When there is some outcome when we perform our duty, when God praises us for our growth, we are delighted, and we feel that we have finally grown up, but before long, when we encounter a difficulty, we become negative again—why is this kind of state always inconsistent?’ In fact, the main reasons are that you understand too few truths, lack depth in experiences and entry, you still do not understand many truths, you lack will, and are satisfied with just about being able to perform your duty. If you do not understand the truth, how can you perform your duty adequately? In fact, what God asks of people is all attainable by people; as long as you engage your conscience, and are able to follow your conscience in performing your duty, then it will be easy to accept the truth—and if you can accept the truth, you can perform your duty adequately. You must think in this way: ‘Believing in God during these years, eating and drinking God’s words during these years, I have gained a huge amount, and God has bestowed great graces and blessings upon me. I live in God’s hands, I live under God’s power, beneath His dominion, and He has given me this breath, so I should engage my mind, and strive to perform my duty with all my strength—this is what’s key.’ People must have a will; only those who have a will can truly strive for the truth, and only once they have understood the truth can they perform their duty properly, and satisfy God, and bring shame upon Satan. If you have this kind of sincerity, and do not plan for your own sake, but only to gain the truth and perform your duty properly, then your performance of your duty will become normal, and will remain constant throughout; no matter what circumstances you encounter, you will be able to persist in performing your duty. Regardless of who or what may come to mislead or disturb you, no matter whether your mood is good or bad, you will still be able to perform your duty normally. In this way, God can set His mind at rest about you, and the Holy Spirit will be able to enlighten you in understanding the principles of the truth, and guide you in entering the reality of the truth, and as a result, your performance of your duty will be sure to be up to standard. As long as you sincerely expend for God, do your duty in a down-to-earth way, and not act in a slippery way or play tricks, you will pass muster with God. God observes people’s minds, thoughts, and motives. If your heart longs for the truth and you can seek the truth, God will enlighten and illuminate you” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. In Believing in God, What Is Most Important Is to Practice and Experience His Words). After contemplating God’s word, I reflected on myself and realized I had achieved some results in my duty recently, so I began to feel self-satisfied and started to consider my flesh. I was tired after being busy for so long, so I thought I should be kinder to myself, and I began to relax and slack off in my duty. I took a hands-off approach and failed to learn about how others were performing their duties in a timely manner. Although I knew there were still some problems to be solved in our work, I felt no urgency. I thought it was fine as long as it didn’t affect our current results. Everyone tends to muddle through and slack off in their duties, but despite that, I didn’t follow up, I muddled through my duty, and I was inattentive and irresponsible. How could problems not appear in the work? The church had given me the chance to practice and had allowed me to be a supervisor in the hope that I could be attentive and responsible in my duty, that I would spare no effort in my duty, and fulfill my responsibilities. This is the only way to make progress. But I treated my duty as if it was a job, and I was working for someone else. I took every chance to worry less and contribute less. I felt no sense of worry or urgency. I never thought about how to do things better or achieve the best results. I only considered how I could suffer less and not be tired. I wasn’t considerate of God’s will at all. It was then that I realized my attitude toward performing my duty was wrong and I was playing games with God.
During a gathering, I saw a passage of God’s word revealing false leaders that affected me deeply. God’s words say, “Because false leaders do not understand the status of the work’s progress, they are incapable of promptly identifying—much less solving—problems that appear in work, which often leads to repeated delays. In certain work, because people have no grasp of the principles and there is no one suitable to preside over it, those who are carrying out the work frequently reside in a state of negativity, passivity, and waiting, which severely affects the progress of the work. If the leader had fulfilled their responsibilities—if they had taken charge, pushed the work forward, hurried them along, and found someone who understands the type of work involved to give guidance, then the work would have progressed more quickly rather than suffer repeated delays. For leaders, then, it is vital to understand and grasp the actual situation of the work. It is, of course, highly necessary for leaders to understand and grasp how work is progressing—for progress relates to the efficiency of the work and the results that this work is intended to achieve. If a leader lacks even a grasp of how the work is progressing, and does not check up on it or keep an eye on it, then most of the people performing a duty will have a negative and passive attitude, they will be severely apathetic and have no sense of burden, they will be careless and perfunctory, and thus the work is bound to progress slowly. If there is no one with a sense of burden, and who is work-savvy, to provide guidance and supervision—and to discipline and deal with people—then work efficiency and effectiveness will naturally be very low. If leaders and workers can’t even see this, they are stupid and blind. And so, it is of the utmost importance that leaders and workers are prompt in finding out more about, keeping check on, and familiarizing themselves with the progress of work. People are indolent, so without guidance, urging, and following-up by leaders and workers, who possess an up-to-date understanding of the work’s progress, people are liable to slack off, to be lazy, to be perfunctory—if this is their attitude toward their work, the progress of this work will be severely impacted, as will its effectiveness. Given these circumstances, qualified leaders and workers should promptly keep track of every item of work and stay informed about the situation regarding staff and the work; they should absolutely not be like false leaders. False leaders are careless and slapdash in their work, they have no sense of responsibility, they don’t solve problems when they arise, and no matter what work it is, they always ‘admire the flowers from the back of a galloping horse’; they are careless and perfunctory; everything they say is high-sounding and empty, they spout doctrine, and go through the motions. In general, this is the way false leaders work. To compare them with antichrists, although they do nothing overtly evil and are not deliberately maleficent, from the perspective of effectiveness, it is fair to define them as being careless and perfunctory, as lacking any sense of burden, as having no sense of responsibility or loyalty toward their work” (The Word, Vol. 5. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). After reading God’s words, I felt very guilty. Wasn’t my behavior the same as a false leader? I was lazy and indulgent of my flesh, and I didn’t follow up or monitor work, which seriously affected the overall progress and results of our work. My imaginings told me that work was handled well and there weren’t many problems, but actually, there were still many problems to solve. Because I didn’t bear a burden and was irresponsible, I had been blind to all of our problems. Through reflection, I also realized I held a mistaken view. When I saw my brothers and sisters proactive and making progress in their duties, I thought everyone was very motivated in their duties and didn’t need to be monitored. God’s word revealed long ago that people have inertia and that all their corrupt dispositions are deep-rooted. Before people gain the truth, and before their dispositions change, they always indulge the flesh and crave ease, they muddle through and use cunning and tricks in their duties, and sometimes they act on their own ideas and don’t practice according to principles. I was no exception. Without God’s judgment and chastisement, and without the reminders and supervision of our brothers and sisters, we can easily slack off, and problems are likely to appear in our duties. So, I need to follow up and supervise work, as well as quickly discover and resolve problems and deviations in our duties for work to proceed smoothly. But I didn’t understand people’s corrupt nature or view people and things by God’s word. I simply relied on my own imaginings, didn’t check or follow up on work, didn’t resolve problems in time, yet wished to get good results. This was a manifestation of a false leader not doing practical work. Although I did no obvious evil, my irresponsibility impacted and delayed work, and that loss was irreparable. When I realized these things, I opened up and fellowshiped with my brothers and sisters about my state. I also pointed out how everyone took their duties too lightly and failed to seek progress in their duties, and we sought solutions together. After that, I was a little more serious in my duty. Whenever I finished work, I’d contemplate whether there was any room for improvement. I often followed up on and looked into work, and there were some improvements in our results.
Soon after, we encountered a problem in making videos, and the team leader asked me if I had any good methods or suggestions. I didn’t know how to answer, so I said, “I haven’t come up with a good solution yet, so let’s keep thinking about it.” But after that, I didn’t promptly seek out a resolution to the problem because I knew that breaking through this difficulty wasn’t something that could be achieved by simply speaking a few words. I would have to look up information and research, and this would take a lot of time and effort, and I would need to constantly try things and evaluate results. Whether I would succeed in the end is hard to say. If it didn’t work, wouldn’t all my effort be wasted? The more I thought about it, the more it felt like a tedious chore. I thought, “Forget it, things are fine as they are. Our work results are good for the moment, so there’s no rush to solve this.” And then I put the problem aside. But I felt a little uneasy. It wasn’t that I had no way to solve it. All I had to do was pay a little more price. The team leader then said, “The brothers and sisters are having difficulties, and we have to solve them.” The team leader’s reminder made me reflect, “As the supervisor, shouldn’t I take the lead in handling difficulties and solving people’s problems? But when I see difficulties, I avoid them, and I have no sense of responsibility.” I felt guilty, so I prayed to God, “God, when I face difficulties in work, I never want to work hard and always consider my fleshly interests. I know this is not in line with Your will. Please guide me in reflecting on myself and changing my incorrect state.”
During my devotionals, I wondered about why I always considered my flesh in my duty and why I couldn’t pay a price to do practical work. One day, I read two passages of God’s words. Almighty God says, “So what is Satan’s poison? How can it be expressed? For example, if you ask, ‘How should people live? What should people live for?’ people will answer, ‘Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.’ This single phrase expresses the very root of the problem. Satan’s philosophy and logic has become people’s lives. No matter what people pursue after, they do it for themselves—and so they live only for themselves. ‘Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost’—this is the life philosophy of man, and it also represents human nature. These words have already become the nature of corrupt mankind, the true portrait of corrupt mankind’s satanic nature, and this satanic nature has already become the basis for corrupt mankind’s existence; for several thousand years, corrupt mankind has lived by this venom of Satan, right up to the present day” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. How to Walk the Path of Peter). “Man’s flesh is like the snake: Its substance is to harm their lives—and when it completely gets its own way, your life becomes forfeit. The flesh belongs to Satan. Within it are extravagant desires, it thinks only for itself, it wants to enjoy comfort and revel in leisure, wallowing in sloth and idleness, and having satisfied it to a certain point you will ultimately be eaten up by it. Which is to say, if you satisfy it this time, next time it will come asking for more. It always has extravagant desires and new demands, and takes advantage of your pandering to the flesh to make you cherish it even more and live among its comforts—and if you do not overcome it, you will ultimately ruin yourself. Whether you can gain life before God and what your ultimate end will be, depend on how you carry out your rebellion against the flesh. God has saved you and chosen you and predestined you, yet if today you are unwilling to satisfy Him, you are unwilling to put the truth into practice, you are unwilling to rebel against your own flesh with a heart that truly loves God, ultimately you will ruin yourself, and will thus endure extreme pain. If you always pander to the flesh, Satan will gradually swallow you up, and leave you without life, or the touch of the Spirit, until the day comes when you are completely dark inside. When you live in darkness, you will have been taken captive by Satan, you will no longer have God in your heart, and at that time you will deny God’s existence and leave Him” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God). After reading God’s words, I saw how dangerous my state was, I lived by the satanic philosophy “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.” I was especially selfish, and no matter what happened, I always considered my own fleshly interests first. When I encountered a problem that needed to be solved in my duty, I never thought about how to benefit the work of the church. I was always concerned for my flesh, and always wanted to suffer less and pay less of a price. Actually, for some problems, as long as I paid a price and took a little time to study and figure them out, I could solve them, but because I cared for my flesh too much and was unwilling to suffer, I felt that professional research was too much mental effort. As a result, the problem was never solved, and the work never improved. God’s word reveals that people’s flesh essentially belongs to Satan, and the flesh always has many desires and demands. The more we satisfy it, the greater its desire, and when there is a conflict between our fleshly interests and our duties, if we always crave comfort, we will follow the flesh, and put the work of the church aside. This satisfies the flesh, but harms the church’s work, makes us fall into darkness, and damages our lives. The consequences of indulging the flesh and craving comfort are serious. I couldn’t see the essence of the flesh, and I always craved comfort. I considered fleshly enjoyment more important than anything. Weren’t my pursuits and views the same as those of unbelievers? Unbelievers often say “be kind to yourself,” which is to say, don’t let your flesh suffer, and satisfy all the desires and demands of the flesh. They live only for the flesh, they don’t understand the value and meaning of human life at all, and they don’t have right direction and purpose in life. They pass their lives in emptiness, living entirely in vain. Is there any meaning in living this way? Some people in the church always crave fleshly pleasure, don’t pursue the truth, neglect their duties, play tricks, and slack off, which seriously harms the work of the church, and in the end, they are dismissed and cast out. Then I thought about myself. I had believed in God for years, but my views hadn’t changed at all. I valued my fleshly interests more than the truth. I only craved comfort, and I merely went through the motions to get by in my duty. If this continued, wouldn’t I also be rejected and cast out by God? When I realized this, I felt very afraid. I could no longer be considerate of my flesh. I wanted to earnestly perform my duty and fulfill my responsibilities.
One day, I read God’s words and found a path of practice. God’s words say, “People who truly believe in God perform their duties willingly, without calculating their own gains and losses. No matter whether you are someone who pursues the truth, you must always rely on your conscience and reason and really work hard when you perform your duty. What does it mean to really work hard? If you are merely satisfied with making some token effort, and suffering a little physical hardship, but you do not take your duty seriously at all or seek the principles of the truth, then this is nothing more than being careless and perfunctory—it is not truly making an effort. Key to making an effort is putting your heart into it, fearing God in your heart, being mindful of God’s will, being terrified of disobeying God and hurting God, and suffering any hardship in order to perform your duty well and satisfy God: If you have a heart that loves God in this way, you will be able to perform your duty properly. If there is no fear of God in your heart, you will have no burden when you perform your duty, will have no interest in it, and will inevitably be careless and perfunctory, and go through the motions, without producing any real effect—which is not performing a duty. If you truly have a sense of burden, and feel like performing your duty is your personal responsibility, and that if you don’t, you are not fit to live, and are a beast, that only if you perform your duty properly are you worthy of being called a human being, and can face your own conscience—if you have this sense of burden when you perform your duty—then you will be able to do everything conscientiously, and will be able to seek the truth and do things according to the principles, and so will be able to do your duty properly and satisfy God. If you are worthy of the mission that God has given you, and of all that God has sacrificed for you and His expectations of you, then this is truly trying hard” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. To Perform One’s Duty Well, One Must at Least Be Possessed of a Conscience and Reason). “When selfishness and opportunism appear in you, and you realize it, you should pray to God and seek the truth in order to address this. The first thing you should be aware of is that in essence, acting in this way is a violation of the principles of the truth, it is harmful to the work of the church, it is selfish and despicable behavior, it is not what normal people ought to be doing. You should put aside your own interests and selfishness, and should think of the work of the church—that is what God wills. After reflecting on yourself through prayer, if you truly realize that acting thus is selfish and despicable, putting aside your own selfishness will be easy. When you put aside your selfishness and opportunism, you will feel grounded, you will be at peace, joyous, and will feel that there should be conscience and sense to how you conduct yourself, that you should think of the church’s work, that you should not fixate on your own interests, which is so selfish, despicable, and devoid of conscience or sense. Acting selflessly, thinking of the work of the church, and only doing what satisfies God is righteous and honorable, and will bring value to your existence. Living this way on earth, you are being open and honest, you are living out normal humanity, and the true image of man, and not only do you have a clear conscience, but are also worthy of all the things bestowed upon you by God. The more you live like this, the more grounded you will feel, the more peaceful and joyous you will be, and the brighter you will feel. As such, will you not have set foot upon the right track of faith in God?” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. In Giving One’s Heart to God, One Can Obtain the Truth). I understood that to perform my duty well, I have to work hard. I can’t just outwardly work hard and pay a price. What matters most is bearing a burden in my heart, putting the work of the church above all else, doing my best, and achieving the things I ought to. Only in this way am I performing my duty and living with a semblance of humanity. Although I encountered various difficulties and problems in my duty, through these difficulties, I clearly saw my depraved state of craving for comfort and disregard for progress. I realized my mistaken views on pursuit so I could repent and change. These difficulties and problems are chances for me to gain the truth and cast off my corrupt dispositions. At the same time, they also made me see my professional shortcomings, so that I could improve my professional skills and make progress in my duty. Through these difficulties, I was able to make progress, and isn’t that a good thing? After I understood God’s will, I felt motivated again. Later, I prayed to God about our problems and difficulties, sought God’s guidance, and discussed solutions with my brothers and sisters. From the bottom of my heart, I didn’t want to be lazy or hands-off anymore, and I also worked hard to learn professional skills. When I encountered difficulties and wanted to give up, I prayed to God, forsook the flesh, and practically paid a price to seek out a solution. After a while, I finally found a breakthrough, the problem was quickly resolved, and the results of video work improved a little compared to previously. I felt much more secure doing my duty this way. Actually, solving problems and doing practical work was not that difficult, and I didn’t suffer very much. I was just a little more conscientious in my duty and God guided me. My entry is still very limited, so in the future, I will focus on resolving my corrupt dispositions in my duty, and do my duty with all my heart to satisfy God!