After Everyone But Me Is Promoted
By Li Fei, Italy
In January 2021, the project I was responsible for was about to wrap up. My brothers and sisters were gradually transferred to other duties, until just myself and a few partners were left to do wrap-up work. At the time, I was thinking about completing my work at hand and holding my duty to the last. Surprisingly, one day, I suddenly learned one of my partners was promoted to leader. She would be in charge of gospel work. This made me unsettled, and left me feeling a little sour. Why wasn’t I promoted to leader? Couldn’t I also serve as a leader or supervisor? But then I thought, “Maybe it’s because she is a more capable worker, so she was promoted first. Anyway, my work here still isn’t finished, and my partners are also continuing their duties here, so once the work is done, new duties will likely be arranged for us.” But before long, my other three partners were also promoted to be church leaders or put in charge of newcomer churches. Hearing this news made me even more uncomfortable. They had all become leaders and workers, but I hadn’t moved at all. I had to take over everything they were working on. It looked like I had to be responsible for all of it until the very end. I also worked in the team, so why were they all promoted instead of me? Was I really that bad? It seemed that my brothers and sisters thought they were better than me. Now, I was the worst off of all my partners. Did my leaders think I wasn’t worth cultivating? Did they have some prejudice against me? I really didn’t want to take on their work. I felt that the more I took on, the less I could do other kinds of work. By the time I was finished with my work, my partners would already have been practicing for some time. They would have become familiar with their work and have mastered some principles, but I would be a complete novice. If I was later sent to preach the gospel or water newcomers, and my former partner became my supervisor, such a large gap would be very embarrassing. The more I thought about it, the worse I felt. When my brothers and sisters asked me to take over their tasks, I was very opposed. I was upset and didn’t want to. For over two days, I didn’t try to learn how to do the tasks they handed off to me. I didn’t care much about my own work, I procrastinated and didn’t follow up on work, and I didn’t think about which problems needed to be solved or how to do things well. Although I told myself to obey the environment God arranged, I still felt passive, unmotivated, and disinterested. I didn’t know what to say when I prayed, and I didn’t readwith my heart. I had some awareness of it. I came before God and prayed, “God, I have been very resistant to taking over my partners’ work these days. I know my state isn’t right, so please guide me so that I can know myself.”
After I prayed, I read a passage of God’s words that gave me some awareness of my state. God’s words say, “Now, all of you are full-time performers of your duties. You are not constrained or tied down by family, marriage, or wealth. You have already emerged from that. However, the notions, imaginations, knowledge, and personal intent and desires that fill your heads remain unchanged from their original form. So as soon as position, face, or reputation is involved—when people hear that the house of God plans to nurture various kinds of talent, for example—everyone’s heart leaps in anticipation, and each of you always wants to make a name for yourself and be recognized. All of you will fight for status and reputation. People with a little sense are ashamed of competing, but they feel bad if they don’t. Some people feel jealousy and hatred when they see someone stand out, and become resentful, and feel that this is unfair. ‘Why can’t I stand out? Why do other people always get the glory? Why is it never my turn?’ They then feel some resentment. They try to repress it, but they cannot. They pray to God and feel better for a while, but when they encounter this sort of situation again, they still cannot overcome it. Does this not display an immature stature? When people are plunged into such states, have they not fallen into Satan’s trap? These are the shackles of Satan’s corrupt nature that bind humans. … The more you struggle, the more darkness will surround you, and the more jealousy and hatred you will feel, and your desire to obtain will only grow stronger. The stronger your desire to obtain, the less capable you will be to do so, and as you obtain less, your hatred will increase. As your hatred increases, you will grow darker inside. The darker you are inside, the more poorly you will perform your duty; the more poorly you perform your duty, the less useful to the house of God you will be. This is an interlinked, vicious cycle. If you can never perform your duty well, then, gradually, you will be cast out” (“Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). God’s word revealed my state. I felt so resistant and dissatisfied during those days because my desire for reputation and status wasn’t satisfied. When I saw my partners being promoted, my heart was stirred. I hoped I could also be promoted, so that I could gain status and people’s high regard, but when I knew my leaders didn’t mean to promote me, and made me take over my partners’ work, I was jealous of my partners, and I believed the leaders were prejudiced against me, or even looked down on me. When I thought of how I was the worst in the eyes of my leaders, and that all my partners had been promoted to be leaders and supervisors while I had no position at all, I was miserable and dissatisfied. I even vented my anger on my duty. I stopped caring what happened with the tasks I was given and didn’t put my heart into my own work. God hated to see me living in this rebellious state, so I had no words in prayer, no enlightenment from His word, and became worse in my duty. God’s word says competing for status is a vicious cycle that leads to darkness, and I was in it. Thinking back on this period, I recalled my oath that I would hold my duty to the last, but as soon as I saw others being promoted, and my desire for status wasn’t satisfied, I lost interest in my duty. My desire for status was too strong, and I had to quickly seek the truth to resolve my state.
After that, I read a passage of God’s word on how to view promotion and cultivation that resolved my state. God’s words say, “If you think yourself fit to be a leader, possessed of the talent, caliber, and humanity for leadership, yet God’s house has not promoted you and the brothers and sisters have not elected you, how should you treat the matter? There is a path here on which you may practice. You must thoroughly know yourself. Look to see whether you in fact have a problem with your humanity, or whether some aspect of your corrupt disposition repulses people; whether you do not possess the reality of the truth and are unconvincing to others, or whether the duty you perform is unsatisfactory. You must reflect on all these things and see where it is, exactly, that you fall short. After you have reflected for a while and found where your problem is, you must promptly seek the truth to resolve it, and enter the reality of the truth, and strive to achieve a change and to grow, so that when those around you see, they will say, ‘These days, he’s been much better than before. He works solidly and takes his profession seriously, and he’s especially focused on the principles of the truth. He doesn’t do things impetuously, or without care and perfunctorily, and he’s more conscientious and responsible about his work. He used to blow his horn a bit, but now he’s much more discreet and no longer overbearing. He doesn’t boast about what he can do, and when he’s finished something, he repeatedly reflects on it, for fear of doing something wrong. He’s much more cautious in doing things, and he fears God in his heart now—and most of all, he can fellowship about the truth to resolve a few problems. Indeed, he’s grown.’ When those around you have interacted with you for a while, they will find that you have undergone obvious change and growth; in your daily life and your conduct toward others, and in your attitude toward your work, and in your treatment of the principles of the truth alike, you exert more effort than before, and are more rigorous in your speech and acts. If the brothers and sisters see all this and take it to heart, then perhaps you will be able to run as a candidate in the next election. As a candidate, you will have a hope; if you can truly perform some important duty, you will gain God’s blessing. If you have truly taken on a burden and have such a sense of responsibility, and wish to carry a load, then hurry up and train yourself. Focus on practicing the truth and come to act with principles; once you have life experience and can write essays of testimony, you will truly have grown. And if you can bear witness for God, then you can certainly gain the work of the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit is working, then God looks on you with favor, and with the Holy Spirit guiding you, your opportunity will soon arise. You may have a burden now, but your stature is insufficient and your life experience too shallow, so even if you were to become a leader, you would be liable to tumble. You must pursue life entry, resolve your extravagant desires, willingly be a follower, and come to obey God sincerely, with no words of resentment for whatever He orchestrates or plans. When you are possessed of this stature, your opportunity will come. That you wish to take on a heavy load, that you have this burden, is a good thing. It shows that you have a positive, proactive heart and that you want to follow God’s will and to be considerate of His intentions. This is not ambition, but a true burden; it is the responsibility of those who pursue the truth and the object of their pursuit. If you are unselfish and not out for your own sake, but to bear witness for God and satisfy Him, then what you are doing is what is most blessed by God, and He will make suitable arrangements for you. … God’s will is to gain more people who can bear witness for Him; it is to perfect all who love Him, and to make a group of people who are of one heart and mind with Him as early as possible. Therefore, in God’s house, all who pursue the truth have great prospects, and the prospects of those who love God sincerely are without limit. Everyone should understand His will. It is indeed a positive thing to have this burden, and it is something those with a conscience and reason should possess, but not everyone will necessarily be able to take on a heavy load. Where does this discrepancy come from? Whatever your strengths or capabilities, and however high your IQ may be, what is crucial is your pursuit and the path you walk” (Identifying False Leaders). I saw from God’s word that whether you are promoted and cultivated depends on your pursuit and path. If you pursue the truth and genuinely bear a burden, and have some caliber and talent, God’s house will give you chances, promote and cultivate you, and give you important tasks. But if people don’t pursue the truth and take the wrong path, even if they become a leader, they won’t last long. People like this are unsuitable for promotion. I applied God’s word to myself and felt ashamed. I saw that I was unreasonable and had no real knowledge of myself or my true stature. I thought I was especially capable and good, and that if my partners were promoted, I also deserved to be promoted. I didn’t look at whether I was someone who pursued the truth, whether my humanity was qualified, and whether I could bear the burden of the work. Instead, I blindly compared, and pursued being promoted. Actually, I wasn’t considerate of God’s will at all. I didn’t want to share in the work of the church and fulfill my responsibilities. I wanted to prove I was no worse than my partners and obtain a high status to show off in front of more people and make others look up to me. I performed my duty with my own ambitions and desires, so even if I became a leader, I would still pursue status. Working for reputation and status makes doing a duty well impossible. That I wasn’t a leader was protection for me. I also understood that in the face of not being promoted, someone with genuine reason would be content to perform their own duty well. They would also reflect on their shortcomings, and seek the truth to resolve their problems, and strive to make progress and change. Reflecting on myself based on God’s word, I saw that I actually had average caliber and wasn’t someone who pursued the truth. I was simply satisfied to finish my daily tasks and didn’t focus on resolving my corrupt dispositions, so after years of believing in God, I was still very competitive, often worried about my reputation and status, and when I didn’t get status, I vented my anger in my duty and disregarded the work. I really had none of the realities of truth at all, and despite this, I still wanted to be promoted. I didn’t have the slightest self-knowledge. I knew I shouldn’t pursue promotion anymore. Instead, I should be obedient and do my duty in a down-to-earth manner. That is the reason I ought to possess. When I realized this, my sense of brooding lifted, and I began to make normal progress on the work at hand. I also began thinking about how to do the wrap-up work in more detail and more thoroughly, so that I could finish without regrets. I also went over the duty’s deviations, mistakes, and benefits with my brothers and sisters. Practicing this way, I felt at ease and secure.
After some time, the church arranged for me to supervise several newcomer churches part time. When I heard this arrangement, I had mixed feelings. I felt I had too many deficiencies and would start my practice by watering newcomers, but the church gave me a chance at cultivation by making me a supervisor. I misunderstood and guessed about my leaders that they had a prejudice against me and deliberately didn’t promote me, but actually, they evaluated things based on the principles of selecting and using people and the needs of church work. I only thought this because I lived in a state of contending for status, so I was unreasonable. It felt very embarrassing to think about. Practicing as a supervisor, I felt a great deal of pressure, and I wanted to be well-equipped with the truth to perform my duty well. In the days that followed, when I encountered things I didn’t understand, I sought answers with my partners, and I spent nearly all my time on the church’s work. But after a while, the work of the churches I supervised wasn’t very effective, and only then did I see I had many deficiencies. I also realized that even with status, it’s impossible to work well if you lack the truth, so I felt even more ashamed that I had always wanted to be a leader before. During that time, I stopped thinking about how to make others admire me, and only wanted to perform my duty well. I had a more down-to-earth attitude toward my duty, so I believed my pursuit of fame and status had changed a little, and that I could focus on doing my duty properly. But when another environment came upon me, I was revealed again.
In June of 2021, the church arranged for me to take on another project with a higher workload, and a tight deadline. Although we faced many difficulties, with the hard work of all of us, after a few months, our work started to become more effective, and we finished twice as much work as in the previous year. I felt very proud, and felt I played a part in the fact that we achieved these results, so if the leaders wanted to promote someone, they would likely think of me. Unexpectedly, in the next few days, I heard that the leaders were discussing promoting and training people, and from time to time, I heard the names of brothers and sisters I used to know. Hearing this news made my heart sour, and my mind started to churn again, “It seems like they’re looking for people to promote and cultivate everywhere, and they’ll consider anyone who is somewhat suitable. I’ve been effective in my duty, so with this shortage of people, why haven’t the leaders considered promoting me? Have the leaders seen through me and decided I am not someone who pursues the truth? Do they think I am someone who can only handle external things? If that’s what they think, will I ever have the chance to be promoted and cultivated?” These thoughts made me very uncomfortable, and the future felt bleak. I felt that no matter how hard I pursued, I would never have the chance to advance in my duty. I also became prejudiced against the leaders. Sometimes, when the leaders talked to me, I just ignored them. I said as little as possible, and I didn’t even like to see my sisters around me. I always looked sullen, I didn’t want to speak much, and I wanted to spend all my time alone. Unconsciously, I stopped bearing a burden in my duty. I felt that no matter how well I did, the leaders couldn’t see my effort and dedication, so why should I work so hard? I would just do enough to get by.
One day, I read a passage of God’s word. “In the antichrists’ hearts, they believe that faith in God and the pursuit of the truth is the pursuit of status and prestige; the pursuit of status and prestige is also the pursuit of the truth, and to gain status and prestige is to gain the truth and life. If they feel that they have no prestige 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, a reputation, so that they enjoy benefits, and have status—they often ponder such things. 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 and essence” (“They Do Their Duty Only to Distinguish Themselves and Feed Their Own Interests and Ambitions; They Never Consider the Interests of God’s House, and Even Sell Those Interests Out in Exchange for Personal Glory (Part Three)” in Exposing Antichrists). From God’s word, I saw that antichrists cherish fame and status, and see them as more important than anything else. When they don’t receive status, they find belief in God tedious. They have no sincerity in their belief in God or duties, nor do they do these things to understand the truth. Instead, they do them to gain fame and status, and to make people admire and look up to them. This shows that the dispositions of antichrists are especially evil. I thought of how I always pursued being promoted and cultivated, and when I wasn’t, I became passive and unmotivated. My pursuit of fame and status was already out of my control. It was the same as what an antichrist displays. I thought of how, during school, I took “Man struggles upwards; water flows downwards,” “A soldier who doesn’t dream of becoming a general is a bad soldier,” and similar satanic toxins as the laws of survival, so I sought to get the best grades. If I didn’t get first place, I at least had to be an honors student and win the praise of my classmates and teachers. After I believed in God, I pursued becoming a leader as my goal, thinking that if I had status, I could have a place in God’s house, I could make my presence known, I could get more people to look up to and admire me, and I could make my words count. So when church work urgently required people and the leaders didn’t seem to be considering me, I felt passive and miserable, had no drive to perform my duty, and even felt there was no direction or goal to pursue in my belief in God. I saw that the pursuit of fame and status had become my life. Every day, it controlled my life and my actions, so that no matter what group of people I was in, I always wanted to be admired and praised by others, and I hated to be left behind. When the leaders appreciated me, thought highly of me, and promoted me to do important work, I was very satisfied, but without their appreciation and promotion, I became negative and depraved, I muddled through my duties, became disinterested, and even wanted to give up. I now saw clearly that my belief in God was not sincere, it was only for status. When my status was high, I pursued vigorously, but when I couldn’t gain status, I lost my direction and goals in my pursuit. I saw that my pursuit of fame and status had become something in my bones. Every time I encountered a similar situation, I would be negative and weak, live in a state of rebelliousness, and have no intention to perform my duty. I suddenly realized I was in serious danger if I went on like this.
After that, I read in God’s word, “If you really cherish status and prestige, are deeply attached to them, can’t bear to give them up, if you always feel that without status and prestige there is no joy or hope in living, that there is only hope in this life when you are living for status and prestige, that if you are not able to achieve your aims, you will still carry on fighting for status and prestige, you will never give up, and that even a little renown and status can earn you the admiration of others—if this is your mentality, if your heart is filled with such things, then you are incapable of loving and pursuing the truth, you lack the right direction and aims in your faith in God, and are incapable of pursuing the knowledge of yourself, casting off corruption and living out the image of man; you let things slide when performing your duty, you are devoid of any sense of responsibility, and are satisfied only with not committing evil, not causing trouble, not being thrown out. Could such people perform their duty to an acceptable standard? And could they be saved by God? Impossible. When you act for the sake of reputation and status, you still think, ‘Showing off isn’t evil. I’m performing my duty; as long as what I do isn’t an evil deed and doesn’t constitute a disturbance, then even if my motive is wrong, no one can see it or condemn me.’ You do not know that God scrutinizes all. If you do not accept or practice the truth, and are loathed and rejected by God, it is all over for you. All who do not fear God think themselves smart; in fact, they do not even know when they have offended Him. Some people do not see these things clearly; they think, ‘I only pursue reputation and status in order to do more, to take on more responsibility. It doesn’t constitute an interruption or disturbance to the work of God’s house, and it certainly doesn’t damage the interests of His house. It’s not a major problem. What God requires isn’t much, and He doesn’t compel people to do things they can’t or won’t. I may love status and protect my status, but that’s not an evil act.’ On its surface, such a pursuit may seem not to be an act of evil, but what does it lead to in the end? Will such people gain the truth? Will they achieve salvation? Absolutely not. Therefore, 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 prestige, and if you find it very difficult to put these things aside, then they will affect your entry into life; 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 reality of the truth, to say nothing of achieving changes in your disposition; whether you are ultimately able to gain God’s approval is, of course, a different matter. 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 creature of God. Why do I say this? God hates 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 cleanses. God despises 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 creature of God, a small and insignificant creature of God—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 praised 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 exposed and cast out, which is a dead end” (“They Do Their Duty Only to Distinguish Themselves and Feed Their Own Interests and Ambitions; They Never Consider the Interests of God’s House, and Even Sell Those Interests Out in Exchange for Personal Glory (Part Three)” in Exposing Antichrists). After reading God’s words, I was terrified, and felt that this was God’s warning to me. If I still cherished my status, and thought life was hopeless without status and important roles, pursuit like this was contending for status and going against God, not conducting myself and performing my duty from the position of a created being, so continuing on this path was a dead end, and in the end, I would be sent to hell and punished! Afraid and trembling, I read this passage of God’s word several times in a row, and from my heart, I felt that God’s righteous disposition cannot be offended. I used to think that humans have corrupt dispositions, so it is normal to pursue fame and status, everyone tries to improve their station, and that those who don’t are unambitious and have no goals or determination. So, I didn’t take my corruption in this area seriously. I simply felt negative sometimes, and thought I would feel better after a few days. It didn’t delay my work too much, and I didn’t do anything out of line, so I didn’t think it was a big problem. But God clearly said that the pursuit of status is a dead end! Through contemplation, I understood something. Pursuing fame and status is a satanic disposition, and it is the path of resisting God. Pursuing like this is going against God and competing with God for status, and those who do it will be punished by God for resisting Him. I thought of the archangel, whose status was already high enough, but it wasn’t satisfied. It coveted God’s status and wanted to be on an equal footing with God, and in the end, God knocked it into the air. I was already in charge of some work in the church. Given my caliber and stature, I was unworthy of taking on such important work. Even so, I wasn’t satisfied. I didn’t strive to achieve the best results in my own duty. Instead, I wanted to do greater work to show off and make people look up to me. Wasn’t I just like the archangel? And when I lived in my state of fighting for fame and status, it wasn’t just a few days of negativity as I imagined, it ended up hindering the work, and got to the point where I was ready to quit when I didn’t get status, where I didn’t take the work of God’s house seriously, where I was indifferent to my duty, muddling through wherever possible and procrastinating, and where I didn’t care if the work of God’s house was harmed at all. I was unwilling to submit to God’s arrangements, I always fought for status, and I became passive and hostile if I didn’t get it. I was walking the path of resisting God, so how could God not detest me? Thinking of this, I felt fear and regret. I quickly prayed to God to say I wished to repent and no longer wanted to pursue fame and status.
Afterwards, I found the way to escape the shackles of fame and status in God’s words and understood what a created being should pursue. God’s words say, “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” (“God Himself, the Unique I” in). God’s word clearly says that the pursuit of status and being a superman is something that God hates. The actual pursuit people ought to have is being a genuine created being. After reading God’s word, I knew what I should pursue. I am a created being, and God knows best what work I can undertake. No matter what position I am in, what God wants is for me to perform the role of a created being in a down-to-earth manner, and fulfill my duty properly. I need to pray to God to let go of my ambitions and desires, and no matter what duty I perform, I must obey God’s arrangements. sincerely fulfill my own responsibilities, and strive to be effective in my duty. This is what a created being should do. After that, I no longer considered whether I would be promoted. Instead, I consciously contemplated how to be more efficient to achieve the best results, and I thought of ways to resolve things when problems arose. After a period of time, I worked with my brothers and sisters to overcome some difficulties, and the efficiency of our work also improved.
In the days that followed, I still heard from time to time that my past partners were promoted to be leaders or supervisors. Although I was still a little disappointed, because I felt others could make their presence known by being promoted, while I was still stuck in the same place, yet I quickly realized that it was my desire for status at work again. So I quickly prayed and forsook myself, and I thought of God’s word, “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 creature of God, a small and insignificant creature of God—not someone who has status and prestige and is revered by thousands of people.” Then, my goals were clear in my heart. I saw that status is not preordained for people by God. No matter what your duty may be, you are fulfilling your responsibility. It is also using your own strengths and abilities in the right position. Being a leader does not mean you have status, and there are no higher and lower positions. God’s requirements for people are that we become qualified created beings, and obey God’s arrangements. Only these are proper pursuits. If people cannot obey God, cannot keep to their duties, and solely pursue climbing the ladder and gaining status, this is shameful. I also understood that seeing and hearing about the brothers and sisters around me being promoted was God’s test for me. God was watching my attitude. By praying and reading God’s words, I could receive these things correctly, I was no longer negative, and I could perform my duty properly. After going through these things, I realized God’s good intentions. If I, with my love of status, really became a leader, I would involuntarily walk the path of the antichrist, and I could only ruin myself. Now, I can be obedient and down-to-earth in my duty. These are the effects of the judgment of God’s words. Thank God!