The Word of God Leads Me to Live Out the Likeness of Man
Xiao Ye, Japan
I was born into a blessed family. From a young age, my parents loved me very much. In addition, my grades were good and adults often praised me in front of my brothers, sisters and me: “Xiao Ye will certainly have good prospects in the future….” I really felt so much pride for myself after hearing this and always indulged in self-admiration and wild arrogance, thinking I was better than my siblings, regarding myself as a rare talent in the family…. I grew up in such a superior environment.
In 2013, when I stayed at Aunt Liu’s home to study, Aunt Liu told me about the gospel of the kingdom. Because I was busy with my studies, I did not attend meetings very often and I knew very little about God’s work. However, during this period, I experienced God’s love and blessings. So in my heart I always believed in and trusted God. In 2016 when I was a sophomore, the university had an overseas internship program and because of this I had the opportunity to go to Japan to be an intern. In addition to this Aunt Liu told me: “Now God works very fast. There are brothers and sisters of The Church of Almighty God everywhere. God’s work has already extended to all parts of the world.” Hearing Aunt Liu’s words, I could not suppress the excitement in my heart, because in China it really is too hard to believe in God, and every day you are on tenterhooks, hiding from the CCP government’s persecution and arrest. However, there is real freedom of religion overseas and it is so great to believe in God there. I was also attracted to that type of free and liberated life free from persecution by the CCP, free to read the word of God together with brothers and sisters, to share experiences, sing hymns, dance and praise God. So I promised Aunt Liu that I would contact brothers and sisters of The Church of Almighty God after arriving in Japan.
In September 2016 I arrived in Japan full of expectation. After one month’s language training, I entered a hotel in Hokkaido with several classmates and started my internship. To begin with I thought my Japanese was good and that I was smart and I could quickly pass the standard, so I did not place a lot of importance on the internship at all. However, for many reasons, I failed to connect with brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God. Work in the hotel restaurant was hard and tiring and the repetitive and hard work every day made me feel like I couldn’t go on. At that time, the thing I did most was praying to God in my heart. I especially hoped that God could give me super powers to finish these hard tasks with ease. On the eighth day of work, my senior saw me working hard with low efficiency and always having problems and scolded me: “I teach others twice and they can do the work, but you are taught several times and still cannot do it!” When I heard her say this, I had no rebuttal but in my heart I wasn’t convinced: You are insisting on me doing something that is impossible. I haven’t done anything at home. It is very normal not to be able to do these things. Of course, I also felt awful because I kept getting things wrong at work but I didn’t expect my senior to say I couldn’t do anything in front of the supervisor. That day, her “guidance” made me feel powerless to ward off, and her words “cannot do anything” threw me in the abyss of suffering even more. “I didn’t offend her. Why did she make such harsh demands of me?” I thought, very unwilling to submit. Besides, my colleagues whose Japanese was worse than mine and who were younger than me received their labels of eligibility but I still ranked as unqualified. The more I thought about that the more aggrieved I became. I could not help running to the bathroom and crying and the more I cried, the aggrieved I felt. I really wanted to flee from this environment immediately.
After returning to the dormitory, I felt particularly bad and really wanted to see brothers and sisters. I recalled the days of being with brothers and sisters. No matter what I did wrong, they would not laugh at me or belittle me but would give me the fellowship of God’s words, support me and help me get out of difficulties. But now I could not contact brothers and sisters, I felt so lost. At that moment, I remembered a movie I had seen, The Best of Youth. It described the experiences of a sister of The Church of Almighty God, who was pampered and lived in comfort since childhood. Sometimes her parents would say something she didn’t like and she would become angry and not eat. Later she believed in God. One time, whilst doing her duty, because she had to ride a bike very far and felt that this was very hard and she was very tired, she made a lot of complaints. When brothers and sisters communicated the truth to her and helped her, she could not accept it either and was still very arrogant and at loggerheads. Thinking of the similarities between my experience and hers, I really wanted to see how she had changed. After turning the video on, I saw the word of God and sister’s understanding: “‘God’s dealing of people’s external disposition is also one part of His work; dealing with people’s external, abnormal humanity, for example, or their lifestyle and habits, their ways and customs…’ (‘Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh). ‘No matter what your actual stature is, you must first possess the will to suffer hardship as well as true faith, and you must have the will to forsake the flesh. … God will perfect you through these things. If you lack these conditions, you cannot be perfected’ (‘Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I understood God’s intention from His words. After being corrupted by Satan, I had no humanity and had become particularly fond of comfort of the flesh and afraid of hardship. I did not even have the ability to take care of myself. So God put me in this environment, to temper my will, strengthen my perseverance and reinforce my shortcomings…. So I stop to reflect upon myself and see that in the word of God it says: ‘What is the transformation of disposition? You must be a lover of truth, accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s word as you experience His work, and experience all kinds of suffering and refining, through which you are purified of the satanic poisons within you. This is the transformation in disposition’ (“How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks). Through the judgment of the word of God, I understood that I wasn’t someone who accepted the truth. Sister’s dealing sprung up from God. It was to help me change. To love the truth, one must accept the truth. God uses all kinds of trials and refinement to cleanse the toxins within me and my life disposition can only change in this way. When I think back to the corruption I have revealed, I realize that it is satanic toxins, thinking ‘Only I myself am honorable’ inside me that are causing trouble, resulting in me not being able to get on harmoniously with brothers and sisters. I always want to have the final say and always want to make people listen to me, but this is the wrong standpoint. It is as if I were the boss. I lose my temper at the slightest thing that doesn’t please me. This is my satanic disposition being revealed. It also hurts other people.” Having read God’s words and the understanding of this sister, I saw that I am also someone who cannot endure hardship, who does not persevere with work and is extremely conceited. Faced with difficulties at work, I do not try to find ways to resolve them, endure hardship and pay the price to strive to do it well. On the contrary, I long for God to show a miracle and enable me to do everything. I do not want to suffer and pay the price because I am afraid of hardship and tiredness. Thinking more, not only do I not have the will to suffer, but I even do not allow others to point out my problems and after I have been taught a lesson, I want to flee that environment; I am both conceited and very weak. From God’s words I have understood that everything God does to me is to change my corrupt disposition and let me cast aside my arrogant, lazy, vulnerable disposition, humble myself and make me into a person who does things diligently, responsibly and with perseverance. After understanding God’s will, I prayed to God and asked Him to give me the will to endure suffering. That evening my classmates who came with me came to help and comfort me and told me what the trick was to do things. When I worked hard, I found I learned a lot. Once I took an old Japanese couple to their seats and they knew I was still studying and encouraged me saying: “頑張ってね (Keep at it!)” It warmed my heart to hear this and tears came to my eyes. I understood that this was God moving people to encourage me and in that moment, I felt that God was by my side, watching me grow little by little.
Several days later, my senior checked to see whether my seating of people was up to standard. I thought that I would definitely be up to standard with my fluent Japanese and long-ago learnt phrases for seating people. But I did not do well on some details and my senior said that I did not make the grade in any way. I really wanted to vent my dissatisfaction, but I was still labelled as unqualified so I did not dare vent my anger. Very soon, it was time for the second inspection. This time, I did not make any mistakes when seating people, but when I asked my senior for the result, she said, “Wait until the customer orders a drink; if you do not make a mistake, then you qualify.” When I heard her say that she would test my taking the ordering of drinks, I suddenly panicked because I only knew the name of one drink and for other drinks, not only did I not know their names, but I did not know where to take them. I thought to myself: “It’s over. I would not make the grade again.” As a matter of course, in the evening there was a table of 12 customers who ordered 12 kinds of drinks. I had not even finished writing down one when the next customer ordered his. My senior was staring to my side and in the rush, I got quite a scare. Finally, they finished placing the order and on the way to get the drinks with my senior, she said: “Not only did you miss a class of fruit juice but you also forgot to ask whether they wanted water or ice with their whiskey! What are you panicking for with there being more people?!” At that time I did not have any reason to refute, but felt very angry and aggrieved: This is my first time taking drinks orders; being able to do this was already pretty good, so why find fault! Later, she told the supervisor again that I wasn’t good enough and the supervisor had no choice but to continue to ask someone to show me.
In this way, almost a month passed and I had still not made the grade. I felt particularly aggrieved and that this senior was so bad for making things difficult for me and intentionally finding fault with me. Thinking of these two months’ work experience and seeing that my classmates had already qualified and only I and a rather introverted girl had not, I felt very tired and having suffered both physically and mentally! I suddenly really wanted to go home, but my home was in China and it was very unrealistic to go back. Back in the dormitory, I inadvertently saw a passage of a sermon about life entry: “Sometimes God does not say this to your face and does not come to you Himself to tell you: ‘I saw your corruptions today. I’m going to utter words of judgment to you’ and then read you a passage of God’s words. That’s not how it is. God may send or move a person, a person whose views are least like yours or who you least look up to, to prune and deal with you. Then what will you do? It is God who sends them. Tell me, do you obey them? How do you approach the Holy Spirit moving people whose views are least like yours and who you dislike the most to prune and deal with you? … This obedience is a most real issue, which is put in front of people; everyone must choose and put it into practice. You cannot evade the issue” (“How to Eat and Drink the Words of God to Achieve Good Results” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (I)). Having read this passage of fellowship I understood that God wanted me to learn a lesson about obeying God and accepting pruning and being dealt with. When encountering difficulties, I judged right or wrong from the surface and felt that that my senior was directing things at me. For several times, I really wanted to find an opportunity to retaliate against her. But I believed in God and could not do anything which shames God, so I had to feel angry and depressed in my heart. Thinking about it now, I should accept this environment from God and pursue entry into the truth of obeying God. When I continued to pray to God and seek God on the lesson of obeying God, I saw it said in God’s words: “If you believe in the dominion of God, then you must believe that the things that happen every day, be they good or bad, don’t happen accidentally. It is not that someone doesn’t get on with you or opposes you on purpose; it is actually all arranged by God and He orchestrates everything. What does God orchestrate everything for? It is not to reveal your shortcomings for everyone to see or to expose you; exposing you is not the final aim. The aim is to perfect you and save you. How does God perfect you and save you? Firstly, He makes you aware of your own corrupt disposition, your own nature and essence, your own shortcomings and what you lack. Only by knowing these things and understanding them in your heart can you cast them off—this is a God-given opportunity. You must learn to seize this opportunity and know how to seize it; don’t lock horns and don’t resist. If you are always competing with the people, events, and things that God has arranged around you, if you are always trying to extricate yourself from them, always feeling dissatisfied, always harboring a disagreeable mentality and always misunderstanding, then you will find it very difficult to enter into the truth. … God works on each and every person. Regardless of what method He employs, what form it takes or what tone He uses to speak to people, there is only one final aim, and that is to save you. Before saving you, He needs to change you. But can you change without suffering anything at all? You must suffer a little” (“If You Wish to Attain the Truth, Then You Must Learn From the People, Matters, and Things Around You” in Records of Christ’s Talks). After reading God’s words, my heart did not feel so much pain. Actually, there is God’s will behind my always being dealt with by my senior. It is not a case of someone making life difficult for me, but God wishing to change me and let me see how I am lacking and flawed, able to press onward, learn how to take responsibility and live out a normal humanity. In God’s words it is said: “How is it expressed when the truth doesn’t act as a person’s life? What do they reveal and live out when satanic dispositions act as their lives? They are arrogant and conceited, selfish and contemptible, reckless, autocratic, and love to brag; they are deceitful and treacherous. They are prone to suspicion of others, and to attacking and judging others. Their appraisals of other people are never accurate; they always carry selfishness and ulterior motives. In addition, they are always negative. They’re either negative to the point that they want to find a hole in the ground to hide in, or arrogant to the point that they are on top of the world. If they’re not baring their teeth, then they’re putting on a sad face” (“A Change in Disposition Can Only Be Achieved by Pursuing Entry Into Life” in Records of Christ’s Talks). “Because the essence of God is holy, that means that only through God can you walk the bright, right road through life; only through God can you know the meaning of life, only through God can you live out a real life, possess the truth, know the truth, and only through God can you obtain life from the truth. Only God Himself can help you shun evil and deliver you from the harm and control of Satan. Besides God, no one and nothing can save you from the sea of suffering so that you suffer no longer: This is determined by the essence of God” (“God Himself, the Unique VI” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Comparing God’s words and thinking back to my behavior over the last two months, I saw that I was living in arrogant and conceited corrupt disposition because I did not have God’s words as life. From arriving at the hotel I thought that my Japanese was good and so I would pass very quickly and that the hard work and dirty work was done by people whose Japanese was not good. I had never thought of conducting myself in a steadfast manner, but wanted to take short cuts and preferred to pick easy jobs and shirk the hard ones. I did not know how to be humble and looked down upon everyone. I had never thought to bow my head and learn from others and always felt that as soon as I bowed down, I would let people look down upon me and would be inferior. As for my senior who always picked on me, I obeyed her even less. As soon as she said something to me, I would argue things out in my heart and be unwilling to see my shortcomings from her words. So I often lived in disobedience and suffering. Now I really understand a little of God’s intentions. Although this environment is very hard, all that God intends to achieve is to change my arrogant disposition and enable me to humble myself, ask when I do not understand, and become an honest, humble, rational, down-to-earth person.
After this, although I was still doing the internship, every day doing hard dirty work, being dealt with from time to time by my senior, I no longer wanted to escape and I knew this was God using this environment to change my arrogant disposition and let me live out the likeness of a real man a little bit. Every time my senior dealt with me regarding some work issues when I was unwilling to humble myself, I prayed to God: “God, my senior has started to deal with me again and I still feel some resistance in my heart, but what she says is right and I should accept it. I am not willing to be hard again and live by Satan’s arrogant and conceited disposition. I ask God to give me an obedient heart and the will to endure hardships and enable me to live out the likeness of man!” In this way, when I relied upon God and looked to God, every time I prayed it brought me peace and joy and made me feel particularly close to God and able to lay my life down and obey. Although my flesh endured a little pain, my heart was still incomparably sweet and joyful and I tasted the sweetness of practicing the word of God and depending on God. Later, when my senior scolded me again, I did not argue or resist anymore, but accepted it and carefully compared what I had done and if I had done something wrong then I did my best to correct it. After two months, I finally qualified and moreover, I was nominated for praise in a customer’s feedback. This was all because the word of Almighty God had changed me and enabled me to live out the human likeness a little.
Just half a month after I was labelled as qualified, I contacted brothers and sisters from the local Church of Almighty God and started my normal church life. Looking back to the path, I saw God’s omnipotence and dominion and felt God’s good intentions. God arranged all this for me to change my arrogant disposition and let me live out the likeness of man. If I had found brothers and sisters sooner, maybe I would not have suffered so much, but without experiencing such hardship, I would not know my corruptions such as arrogance, inertia and failure to pursue excellence, nor be able to learn how to seek and depend upon God and experience God’s cleansing and salvation and would be even less able to live out the likeness of a real man. As to the girl who was the same with me at the beginning who has never qualified, because she had not come before God and did not have the guidance of the word of God, every day was very hard and depressing for her. When other people raised her problems or gave her advice, she never understood how to humbly accept and often sulked, resulting in her becoming like a hedgehog over just a few months, untouchable by anyone and not even being able to bear a joke amongst friends. Now no one dare make friends with her or speak to her. Seeing such a vivid example beside me, as a comparison, I realize even more that God’s grace of salvation is so great! If it had not been for God guiding me, I would not have changed so much in such a short three months. Thank God! All glory to Almighty God!