God’s Words Lead the Way
By Xiaocheng, Shaanxi
God’s words say: “God’s exposing people is not done to eliminate them, but to make them grow” (“Only by Practicing God’s Words Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks). In the past, because I misunderstood God’s intention to expose people, whenever I made any errors in the fulfillment of my duty or encountered any difficulty, or I came up against failure or suffered a reverse, I would dwell in a state of negativity and misunderstanding: passively slackening off in my work, not seeking God’s will, and not reflecting inwardly to know myself. This caused me to lose many opportunities to obtain the truth. Thanks to the environment God had arranged, as well as the enlightenment and guidance of His words, I later discovered the deviations in my own experience and realized that God does not expose people in order to eliminate us, but to allow our lives to grow. Upon understanding God’s will, I no longer was negative or misunderstood God, and I found a path by which to practice and gain access to the truth.
At the church, the duty I fulfill is to organize documents. For some time, due to God’s guidance, I had achieved some results in the fulfilling of my duty. After I revised gospel materials for my brothers and sisters to inspect, they had not discovered any problems, yet when it came to the gospel materials they had compiled themselves, not only had I been able to find some issues, but I had also been able to revise and fix these issues for them. When my brothers and sisters had not been in a good situation, I had been able to bring my own experience to bear and communicate to them based on God’s words, thus enabling them to come out of their erroneous situation. As soon as this occurred to me, I had felt elated. I felt as though I had done a pretty good job of fulfilling my duty, and had actually made some progress. To my great surprise, however, with the gospel materials I have revised these past couple of days, problems have been popping up repeatedly. One day a sister said to me, “The sentences you wrote in your gospel materials always used to be more refined. How is it that there are so many mistakes in this document?” As one who had always been rather adept at revising sentences, I had a bit of a hard time accepting this. I thought to myself, “I have worked very hard on revising this gospel material, so how could there still be any problems with its sentences?” Seeing the corrections this sister had made on the document, I felt quite unhappy. However, I had not sought God’s will; I had merely given this gospel material another once-over and been done with it. The next day, while reviewing another piece of gospel material I had revised, the same sister unexpectedly said that my line of thought in my revision had been unclear and that I had failed to establish its overall argument. She even said the person in charge had also seen this material, and shared her view. Hearing this, my heart thudded loudly in my ears. I thought to myself, “How could this have happened? How could I have failed to establish a clear line of thought in my sentences, or failed to convey the meaning of the content overall? Now, not only does this sister think my work is not up to scratch, but the person in charge feels the same. Doesn’t that show that there is actually a major flaw in the train of thought throughout the entire document? Now that I was unable to catch such glaring issues, have I lost the work of the Holy Spirit? Is there a problem with my caliber as a person? Am I not fit to fulfill this duty? …” The more I thought about it, the weaker I felt; I had completely misunderstood God, and I felt that God was no longer working on me and that He disregarded me. At lunchtime, I watched my sisters talking and laughing together, but I could not get myself to cheer up.
Just then, I recalled one of God’s utterances: “When people do not understand or practice the truth, they often live amid the corrupt disposition of Satan. They exist amidst various satanic snares, wracking their brains for the sake of their own future, face, status, and other self-interests. But if you apply this attitude to your duty, to seeking and pursuing the truth, then you will gain the truth” (“How to Solve the Problem of Being Careless and Perfunctory When Performing Your Duty” in Records of Christ’s Talks). God’s words shook me awake. I calmed down, and began to think things over. Problem after problem had emerged in the documents that I had been revising over the past few days, yet even upon facing such a revelation, I had not sought God’s will at all. I also had not been trying to fathom what had led to the emergence of these problems in the fulfilling of my duty, whether they had emerged because these were issues with my disposition and intention or because I had not gained mastery in my work and had not grasped certain principles very well, nor had I been trying to figure out how I could prevent such errors from arising in the future so that I could achieve better results in the fulfilling of my duty. I had not given any consideration whatsoever to these practical questions; instead, my mind had been completely occupied with wondering how others saw me, and whether God had wanted to expose and eliminate me. I had spent all my time pondering these crooked ways, not thinking about the right path at all, and as a result, the more I had pondered, the more negative and depressed I had gotten, and I had lost interest in fulfilling my duty. Only then did I see the deviations in my experience. Upon being exposed by God, I had not focused on seeking the truth and resolving my issues, but instead had thought about my reputation and position, as well as my future and fate. I had been made a fool of by Satan, which had led me to believe in God for years without ever having attained life entry. I could not continue to be in such low spirits. I needed to seek God’s will in this sort of environment, reflect inward to get to know myself, and enter the reality of God’s words.
I came before God to reflect upon myself: Why was I always unable to accept the facts that were revealed? Why, every time a problem occurred in the fulfilling of my duty, did I always suffer so? Just what exactly was the reason for this? By way of prayer and seeking, I recalled God’s words: “Within mankind’s corrupt dispositions is a practical issue of which you are not aware; it is a most serious problem, and one that is common to every single person’s humanity. This is humanity’s biggest weakness, as well as an element of the nature essence of humans that is the most difficult to excavate and change. People themselves are objects of creation. Can objects of creation achieve omnipotence? Can they achieve perfection and flawlessness? Can they achieve proficiency in everything, come to understand everything, and accomplish everything? They cannot. However, within humans, there is a weakness. As soon as they learn a skill or profession, people feel that they are capable, that they are people with status and worth, and that they are professionals. No matter how ‘capable’ they think they are, they all want to package themselves up, disguise themselves as lofty personages, and appear perfect and flawless, without a single defect; in the eyes of others, they wish to be regarded as great, powerful, fully capable, and able to accomplish anything. … With regard to the weaknesses, shortcomings, ignorance, foolishness, and lack of understanding within normal humanity, they will wrap it all up, package it, and not let other people see it, and then keep on disguising themselves. There are some who, upon being asked whether they understand something, will reply that they do, but when you ask them to explain it, they cannot. After someone else has explained it, they then claim that they were about to say the same thing but were unable to voice it in time. They do everything they can to disguise themselves and try to look good. Such people’s heads are always stuck in the clouds, are they not? Are they not dreaming? They do not know who they themselves are, nor do they know how to live out normal humanity. They have never once acted like practical human beings. In conducting themselves, if people choose this sort of path—always having their heads in the clouds instead of their feet on the ground, always wanting to fly—then they are bound to encounter problems. The path in life you choose is not right. To be honest with you, if you do this, then no matter how you believe in God, you will not understand the truth, nor will you be able to obtain the truth, because your starting point is wrong. You must learn how to walk on the ground, and how to walk steadily, one step at a time. If you can walk, then walk; do not try to learn how to run. If you can walk one step at a time, then do not try to take two steps at a time. You must conduct yourself with your feet firmly on the ground. Do not try to be superhuman, great, or lofty.
Human beings, dominated by their satanic disposition, harbor some ambition and desire inside of them, which is hidden within their humanity. That is, humans never want to stay on the ground; they keep wanting to go up into the air. And for whom is the air a place to stay? That is a place for Satan, not a place for humans. When creating humans, God put them on the ground so that your daily lives could be completely normal and your lifestyles disciplined, and so that you could learn general knowledge about how to be human beings, and learn how to live your lives and how to worship God. God did not give you wings; He did not allow you to stay up in the air. Those with wings are birds, and the ones wandering around in the air are Satan and evil spirits and filthy demons. Those are not human beings! If people keep having such ambitions, always wanting to turn themselves extraordinary and superior, different from others, and special, then that is a problem! First of all, the source of your thinking is wrong. ‘Extraordinary and superior’—what kind of thinking is this? ‘Stand head and shoulders above the rest,’ ‘defy all comparison,’ ‘flawless and impeccable,’ ‘fine beyond compare,’ ‘forging a unique path’—when used in the goals of people’s pursuits, are these phrases good or bad? ‘Outstanding,’ ‘excellent,’ ‘special talent,’ ‘powerful presence,’ ‘charming personality,’ ‘irresistible,’ ‘celebrated and great,’ ‘idolized’—are these goals that people should be pursuing in conducting themselves? Is there even one word in all of the truth that tells you to be such a person? (No.)” (“The Five States Necessary to Be on the Right Track in One’s Faith” in Records of Christ’s Talks). “Under normal circumstances, no one is good at everything, no one is a ‘master of all trades.’ No matter how developed your brain is, how extensive your insights, there will always be things you don’t understand or are unaware of, trades or skills you don’t know; in every line of business or every job, there will always be gaps in your own knowledge that you’re unaware of, there will always be things that you are incapable of, or that are beyond you” (“Only by Practicing God’s Words Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks). Only after pondering over God’s words and comparing them with my situation did I discover that I had never been able to accept being exposed by Him. The reason for this was that I had been dominated by my arrogant satanic nature; I had always sought to be a perfect, flawless, lofty, valiant person. No matter where I went or where I was fulfilling my duty, I had always wanted to become the most outstanding, top-notch person. It had felt like I had to be such a person in order to be successful, and that otherwise, I would have been a good-for-nothing and a failure. Therefore, every time a problem arose while I was fulfilling my duty, I had not calmly faced it, accepted this sort of exposure by God, and admitted my own deficiencies. Rather, I had felt flabbergasted and that I should not have made any mistakes, wondering how it could have happened—to the point that I even would live in a state of negativity and misunderstanding, unable to treat myself properly. I really did not know myself very well, and had far too high an opinion of myself! God’s words made it evident that I had always sought to be a perfect, flawless, lofty person; this had completely come out of Satan’s ambition and desires. It had been Satan teasing and corrupting me, when in fact I was just an object of creation, forever unable to attain perfection. God has never required us to be lofty or perfect; He would have us be down-to-earth, make steady progress, and conduct ourselves with complete honesty. Using whatever sort of level and stature I had as a foundation, I should put my function into play, learn to submit to God’s work, and do my best to fulfill my duty; only then would I have the rationality befitting an object of creation. No one is perfect; all ordinary people have their own faults and ways in which they are not up to par. That deviations or problems had emerged in the fulfillment of my duty was quite normal, and by actually being exposed, I had discovered my shortcomings. Only by continuously improving and making up for those deficiencies would I be able to advance further and further and do a better and better job of fulfilling my duty. If I could not deal with my issues and shortcomings properly, and did not seek the truth to resolve them, then how could I make progress? It was only then that I realized how dominated I had been by desires and ambition. I had grown so presumptuous that I had no self-knowledge at all; my quest to be a perfect person had been completely contrary to God’s will and, as such, I could not possibly obtain His blessings and guidance.
Again I read God’s words: “God’s exposing people is not done to eliminate them, but to make them grow. Moreover, sometimes you might think you are being exposed, when in fact, you are not. Often, due to being of low caliber and not understanding the truth, as well as having an arrogant disposition, loving to show off, having a rebellious disposition, being unconscientious, careless, and casual in performing their duties, do their work poorly, and do not fulfill their duties properly. On the other hand, sometimes you might fail to abide by the principles that have been imparted to you; they just go in one ear and out the other. You do as you please, acting rashly without first fellowshiping more with others, and being a law unto yourself. Your actions have no good effects to speak of, and run counter to principle. In this, you should be disciplined, so how could it be said that you have been eliminated? You must approach this the right way. What is the right way to approach it? With matters in which you do not understand the truth, you must seek. What does seeking include? It is not merely a matter of seeking to understand doctrine; you must come to understand God’s will, as well as the principle for this work done by God’s house. What is principle? Principle is not doctrine. It has several criteria: What the work arrangements stipulate for such matters, what the Above has ordered with regard to doing such work, what God’s words say about performing this kind of duty, and the necessity to satisfy His will. What are the criteria for satisfying God’s will? They involve acting according to the truth principle. Broadly speaking, they are putting the interests of God’s house and its work first. More specifically, in all regards, no major problems should occur, and that no shame should be brought upon God. If people master these principles, will their worries not gradually recede? And will they also not let go of their misconceptions? Once you put aside your misconceptions, and no longer have any unreasonable thoughts about God, negative things will slowly cease to hold a dominant position within you, and you will approach these sorts of matters in the correct manner. Thus, it is important to seek the truth and strive to understand God’s will” (“Only by Practicing God’s Words Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks). God’s words made me understand that His exposure of me was not to eliminate me, but to allow me to discover the shortcomings in the fulfilling of my duty and to learn which parts of my corrupt disposition were still hindering me from fulfilling my duty, so that I could resolve these issues in a timely manner, be able to continuously raise the results of my work higher, and have my life disposition transformed as soon as possible. After understanding God’s will, I calmed myself and searched for the reason behind the problems that had occurred in both of my recent revisions of gospel materials. Thinking about it very carefully, I realized that whenever I had seen some improvement in my organizing of documents, I had dwelled in self-appreciation and self-satisfaction. I had not been striving for progress anymore, and upon subsequent handling of materials, I had done so carelessly, merely going through the motions. With regard to the details of the truth involved in the materials, I had not sought out the principles behind them even though I hadn’t comprehended them; I had merely had a rough idea of what they meant, and continued on in my confused state. As such, was it any wonder that problems had emerged in the fulfillment of my duty? Mulling it over, I realized that if I were to seek the truth to resolve my own corruption and spend more effort on diligently completing my tasks, then these problems could actually be avoided. By exposing the facts, God had allowed me to recognize my own corrupt disposition and the attitude I’d had in fulfilling my duty, so that I could seek the truth to solve these issues. Was this not precisely the love God had for me? This realization made my heart bright: I recognized that I should stop misunderstanding God and that I must hurry up and adjust my situation to devote my heart to the fulfillment of my duty. After that, I got together with the person in charge to further explore the reasoning in that gospel material and, based on the principles, determine the direction in which it should be revised. The following day, while going over it again, to my surprise, some highlights had been added, and by the time I was finished revising it, I felt a lot more confident and at ease.
This experience made me realize that if deviations or problems exist in the fulfillment of my duty, I should not be afraid, nor should I be scared if God exposes me. What is frightening is that, upon being exposed, I do not seek the truth to resolve my problems, and then dwell in a state of negativity while constantly delimiting myself, thereby losing many opportunities to obtain the truth and delaying my progress in life. From now on, no matter what setbacks or failures I might face, I wish to always seek the truth before God, engage in self-reflection to get to know myself, use God’s words to resolve my corrupt disposition, seek a path of entry into the truth. Only by practicing in this manner will I be able to make more and more progress in life and fulfill my duty more and more proficiently.