24. How to resolve the problem of seeking fame, gain, and status

Words of Almighty God of the Last Days

In your seeking, you have too many individual notions, hopes, and futures. The current work is in order to deal with your desire for status and your extravagant desires. Hopes, status, and notions are all classic representations of satanic disposition. The reason that these things exist in people’s hearts is entirely because Satan’s poison is always corroding people’s thoughts, and always people are unable to shake off these temptations of Satan. They are living in the midst of sin yet do not believe it to be sin, and still they think: “We believe in God, so He must bestow blessings on us and arrange everything for us appropriately. We believe in God, so we must be superior to others, and we must have more status and more of a future than anyone else. Since we believe in God, He must give us limitless blessings. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be called believing in God.” For many years, the thoughts that people have relied upon for their survival have been corroding their hearts to the point that they have become treacherous, cowardly, and despicable. Not only do they lack willpower and resolve, but they have also become greedy, arrogant, and willful. They are utterly lacking any resolve that transcends the self, and even more, they don’t have a bit of courage to shake off the strictures of these dark influences. People’s thoughts and lives are so rotten that their perspectives on believing in God are still unbearably hideous, and even when people speak of their perspectives on belief in God it is simply unbearable to hear. People are all cowardly, incompetent, despicable, and fragile. They do not feel disgust for the forces of darkness, and they do not feel love for the light and the truth; instead, they do their utmost to expel them. Are not your current thoughts and perspectives just like this? “Since I believe in God I should just be showered with blessings and it should be ensured that my status never slips and that it remains higher than that of nonbelievers.” You have not been harboring that kind of perspective within you for just one or two years, but for many years. Your transactional way of thinking is overdeveloped. Although you have arrived at this step today, you still have not let go of status but struggle constantly to inquire about it, and observe it daily, with a deep fear that one day your status will be lost and your name will be ruined. People have never put aside their desire for ease. … The more you seek in this way, the less you will reap. The greater a person’s desire for status, the more seriously they will have to be dealt with and the more they will have to undergo great refinement. Such people are worthless! They must be dealt with and judged adequately in order for them to thoroughly let go of these things. If you pursue this way until the end, you will reap nothing. Those who do not pursue life cannot be transformed, and those who do not thirst for the truth cannot gain the truth. You do not focus on pursuing personal transformation and entry, but focus instead on extravagant desires and things that constrain your love for God and prevent you from drawing close to Him. Can those things transform you? Can they bring you into the kingdom?

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Why Are You Unwilling to Be a Foil?

Every one of you has risen to the pinnacle of the multitudes; you have ascended to be the ancestors of the masses. You are extremely arbitrary, and you run amok among all of the maggots, seeking a place of ease and attempting to devour the maggots that are smaller than you. You are malicious and sinister in your hearts, surpassing even the ghosts that have sunk to the bottom of the sea. You reside in the bottom of the dung, disturbing the maggots from top to bottom until they have no peace, fighting each other for a while and then calming down. You do not know your place, yet still you battle with each other in the dung. What can you gain from such struggle? If you truly had hearts of fear for Me, how could you fight with each other behind My back? No matter how high your status, are you not still a stinking little worm in the dung? Will you be able to sprout wings and become a dove in the sky?

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. When Falling Leaves Return to Their Roots, You Will Regret All the Evil You Have Done

Man has never loved Me sincerely. When I exalt him, he feels himself unworthy, but this does not make him try to satisfy Me. He merely holds the “station” I have given him in his hands and scrutinizes it; insensible to My loveliness, he instead persists in engorging himself on the benefits of his station. Is this not the deficiency of man? When the mountains move, could they make a detour for the sake of your station? When the waters flow, could they cease before man’s station? Could the heavens and the earth be reversed by man’s station? I was once merciful toward man, over and over again—yet no one cherishes or treasures this. They merely listened to it as a story, or read it as a novel. Do My words really not touch the heart of man? Do My utterances really have no effect? Could it be that no one believes in My existence? Man does not love himself; instead, he unites with Satan to attack Me, and uses Satan as an “asset” with which to serve Me. I will penetrate all the deceitful schemes of Satan, and stop the people of earth from accepting the deceptions of Satan, so that they do not oppose Me because of its existence.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God’s Words to the Entire Universe, Chapter 22

No matter how lofty man’s ideals are, no matter how realistic man’s desires are or how proper they may be, all that man wants to achieve, all that man seeks for, is inextricably linked to two words. These two words are vitally important to the life of every person, and they are things Satan intends to instill in man. What are these two words? They are “fame” and “gain.” Satan uses a very subtle kind of method, a method very much in concert with people’s notions, which is not at all radical, through which it causes people to unknowingly accept its way of living, its rules to live by, and to establish life goals and their direction in life, and in doing so they also unknowingly come to have ambitions in life. No matter how grand these life ambitions may seem, they are inextricably linked to “fame” and “gain.” Everything that any great or famous person—all people, in fact—follow in life relates only to these two words: “fame” and “gain.” People think that once they have fame and gain, they can then capitalize on those things to enjoy high status and great wealth, and to enjoy life. They think fame and gain are a kind of capital that they can use to obtain a life of pleasure-seeking and wanton enjoyment of the flesh. For the sake of this fame and gain which mankind so covets, people willingly, albeit unknowingly, hand over their bodies, minds, all that they have, their futures and their destinies, to Satan. They do so without even a moment’s hesitation, ever ignorant of the need to recover all that they have handed over. Can people retain any control over themselves once they have taken refuge in Satan in this way and become loyal to it? Certainly not. They are completely and utterly controlled by Satan. They have completely and utterly sunk into a quagmire, and are unable to free themselves. Once someone is mired in fame and gain, they no longer seek that which is bright, that which is righteous, or those things that are beautiful and good. This is because the seductive power that fame and gain have over people is too great; they become things for people to pursue throughout their lives and even for all eternity without end. Is this not true? …

… Satan uses fame and gain to control man’s thoughts, until all people can think of is fame and gain. They struggle for fame and gain, suffer hardships for fame and gain, endure humiliation for fame and gain, sacrifice everything they have for fame and gain, and they will make any judgment or decision for the sake of fame and gain. In this way, Satan binds people with invisible shackles, and they have neither the strength nor the courage to throw them off. They unknowingly bear these shackles and trudge ever onward with great difficulty. For the sake of this fame and gain, mankind shuns God and betrays Him and becomes increasingly wicked. In this way, therefore, one generation after another is destroyed in the midst of Satan’s fame and gain. Looking now at Satan’s actions, are its sinister motives not utterly detestable? Maybe today you still cannot see through Satan’s sinister motives because you think one cannot live without fame and gain. You think that if people leave fame and gain behind, they will no longer be able to see the way ahead, no longer be able to see their goals, that their futures will become dark, dim and gloomy. But, slowly, you will all one day recognize that fame and gain are monstrous shackles that Satan uses to bind man. When that day comes, you will thoroughly resist Satan’s control and thoroughly resist the shackles Satan uses to bind you. When the time comes that you wish to throw off all the things Satan has instilled in you, you will then make a clean break with Satan and you will truly loathe all that Satan has brought to you. Only then will mankind have a real love and yearning for God.

—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique VI

When it comes to anything that involves reputation, status, or an opportunity to shine—when you hear that the house of God plans to nurture various kinds of talented individuals, for example—every one of your hearts leaps in anticipation, each of you always wants to make a name for yourself and to step into the spotlight. You all want to fight for status and reputation. You are ashamed of this, but you would feel bad if you don’t do so. You feel envy, hatred, and resentment whenever you see someone stand out, and think that it is unfair: “Why can’t I stand out? Why do other people always get the spotlight? Why is it never my turn?” And after you feel resentment, you try to repress it, but you cannot. You pray to God and feel better for a while, but when you encounter this sort of situation again, you still cannot overcome it. Is this not a manifestation of an immature stature? When people are caught in such states, have they not fallen into Satan’s trap? These are the shackles of Satan’s corrupt nature that bind humans. If people cast off these corrupt dispositions, will they not then feel free and liberated? Think about it: If you wish to avoid getting caught in these states of vying for status and profit—to free yourself from these corrupt states, and to release yourself from the distress and bondage of prestige, profit, and status—which truths must you understand? Which truth realities must you possess in order for you to gain freedom and liberation? First, you must see that Satan uses prestige, profit, and status to corrupt people, to ensnare them, to abuse them, to degrade them and plunge them into sin. Furthermore, it is only by accepting the truth that people can forgo and put aside prestige, profit, and status. Setting aside these things is very difficult for anybody, no matter if they are young or old, or new or long-time believers. Though some people are introverted, and they appear not to say much, they actually harbor more difficulties in their hearts than others do. Giving up prestige, profit, and status is difficult for everyone; no one can overcome the temptation of those things—people’s internal states are all the same. Satan has corrupted man using nothing other than prestige and profit; several thousands of years of traditional culture have just instilled these things in people. Therefore, man’s corrupt nature loves and pursues prestige, profit, and status, it is just that the ways different people pursue and express it differ. There are some who never speak of it, and conceal it in their hearts, while there are others who reveal it in their words. There are some who will fight for these things, with no scruples at all, while there are others who do not fight for them, but in private, they complain, grumble, and break things. Although it manifests differently in different people, their natures are exactly the same. They are all corrupt humans who resist God. If you always focus on prestige, profit, and status, if you value these things too highly, if they occupy your heart, and if you are unwilling to give them up, then you will be controlled and bound by them. You will become their slave, and in the end, they will utterly ruin you. You must learn to let go and set these things aside, to recommend others, and to allow them to stand out. Do not struggle or rush to take advantage of opportunities to stand out and shine. You must be able to put these things aside, but you must also not hold up the performance of your duty. Be a person who works in quiet obscurity and does not show off to others while you devotedly perform your duty. The more you let go of your pride and status, and the more you let go of your interests, the more at peace you will feel, the more light there will be in your heart, and the more your state will improve. The more you struggle and compete, the darker your state will become. If you do not believe Me, try it and see! If you want to reverse this sort of corrupt state, and to not be controlled by these things, you must seek the truth, and clearly understand the essence of these things, and then put them aside and relinquish them. Otherwise, the more you struggle, the darker your heart will become, and the more envy and hatred you will feel, and your desire to obtain these things will only grow stronger. The stronger your desire to obtain them, the less you will be able to obtain them, and as this happens, your hatred will increase. As your hatred increases, you will grow darker inside. The darker you are inside, the worse your performance of your duty will become, and the worse your performance of your duty becomes, the less useful you will be to the house of God. This is an interlinked, vicious cycle. If you never perform your duty well, you will gradually be cast out.

—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Freedom and Liberation Can Be Gained Only by Casting Off One’s Corrupt Disposition

Instead of searching for the truth, most people have their own petty agendas. Their own interests, face, and the place or standing they hold in other people’s minds are of great importance to them. These are the only things they cherish. They cling to these things with an iron grip and regard them as their very lives. And how they are viewed or treated by God is of secondary importance; for the moment, they ignore that; for the moment, they only consider whether they are the boss of the group, whether other people look up to them, and whether their words carry weight. Their first concern is with occupying that position. When they are in a group, almost all people look for this kind of standing, these kinds of opportunities. When they’re highly talented, of course they want to be top dog; if they are of middling ability, they’ll still want to hold a higher position in the group; and if they hold a low position in the group, being of average caliber and abilities, they, too, will want others to look up to them, they won’t want others to look down on them. These people’s face and dignity are where they draw the line: They have to hold on to these things. They could have no integrity, and be possessed of neither God’s approval nor acceptance, but they absolutely cannot lose the respect, status, or esteem they have strived for among others—which is the disposition of Satan. But people have no awareness of this. It is their belief that they must cling to this scrap of face to the very end. They are not aware that only when these vain and superficial things are completely relinquished and put aside will they become a real person. If a person guards these things that should be discarded as life, their life is lost. They do not know what is at stake. And so, when they act, they always hold something back, they always try to protect their own face and status, they put these first, speaking only for their own ends, to their own spurious defense. Everything they do is for themselves. They rush to anything that shines, letting everyone know they were a part of it. It didn’t actually have anything to do with them, but they never want to be left in the background, they’re always afraid of other people looking down on them, they’re always fearful of other people saying they’re nothing, that they are incapable of anything, that they have no skills. Is this all not directed by their satanic dispositions? When you are able to let go of things like face and status, you will be much more relaxed and freer; you will have set foot on the path to being honest. But for many, this is not easy to achieve. When the camera appears, for example, people scramble to the front; they like having their face on camera, the more coverage the better; they’re afraid of not getting enough coverage, and will pay any price for the chance to get it. And is this not all directed by their satanic dispositions? These are their satanic dispositions. So you get coverage—what then? People think highly of you—so what? They idolize you—so what? Does any of this prove you have the truth reality? None of this has any value. When you can overcome these things—when you become indifferent to them, and no longer feel them important, when face, vanity, status, and people’s admiration no longer control your thoughts and behavior, much less how you perform your duty—then your performance of your duty will become ever more effective, and ever more pure.

—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three

Corrupt mankind loves reputation and status. They all pursue power. You who are now leaders and workers, do you not feel that you bring your title or rank to bear on your actions? So do antichrists and false leaders, who all feel themselves to be the officials in God’s house, standing a head above the rest, superior to them. If they did not have official titles and ranks, they would have no burden in performing their duties, and they would not go about their work in earnest. Everyone treats being a leader and worker as equivalent to being an official, and everyone is willing to take action as an official. Presented in a favorable light, we call this pursuing a career—but in an uglier light, this is called engaging in one’s own business. It is setting up an independent kingdom in order to satisfy one’s own ambitions and desires. In the end, is it a good thing or a bad thing to have status? In the eyes of men, it is a good thing. When you have an official title, speaking and acting are different. Your words have force, and people will heed them. They will fawn on you, marching on in front of you with shouts and supporting you from behind. But without your status and titles, they would turn a deaf ear to your words. Though your words may be true, full of good sense, and beneficial to people, no one will heed you. What does this show? All men venerate status. They all have ambitions and desires. They all seek the worship of others and love to handle affairs from a position of status. Can one accomplish good from a position of status? Can they do things that are beneficial to people? That’s not certain. It depends on the path you take and how you treat status. If you don’t pursue the truth, but always want to gain others’ favor, wishing to satisfy your own ambitions and desires and to fulfill your yearning for status, then you are walking the path of the antichrists. Can someone who walks the path of the antichrists conform to the truth in their pursuit and their performance of their duty? Absolutely not. This is because the path one chooses determines everything. If one chooses the wrong path, all their efforts, their performance of their duty, and their pursuit are in no way aligned with the truth. What about them is at odds with the truth? What are they after in their actions? (Status.) What do all people who do things for the sake of status display? Some say, “They always speak words and doctrines, they never fellowship the truth reality, they always show off, they always speak for their own sake, they never exalt or testify to God. People in whom such things are exhibited act for the sake of status.” Is this right? (Yes.) Why do they speak words and doctrines and show off? Why do they not exalt and testify to God? Because, in their hearts, there is only status, and their reputation and profit—God is utterly absent. Such people especially idolize status and authority. Their reputation and profit are of huge importance to them; their reputation, profit, and status have become their life. God is absent from their hearts, they do not fear God, much less obey Him; all they do is exalt themselves, testify to themselves, and show off to gain others’ admiration. Thus, they often brag about themselves, about what they’ve done, how much they’ve suffered, how they satisfied God, how forbearing they were when they were dealt with, all in order to earn people’s sympathy and admiration. These people are the same type of people as antichrists, they walk the path of Paul.

—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. How to Resolve the Temptations and Bondage of Status

If you are a leader or worker, are you afraid of the house of God making inquiries about and supervising your work? Are you afraid that the house of God will discover lapses and mistakes in your work and deal with you? Are you afraid that after the Above gets to know your real caliber and stature, they will see you in a different light and not consider you for promotion? If you have these fears, this proves that your motivations are not for the sake of church work, you are working for the sake of status and prestige, which proves that you have the disposition of an antichrist. If you have the disposition of an antichrist, you are liable to walk the path of the antichrists, and commit all the evil wrought by antichrists. If, in your heart, you have no fear of God’s house supervising your work, and you are able to provide real answers to the questions and inquiries of the Above, without hiding anything, and say as much as you know, then regardless of whether what you say is right or wrong, irrespective of the corruption you revealed—even if you revealed the disposition of an antichrist—you will absolutely not be defined as an antichrist. What’s key is whether you are able to know your own disposition of an antichrist, and whether you are able to seek the truth in order to solve this problem. If you are someone who accepts the truth, your antichrist’s disposition can be fixed. If you know full well that you have the disposition of an antichrist and yet do not seek the truth to resolve it, if you even try to conceal or lie about problems that occur and shift responsibility, and if you do not accept the truth when subjected to pruning and dealing, then this is a serious problem, and you are no different from an antichrist. Knowing that you have the disposition of an antichrist, why do you not dare face it? Why can you not approach it frankly and say, “If the Above inquires about my work, I’ll say all I know, and even if the bad things I’ve done come to light, and the Above no longer makes use of me once they know, and I lose my status, I’ll still say clearly what I have to say”? Your fear of supervision of and inquiries after your work by God’s house proves that you treasure your status more than the truth. Is this not the disposition of an antichrist? To cherish status above all is the disposition of an antichrist. Why do you treasure status so much? What are the benefits of status? If status brought you disaster, difficulties, embarrassment, and pain, would you still treasure it? (No.) There are so many benefits to having status, things like envy, respect, high opinion, and flattery from other people, as well as their admiration and reverence. There is also the sense of superiority and privilege that gives you pride and a sense of self-worth. In addition, you can also enjoy things that others do not, such as trappings of status and special treatment. These are the things you dare not even think of, and are what you have longed for in your dreams. Do you treasure these things? If status is merely hollow, with no real significance, and defending it serves no real purpose, is it not foolish to treasure it? If you can let go of things such as interests and enjoyments of the flesh, then prestige, profit, and status will no longer tie you down. So, what has to be resolved before resolving issues related to treasuring and chasing status? First, see through to the nature of the problem of doing evil and engaging in trickery, concealment, and covering up, as well as declining the supervision, inquiries, and investigation of God’s house, in order to enjoy the trappings of status. Isn’t this blatant resistance and opposition against God? If you can see through to the nature and consequences of coveting the trappings of status, the problem of pursuing status will be resolved. And without the ability to see through to the essence of coveting the trappings of status, this problem will never be resolved.

—The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Eight: They Would Have Others Obey Only Them, Not the Truth or God (Part Two)

This type of person, who does things for the sake of reputation, self-interest, and status, is the most adept at deceiving others. When you first meet them, you cannot see through them. You see that the doctrine they speak sounds good, what they say seems practical, the work they arrange is very fitting, and they seem to have some caliber, and you admire them quite a bit. This type of person is also willing to pay a price when performing their duty. They work hard every day but never complain about being tired. They don’t have a single ounce of fragility. When other people are weak, they are not. They also do not lust after comforts of the flesh, and are not picky eaters. When their host family prepares something special for them, they refuse it and do not eat it. They only eat everyday foods. Whoever sees people like this admires them. So, how can one discern whether they are doing things for the sake of status? First, one must look at whether they are a person who pursues the truth. Where will this be evident? (Their intent and starting point when doing things.) This is part of it. It will mainly be evident in the goal they are pursuing. If it is for the sake of gaining the truth, they will put importance on reading God’s words often, understanding the truth and knowing themselves through God’s words. If they fellowship often on knowing themselves, they will be able to see that they lack too many things, do not have the truth, and will naturally strive to pursue the truth. The more people know themselves, the more they are able to pursue the truth. Those who always say and do things for the sake of status are obviously not people who pursue the truth. When they are pruned and dealt with they do not accept it—they are very afraid of their reputation being damaged. So, are they able to accept God’s words of judgment and chastisement and reflect on themselves? Can they truly understand deviations in their own experience? If they do not have any of these manifestations, then one can be certain that they are not people who pursue the truth. Tell Me, what other manifestations do people have who do not love the truth and who pursue status? (When others give them criticism, they do not accept it, and instead get defensive, justify themselves, and give reasons. They speak in order to maintain their pride and preserve their status. If someone does not support them, they attack and judge them.) When people attack and judge others, and speak and defend themselves for the sake of their own pride and status, the intent and goal behind their actions is obviously wrong, and they are living entirely for status. Can the sort of people who say and do everything for the sake of status have consideration for God’s will? Can they accept the truth? Absolutely not. They think if they have consideration for God’s will they must practice the truth, and if they practice the truth they must suffer and pay a price. Then, they will lose the enjoyment that comes with status, and will be unable to enjoy the benefits of status. Therefore, they choose to just pursue reputation, self-interest, and status, and pursue getting rewards. In what other ways do people who pursue status manifest themselves? What other things do they do? (If they see some talented individuals around them who are more given to pursuing the truth, and who are worthy of nurturing, and who brothers and sisters are more inclined to support, then out of fear that these people will stand up and replace them, and threaten their status, they think of ways to suppress these talented individuals, and find all sorts of reasons and excuses to put them down. The most common way, is to label them as overly arrogant, self-righteous, and as always constraining others, and make people believe these things are true, and not let the house of God promote or nurture these individuals.) This is the most common manifestation. Is there anything you want to add? (They always like to testify for themselves and show off. They always talk about some wonderful thing about themselves; they never talk about their ugly side, and if they do something bad, they don’t reflect on or dissect their actions.) They always talk about how they suffer and pay a price, how God guides them, and show the work they’ve done. This is also part of the way protecting and solidifying status manifests. People who pursue status and do things for the sake of status have another—most salient—trait, which is no matter what happens, they have to have the final say. They pursue status because they want to have the final say. They want to be the one who calls the shots, and the only person with authority. No matter the situation, everyone must listen to them, and no matter who has an issue, they must come to them to seek and ask for direction. What they want to enjoy are these benefits of status. No matter the situation, they have to have the final say. No matter whether what they say is right or wrong, even if it is wrong, they still have to have the final say, and must make others listen and submit to them. This is a severe problem. No matter the situation, they must have the final say; no matter whether or not it is a situation they understand, they have to stick their finger in it and have the final say. No matter what issue the leaders and workers are fellowshiping, they must make the decision, and there is no leeway for others to talk. No matter what solution they suggest, they must make everyone accept it, and if others don’t accept it, they get angry and deal with them. If anyone has criticisms or opinions, even if it is right and in line with the truth, they have to think of all sorts of ways to object to it. They are particularly good at sophistry, will persuade the other person with smooth words, and ultimately make them do things their way. They have to have the final say in everything. They never negotiate with their co-workers or partners; they are not democratic. This is sufficient to prove that they are overly arrogant and self-righteous, cannot accept the truth at all, and do not submit to the truth at all. If something big happens, or something which is crucial, and they are able to let everyone make an assessment and voice their opinion, and ultimately settle on a method of practice as per the majority opinion, and ensure it will not harm the work of the house of God, and that it will benefit the work as a whole—if this is their attitude, then they are someone who protects the work of the house of God, and someone who can accept the truth, because there are principles behind doing things this way. However, would people who pursue status do things this way? (No.) How would they do things? If something happened, they wouldn’t care what advice other people had. They would already have had a solution or decision in mind long before people shared their advice. In their hearts, they would have already decided that was what they would do. At this point, no matter what people said, they wouldn’t give it the time of day. Even if someone reprimanded them, they wouldn’t care at all. They give no consideration to the truth principles, whether it benefits the church’s work, or whether the brothers and sisters can accept it. These things are not within the realm of their consideration. What is it they consider? They have to have the final say; they want to be the decision maker in this matter; this matter must be done their way; they must look at whether this matter is beneficial to their status or not. This is the perspective from which they view matters. Is this someone who pursues the truth? (No.) When people who do not pursue the truth do things, they always give consideration to their own status, reputation, and self-interest; they always give consideration to how it benefits them. This is their starting point for doing things.

—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only in the Practice of the Truth Is There Life Entry

Antichrists’ cherishment of their reputation and status goes beyond that of normal people, and is something within their disposition and essence; it is not a temporary interest, or the transient effect of their surroundings—it is something within their life, their bones, and so it is their essence. This is to say that in everything antichrists do, their first consideration is their own reputation and status, nothing else. For antichrists, reputation and status are their life, and their lifelong goal. In all they do, their first consideration is: “What will happen to my status? And to my reputation? Will doing this give me a good reputation? Will it elevate my status in people’s minds?” That is the first thing they think about, which is ample proof that they have the disposition and essence of antichrists; they would not consider these problems otherwise. It can be said that for antichrists, reputation and status are not some additional requirement, much less something extraneous that they could do without. They are part of the nature of antichrists, they are in their bones, in their blood, they are innate to them. Antichrists are not indifferent toward whether they possess reputation and status; this is not their attitude. Then, what is their attitude? Reputation and status are intimately connected to their daily lives, to their daily state, to what they strive for on a daily basis. And so for antichrists, status and reputation are their life. No matter how they live, no matter what environment they live in, no matter what work they do, no matter what they strive for, what their goals are, what their life’s direction is, it all revolves around having a good reputation and a high status. And this aim does not change; they can never put aside such things. This is the true face of antichrists, and their essence. You could put them in a primeval forest deep in the mountains, and still they would not put aside their pursuit of reputation and status. You can put them among any group of people, and all they can think about is still reputation and status. Although antichrists also believe in God, they see the pursuit of reputation and status as equivalent to faith in God and give it equal weight. Which is to say, as they walk the path of faith in God, they also pursue their own reputation and status. It can be said that in antichrists’ hearts, they believe that faith in God and the pursuit of the truth is the pursuit of reputation and status; the pursuit of reputation and status is also the pursuit of the truth, and to gain reputation and status is to gain the truth and life. If they feel that they have no reputation or status, that no one admires them, or venerates them, or follows them, then they are very frustrated, they believe there is no point in believing in God, no value to it, and they say to themselves, “Is such faith in God a failure? Is it hopeless?” They often deliberate such things in their hearts, they deliberate how they can carve a place out for themselves in the house of God, how they can have a lofty reputation in the church, so that people listen when they talk, and support them when they act, and follow them wherever they go; so that they have a voice in the church, and prestige, profit, and status—they really focus on such things in their hearts. These are what such people pursue. Why are they always thinking about such things? After reading the words of God, after hearing sermons, do they really not understand all this, are they really not able to discern all this? Are the words of God and the truth really not able to change their notions, ideas, and opinions? That is not the case at all. The problem starts with them, it is wholly because they do not love the truth, because, in their hearts, they are sick of the truth, and as a result, they are utterly unreceptive to the truth—which is determined by their nature essence.

—The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Three)

What is the motto of antichrists, no matter what group they are in? “I must compete! Compete! Compete! I must compete to be the highest and mightiest!” This is the disposition of antichrists; everywhere they go, they compete and try to achieve their aims. They are the lackeys of Satan, and they disturb the work of the church. The disposition of antichrists is like this: They begin by looking around the church to see who has believed in God for many years and has capital, who has some gifts or talents, who has been of benefit to the brothers and sisters in their life entry, who has more prestige, who has seniority, who is well spoken of among the brothers and sisters, who has more positive things. Those people are to be their competition. In sum, every time antichrists are among a group of people, this is what they always do: They compete for status, compete for a good reputation, compete to have the final say over matters and the right to make decisions in the group, which, once they have gained it, makes them happy. Are they able to do practical work after they gain these things? Absolutely not, they do not compete and fight in order to do practical work; their goal is to overpower everyone else. “I don’t care if you’re willing to submit to me or not; in terms of capital, I’m the greatest, in terms of speaking skills, I’m the best, and in terms of gifts and talents, I have the most.” No matter what area, they always want to compete for first place. If the brothers and sisters choose for them to be supervisors, they will compete with their partners to have the final say and the right to make decisions. If the church puts them in charge of certain work, they will insist on calling the shots about how it’s carried out. They will want to strive to make everything they say and all the things they decide succeed and become a reality. If the brothers and sisters adopt somebody else’s idea, will this get past them? (No.) That means trouble. If you don’t listen to them, they’ll teach you a lesson, make you feel that you couldn’t do without them, and show you what consequences there will be if you don’t obey them. That is how conceited, odious, and unreasonable the disposition of antichrists is. They have neither conscience nor reason, nor even a shred of the truth. One can see in the actions and deeds of an antichrist that what they do has none of the reason of a normal person, and though one may fellowship about the truth to them, they do not accept it. However right what you say is, it does not fly with them. The only thing they like to pursue is reputation and status, which they hold in reverence. So long as they can enjoy the benefits of status, they are contented. This, they believe, is the value of their existence. Regardless of what group of people they are among, they have to show people the “light” and “warmth” they provide, their talents, their uniqueness. And it is because they believe they are special that they naturally think that they should be treated better than ordinary people, that they should receive people’s support and admiration, that people should look up to them, worship them—they think all of this is their due. Are such people not brazen and shameless? Is it not trouble to have such people present in the church? When something happens, it’s common sense that people should listen to whoever speaks correctly, submit to whoever makes a suggestion that is beneficial to the work of God’s house, and adopt whoever’s suggestion is in line with the truth principles. If antichrists say something that isn’t in accordance with the principles, everyone else might not listen to them, or adopt their suggestion. In that case, what will antichrists do? They will keep trying to defend and justify themselves, and think of ways to convince others, and make the brothers and sisters listen to them and adopt their suggestion. They won’t consider what effect it might have on the church’s work if their suggestion is adopted. This is not within the scope of their consideration. What is the only thing that they’ll consider? “If my suggestion isn’t adopted, where will I be able to show my face? So, I have to compete, and strive for my suggestion to be adopted.” Whenever something happens, this is how they think and act. They never reflect on whether this is in accordance with the principles or not, and they never accept the truth. This is the disposition of antichrists.

—The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Three)

If someone says they love the truth and that they pursue the truth, but in essence, the goal they pursue is to distinguish themselves, to show off, to make people think highly of them, to achieve their own interests, and the performing of their duty is not to obey or satisfy God, and instead is to achieve fame, gain, and status, then their pursuit is illegitimate. That being the case, when it comes to the work of the church, are their actions an obstacle, or do they help move it forward? They are clearly an obstacle; they do not move it forward. Some people wave the banner of doing the work of the church yet pursue their own personal fame, gain, and status, run their own operation, create their own little group, their own little kingdom—is this kind of person performing their duty? All the work they do essentially disrupts, disturbs, and impairs the work of the church. What is the consequence of their pursuit of fame, gain, and status? First, this affects how God’s chosen people eat and drink God’s word normally and understand the truth, it hinders their life entry, stops them from entering the right track of faith in God, and leads them onto the wrong path—which harms the chosen ones, and brings them to ruin. And what does it ultimately do to the work of the church? It is disturbance, impairment, and dismantlement. This is the consequence brought about by people’s pursuit of fame, gain, and status. When they perform their duty in this way, can this not be defined as walking the path of an antichrist? When God asks that people put aside fame, gain, and status, it is not that He is depriving people of the right to choose; rather, it is because, while pursuing fame, gain, and status, people disrupt and disturb the work of the church and the life entry of God’s chosen people, and can even have an influence on more people’s eating and drinking God’s words, understanding the truth, and thus achieving God’s salvation. This is an indisputable fact. When people pursue their own fame, gain, and status, it is certain that they will not pursue the truth and that they will not faithfully fulfill their duty. They will only speak and act for the sake of fame, gain, and status, and all the work they do, without the least exception, is for those things’ sake. To behave and act in such a way is, without question, to walk the path of antichrists; it is a disruption and disturbance of God’s work, and all its various consequences are hindering the spread of the kingdom gospel and the free flow of God’s will within the church. So, one may say with certainty that the path walked by those who pursue fame, gain, and status is the path of resistance against God. It is intentional resistance against Him, naysaying Him—it is to cooperate with Satan in resisting God and standing in opposition to Him. This is the nature of people’s pursuit of fame, gain, and status. The problem with people pursuing their own interests is that the goals they pursue are the goals of Satan—they are goals that are wicked and unrighteous. When people pursue personal interests such as fame, gain, and status, they unwittingly become a tool of Satan, they become an outlet for Satan, and, moreover, they become an embodiment of Satan. They play a negative role in the church; toward the work of the church, and toward the normal church life and normal pursuit of God’s chosen people, the effect they have is to disturb and impair; they have an adverse and negative effect. When someone pursues the truth, they are able to be considerate of God’s will, and are mindful of God’s burden. When they perform their duty, they uphold the work of the church in every regard. They are able to exalt God and testify to God, they bring benefit to the brothers and sisters, and support them, and provide for them, and God gains glory and testimony, which brings shame upon Satan. As a result of their pursuit, God gains a created being that is truly capable of fearing God and shunning evil, that is able to worship God. As a result of their pursuit, too, God’s will is carried out, and the work of God is able to progress. In the eyes of God, such pursuit is positive, it is aboveboard. Such pursuit is of tremendous benefit to God’s chosen ones, as well as being wholly beneficial to the work of the church, it helps push things forward, and is approved by God.

—The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part One)

Pursuing reputation and status is not the right path—it runs in exactly the opposite direction of the pursuit of the truth. In sum, regardless of what the direction or target of your pursuit is, if you do not reflect on the pursuit of status and reputation, and if you find it very difficult to put these things aside, then they will affect your life entry. As long as status has a place in your heart, it will totally control and influence your life’s direction and the goals you strive for, in which case it will be very difficult for you to enter the truth reality, to say nothing of achieving changes in your disposition; whether you are ultimately able to gain God’s approval, of course, goes without saying. What’s more, if you are never able to put aside your pursuit of status, this will affect your ability to adequately perform your duty, which will make it very difficult for you to become an acceptable created being. Why do I say this? God loathes nothing more than when people pursue status, because the pursuit of status is a satanic disposition, it is a wrong path, it is born of the corruption of Satan, it is something condemned by God, and it is the very thing that God judges and purifies. God loathes nothing more than when people pursue status, and yet you still mulishly compete for status, you unfailingly cherish and protect it, always trying to take it for yourself. And in nature, is all of this not antagonistic to God? Status is not ordained for people by God; God provides people with the truth, the way, and the life, and ultimately makes them become an acceptable created being, a small and insignificant created being—not someone who has status and prestige and is revered by thousands of people. And so, no matter what perspective it is viewed from, the pursuit of status is a dead end. No matter how reasonable your excuse for pursuing status is, this path is still the wrong one, and is not approved of by God. No matter how hard you try or how great the price you pay, if you desire status, God will not give it to you; if it’s not given by God, you will fail in fighting to obtain it, and if you keep fighting there will only be one outcome: You will be revealed and cast out, which is a dead end. You understand this, yes?

—The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Three)

Man’s striving after status is just one manifestation of this. This manifestation, like man’s arrogant disposition, like his rebellion and resistance to God, arises from his satanic nature. What method can be used to solve this? You must still use the most basic method. As long as you follow the way of God and walk the path of pursuing the truth, all these problems can be solved. When you have no status, you can analyze yourself often and come to know yourself. Others can benefit from this. When you have status and can still analyze and understand yourself often, allowing people to see your strengths, that you understand the truth, that you have practical experience, and that you truly change, can’t others still benefit from this? No matter whether you have status or not, so long as you can practice the truth and have genuine experiential testimony, allowing people to understand God’s will and the truth from your experience, doesn’t this benefit people? So, what does status mean to you? In fact, status is simply an extra, additional thing, like a piece of clothing or a hat. It is just an ornament. It has no real use, and its presence doesn’t affect anything. Whether you have status or not, you are still the same person. Whether people can understand the truth and gain the truth and life has nothing to do with status. As long as you do not take status as too great a matter, it cannot constrain you. If you love status and place special emphasis on it, always treating it as a matter of importance, then it will have you under its control; you will not be willing to open up, lay yourself bare, know yourself, or set aside your leadership role to act, speak and interact with others and fulfill your duty. What sort of problem is this? Is this not a matter of being constrained by status? This happens because you speak and act from a place of status and can’t step down from your high horse. Aren’t you just tormenting yourself by doing this? If you really understand the truth, and if you can have status without holding yourself like you do, but can instead focus on how to perform your duties well, do everything you should and fulfill all the duties you ought, and if you see yourself as an ordinary brother or sister, then will you not have cast aside the yoke of status? When you are not constrained by status and have a normal life entry, would you still compare yourself against others? When others occupy a higher status, would you still feel discomfort? You must seek the truth and free yourself of the constraints of status and the constraints of all other people, matters, and things. There is nothing better than doing your duty well. Only then will you be a person who possesses the truth reality.

—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. How to Resolve the Temptations and Bondage of Status

How can the problem of them walking the path of antichrists be resolved? (In one respect, they must understand this matter, and come before God to pray when they reveal thoughts of striving for status. Furthermore, they must lay themselves bare to their brothers and sisters, and then consciously rebel against these incorrect thoughts. They must also ask for God to judge, chastise, deal with, and discipline them. Then they will be able to embark on the correct path.) That’s quite a good answer. However, this is not easy to achieve, and it’s even harder for those who love reputation and status too much. Letting go of reputation and status isn’t easy—it depends on people pursuing the truth. Only by understanding the truth can one come to know oneself, see clearly the emptiness of seeking fame, gain and status, and see clearly the truth of mankind’s corruption. Only when a person truly comes to know themselves can they abandon status and reputation. It’s not easy to cast off one’s corrupt disposition. If you have recognized that you lack the truth, are beset with deficiencies, and reveal too much corruption, yet you put no effort into pursuing the truth, and you disguise yourself and engage in hypocrisy, leading people to believe that you can do anything, then this will put you in danger—and sooner or later, there will come a time when you will hit a roadblock and fall. You must admit that you don’t have the truth, and be brave enough to face reality. You have weaknesses, reveal corruption, and are beset with all manner of inadequacies. This is normal, because you’re a regular person, you’re not superhuman or omnipotent, and you must recognize that. When other people scorn or satirize you, don’t immediately react with antipathy because what they say is unpleasant, or resist it because you believe yourself to be capable and perfect—this shouldn’t be your attitude toward such words. What should your attitude be? You should say to yourself, “I have my faults, everything about me is corrupt and flawed, and I’m simply an ordinary person. Their scorn and satirizing of me notwithstanding, is there any truth to it? If part of what they say is true, then I must accept it from God.” If you have this attitude, it is proof that you are capable of handling status, reputation, and what other people say about you correctly. Status and reputation are not easily put aside. For those who are somewhat gifted, have some degree of caliber, or are possessed of some work experience, putting these things aside is even harder. Though they may sometimes claim to have put them aside, they cannot do so in their hearts. As soon as the situation permits and they have the opportunity, they will go on striving for fame, gain, and status as they did before, because all corrupt humans love these things, it’s just that those who don’t possess gifts or talents have a slightly weaker desire to pursue status. Those who possess knowledge, talent, good-looks, and special capital, have a particularly strong desire for reputation and status, to the extent that they are filled with this ambition and desire. This is the hardest thing for them to put aside. When they have no status, their desire is in the nascent stage. Once they acquire status, when the house of God entrusts them with some important task, and particularly if they have worked for many years and have a lot of experience and capital, the desire is no longer nascent, but has already taken root, blossomed, and is about to bear fruit. If a person has the constant desire and ambition to do great things, to become famous, to become some great figure, then as soon as they commit a great evil, and its consequences take effect, they’ll be completely finished, and cast out. And so, before this leads to great calamity, they must quickly turn the situation around, while there’s still time. Whenever you do anything, and in whatever context, you must seek truth, practice being someone who is honest and obedient to God, and put aside the pursuit of status and reputation. When you have the constant thought and desire to compete for status, then you must realize what bad things this kind of state will lead to if left unsolved. So waste no time in searching for the truth, overcome your desire to compete for status while it is in the nascent stage, and replace it with practicing the truth. When you practice the truth, your desire and ambition to compete for status will be diminished, and you will not disturb the work of the church. In this way, your actions will be remembered and approved of by God. So what am I trying to emphasize? It is this: You must rid yourself of your desires and ambitions before they come to fruition and lead to great calamity. If you don’t address them while they are still in their infancy, you will miss a great opportunity; and once they have led to great calamity, it will be too late to solve them. If you lack even the will to rebel against the flesh, it will be very difficult for you to set foot upon the path of pursuing the truth; if you encounter setbacks and failure in your pursuit of fame, gain, and status, and you do not come to your senses, then this is dangerous: There is a possibility that you will be cast out. When those who love the truth encounter one or two failures and setbacks in terms of their reputation and status, they can see clearly that reputation and status have no value at all. They are able to utterly forsake status and reputation, and resolve that, even if they never possess status, they will still continue to pursue the truth and perform their duty properly, and share their experiential testimony, thereby bearing testimony to God. Even when they are ordinary followers, they are still capable of following to the very end, and all they want is to receive God’s approval. Only these are people who genuinely love the truth and have resolve. The house of God has cast out many antichrists and evil people, and some who pursue the truth, after seeing the failure of antichrists, reflect on the path that those people took, and also reflect on and know themselves. From this, they gain an understanding of God’s will, resolve to be ordinary followers, and focus on pursuing the truth and doing their duty well. Even if God says they are service-doers or lowly nobodies, it’s fine by them. They will just try to be lowly people, and small, insignificant followers in God’s eyes, who will ultimately end up being called acceptable created beings by God. People like this are the good ones and those that God approves of.

—The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Three)

When God requires that people fulfill their duty well, He is not asking them to complete a certain number of tasks or accomplish any great endeavors, nor to perform any great undertakings. What God wants is for people to be able to do all they can in a down-to-earth way, and live in accordance with His words. God does not need you to be great or noble, or bring about any miracles, nor does He want to see any pleasant surprises in you. He does not need such things. All God needs is for you to steadfastly practice according to His words. When you listen to God’s words, do what you have understood, carry out what you have comprehended, remember well what you have heard, and then, when the time comes to practice, do so according to God’s words. Let them become your life, your realities, and what you live out. Thus, God will be satisfied. You always seek greatness, nobility, and status; you always seek exaltation. How does God feel when He sees this? He loathes it, and He will distance Himself from you. The more you pursue things like greatness, nobility, and being superior to others, distinguished, outstanding, and noteworthy, the more disgusting God finds you. If you do not reflect upon yourself and repent, then God will despise you and forsake you. Avoid becoming someone whom God finds disgusting; be a person that God loves. So, how can one attain God’s love? By accepting the truth obediently, standing in the position of a created being, acting by God’s words with one’s feet on the ground, properly performing one’s duties, being an honest person, and living out a human likeness. This is enough, God will be satisfied. People must be sure not to hold ambition or entertain idle dreams, not to seek fame, gains, and status or to stand out from the crowd. Even more, they must not try to be a person of greatness or superhuman, superior among men and making others worship them. That is the desire of corrupt humanity, and it is the path of Satan; God does not save such people. If people incessantly pursue fame, gains, and status without repenting, then there is no cure for them, and only one outcome: to be cast out. Today, if you are quick to repent, there is still time; but when the day comes that God completes His work, and disasters grow ever greater, then you will no longer have the chance. When that time comes, those who pursue fame, gains, and status, yet stubbornly refuse to repent, shall be cast out. You must all be clear about what kind of people God’s work saves, and what the meaning of His salvation is. God asks people to come before Him, listen to His words, accept the truth, cast off their corrupt disposition, and practice as God says and commands. This means living according to His words, as opposed to their own notions, imaginings, and satanic philosophies, or pursuing human “happiness.” Whoever does not listen to God’s words or accept the truth, but still lives, unrepentant, by the philosophies of Satan and with a satanic disposition, this kind of person cannot be saved by God. You follow God, but of course this is also because God has chosen you—but what is the meaning of God choosing you? It is to change you into someone who trusts in God, who truly follows God, who can forsake everything for God, and who is able to follow the way of God; someone who has shed their satanic disposition, no longer following Satan or living under its power. If you follow God and perform your duty in His house, yet violate the truth in every regard, and do not practice or experience according to His words, maybe even opposing Him, could you be accepted by God? Absolutely not. What do I mean by this? Performing your duty isn’t actually difficult, nor is it hard to do so devotedly, and to an acceptable standard. You don’t have to sacrifice your life or do anything special or difficult, you merely have to follow the words and instructions of God honestly and steadfastly, not adding your own ideas or running your own operation, but walking the path of pursuing the truth. If people can do this, they will basically have a human semblance. When they have true obedience to God, and have become an honest person, they will possess the likeness of a true human being.

—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Proper Fulfillment of Duty Requires Harmonious Cooperation

As I judge you thus today, what degree of understanding will you have in the end? You will say that although your status is not high, you have nonetheless enjoyed the elevation of God. Because you are of lowly birth you do not have status, but you gain status because God elevates you—this is something He bestowed upon you. Today you are able to personally receive God’s training, His chastisement, and His judgment. This, even more so, is His elevation. You are able to personally receive His purification and burning. This is God’s great love. Through the ages there has not been a single person who has received His purification and burning, and not a single person has been able to be perfected by His words. God is now speaking with you face to face, purifying you, revealing your inner rebelliousness—this truly is His elevation. What abilities do people have? Whether they are the sons of David or the descendants of Moab, in sum, people are created beings who have nothing worthy of boasting about. Since you are God’s creatures, you must perform the duty of a creature. There are no other requirements of you. This is how you should pray: “Oh God! Whether I have status or not, I now understand myself. If my status is high it is because of Your elevation, and if it is low it is because of Your ordination. Everything is in Your hands. I have neither any choices, nor any complaints. You ordained that I would be born in this country and among this people, and all that I should do is to be completely obedient under Your dominion because everything is within what You have ordained. I do not give thought to status; after all, I am but a creature. If You place me in the bottomless pit, in the lake of fire and brimstone, I am nothing but a creature. If You use me, I am a creature. If You perfect me, I am yet a creature. If You do not perfect me, I will still love You because I am no more than a creature. I am nothing more than a minuscule creature created by the Lord of creation, just one among all created humans. It was You who created me, and now You have once again placed me in Your hands to do with me as You will. I am willing to be Your tool and Your foil because everything is what You have ordained. No one can change it. All things and all events are in Your hands.” When the time comes that you will no longer give thought to status, then you will break free from it. Only then will you be able to confidently and boldly seek, and only then can your heart become free of any constraints. Once people have been extricated from these things, then they will have no more concerns.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Why Are You Unwilling to Be a Foil?

As one of the creatures, man must keep his own position, and behave conscientiously. Dutifully guard that which is entrusted to you by the Creator. Do not act out of line, or do things beyond your range of ability or which are loathsome to God. Do not try to be great, or become a superman, or above others, nor seek to become God. This is how people should not desire to be. Seeking to become great or a superman is absurd. Seeking to become God is even more disgraceful; it is disgusting, and despicable. What is commendable, and what the creatures should hold to more than anything else, is to become a true creature; this is the only goal that all people should pursue.

—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique I

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