Christian Diaries: Falling into Temptation and Finding Victory Through God
Thursday, February 1, Sunny
This morning right after breakfast, even before I had finished my devotionals, my little sister came to my house and told me excitedly: “It’s really easy and fast to start an online business these days. I have a friend who’s been doing really well in her micro-business. Why don’t you give it a try?” She saw that I wasn’t saying a word, so then said: “Hey, give it a shot! There aren’t many barriers to entry and you don’t need to invest much money. Besides, your time would be really free. No matter where you are, you can share pictures of products on your Moments; the time is not limited like going to work.” After hearing her say this I thought: “I don’t have the time to be a micro-entrepreneur. I was just dismissed from my duty, so I really need to readand reflect on myself, then I need to perform my duty again.” Thinking of that, I flatly refused.
Sunday, February 4, Sunny
My sister came over again first thing in the morning to talk about the micro-entrepreneur thing. “In today’s society everyone looks down on you if you don’t have money! Besides, being a micro-entrepreneur won’t interfere with your faith and earning a little more money is always a good thing …” What she said stirred me a bit and I thought: “Since it wouldn’t interfere with my faith and I could earn some money, it seems it could work out well for me, but …” I was still hesitant and said to my sister: “Let me give it some thought.”
Thursday, February 8, Very Cloudy
After breakfast I tidied up the kitchen and just when I had sat down and was picking up the book of God’s words, my cousin called me and said: “Are you going to be a micro-entrepreneur? There’s a company I want to tell you about that has thousands of products. They’re good quality and inexpensive. As long as you become a member, when there are people buying the products, just go to the physical store to pick them up and you’ll earn money when they change hands. Your time can be really flexible, too—you can sell whenever you want to. When you don’t you can just do your own thing. You should give it some thought.” After she said that I thought to myself: “If that’s the case it’s really not bad. As an agent there’s usually not much variety in the products and you have to pay a larger agent fee for a greater variety, but that’s not necessary as a micro-entrepreneur, so this is a business opportunity that can’t be passed up. I don’t have a duty to perform now anyway, and I can manage my time myself as a micro-entrepreneur, so it won’t interfere with my devotionals or self-reflection!”
After my husband got off work that evening, I discussed the idea with him and he was really supportive. Considering that it wouldn’t have any impact on my faith and I could earn some money, it seemed like the best of both worlds! I decided to give it a try.
Tuesday, February 20, Sunny
Since joining the micro-enterprise field I’ve realized that it isn’t nearly as simple as my sister and cousin said it was. There’s a lot of information to take in and lectures to watch or listen to. Over this period of time I’ve just been hurriedly reading a few passages of God’s words during my daily devotionals and then clutching my phone, listening to classes and studying in the WeChat group to see how the group leader introduced the product, communicated with people, and interacted with people in friends group. Today, when I turned on my phone to listen to a class, I felt a little uneasy, thinking: “I’m listening to classes every day so I can’t sit still to read God’s words. After a while won’t my heart stray?” But I couldn’t help myself and really wanted to listen, and just then I heard people in the group say: “The micro-entrepreneur Xiaobai did this for just one or two years and then bought a big house and a nice car. If someone else can do it, why can’t I? In today’s society money is a symbol of status!” “Yeah! Before I was a micro-entrepreneur no one thought much of me. But now I have money and people are practically banging down my door to come wheedle me. It’s just like that saying, ‘The rich have relatives far and wide but the poor have no one anywhere.’ Who will think anything of us unless we have money?” After hearing this I couldn’t help but nod my head and think: “It’s so true that today’s society is like that! People will only think something of you, look up to you if you have money. Anyone without money is just trampled on by others, so I need to work harder to make some money. Then maybe I’ll also have the chance to buy a big house, drive a BMW, and travel all over the place … Even if I don’t get to that point, at the least I’ll be able to show off in front of my snobby friends and relatives.” Thinking of that gave me even more motivation to pursue it.
Saturday, March 2, Very Cloudy
These last few mornings, the moment I open my eyes, I rush to look at my phone to see if there have been any inquiries on my products. I lie in bed busily sending out ads and editing descriptions, racking my brains to reach out to people in my circle of friends so that they’ll have interest in my products. I even look at my phone while I’m eating, and when I’m on the bus or walking I never forget to show my friends the scenery from the road, only thinking of attracting more people. I can’t think of anything but how to find customers and sell products. Even if I can get to sleep, even in my dreams I’m thinking of sales and profits. Every evening I listen to lectures over and over so I can gain some marketing skills. I don’t get to sleep until 1 or 2 a.m. I stay up too late and don’t have the energy to make breakfast for my son, so he has to go buy it. I feel a bit distressed but whenever I think of the money I’ll earn, which will mostly go to my son anyway, I think that suffering a bit right now will be worth it. These last couple of days my eyelids have been dry, itchy, and peeling because I’m always staying up late, plus there’s the radiation from my cellphone. Quite a few times I’ve been feeling so uncomfortable that I’ve wanted to just throw my cellphone and ignore any messages, but then I’m afraid that someone will inquire about my products, that I won’t be able to respond in time and I’ll miss the opportunity to make a sale. So I’m still always attached to my phone and working to earn money and recognition!
Friday, March 16, Cloudy
Recently I’ve noticed that a lot of my cohorts are doing good business. I found out that they got falsified reviews praising their products to boost their sales. No wonder my sales are always lagging so far behind theirs—it turns out that’s why. So that I can earn some money, I’ve also started to learn how to create false images on my phone and misrepresent my sales so that I can fool customers, or even exaggerate the product’s effectiveness. I can say that the product has whatever effects the customer needs. I’ve been busy doing all of this to sell products online and hardly have any time to read God’s words. Even when I do have a bit of time, I just aimlessly flip through it and don’t know what to read. Sometimes I fall asleep when I’m reading God’s words and I forget it totally afterward. Even my prayers have been really dull and dry. I don’t know what to say to God and I don’t really want to read His words or listen to sermons anymore. I just want to sell things. My other cousin came the other day to bring me the copies of God’s words and recordings of sermons, but I avoided her saying I wasn’t at home. I feel like I’m growing farther and farther away from God and I know this kind of deceptiveness isn’t in line with His will, but I don’t have the strength to forsake the flesh and overcome Satan’s temptations.
Saturday, March 24, Cloudy turning Sunny
This morning I found out that my father-in-law secretly handed over our incredibly profitable catering business to someone else when my husband wasn’t around. It’s already happened and saying something won’t be any use, but I’m so angry. I’ve worked so hard, but I haven’t earned as much as I lost—I can’t reconcile with it. I have to work harder as a micro-entrepreneur to regain what I’ve lost now. This evening when I picked up my phone to look at my messages my husband said to me, irritated: “Stop messing with your phone. If you’re on your phone too late you won’t be able to get up in the morning, plus it’s so cold outside and our son has to eat on the way to school. You’re not getting good rest at night, either.” This environment came upon me but not only did I not retreat to the spirit to seek God’s will, but I argued with my husband, saying: “I’m looking at my phone to earn money as a micro-entrepreneur. It’s not like I’m playing games or watching movies …”
Monday, March 26, Rainy
Today after my husband came back after eating at a restaurant, with his drunkenness he yelled at me: “Stop looking at your phone! If you keep looking at it, I’ll throw it away! You’re always clinging to your phone and you won’t even make food anymore. I’ve told you so many times but you still won’t stop …” Seeing him that way I thought, “You’re just finding fault with absolutely no basis, aren’t you?” I got out of bed and said in a huff: “What’s wrong with me looking at my phone? I’m not playing games or chatting with other people. You agreed to me being a micro-entrepreneur but now you’re talking about throwing my phone out!” He became even angrier after I said that and was determined to grab my phone from me. When he saw I wouldn’t let him have it he grabbed me with both hands and shook me from side to side and positioned himself like he was about to hit me. When our son saw that we were about to fight he pulled my husband away. That was how that ended. My husband’s actions absolutely stunned me and I can’t understand it at all. At the time he was totally in agreement with me being a micro-entrepreneur, so why is he being so unreasonable now? I’m so angry that my stomach hurts and I feel like he doesn’t understand me at all. I’ve tried to think of absolutely everything to sell products, and aren’t I wanting to earn a little more money just so that our family can live a little better? Plus it’s not like I never make food, it’s just that I don’t always get to it in time. Does that really merit such an explosion? The more I think about it, the more I feel like I’ve been wronged, gasping for breath out of anger. I don’t even want to stay in the room. I walked out to the balcony and looked at the stars, thinking of everything that just happened and I felt so incredibly sad. It was only then that I came before God to seek and pray: Why is this happening to me?
I thought of God’s words: “If, every time you are pruned and dealt with, and every time God raises up your environment, you feel no pain or discomfort whatsoever, and feel nothing at all, and if you do not come before God to seek His will, neither praying nor seeking the truth, then you really are so numb! If a person is too numb, and is never spiritually aware, then God will have no way to work on them. He will say, ‘This person is overly numb, and has been corrupted too deeply. I have done so many things on them, and made so much effort, yet I still cannot call to their heart, nor can I awaken their spirit. This is so troublesome and difficult to work with’” (“To Attain the Truth, You Must Learn From the People, Matters, and Things Around You” in Records of Christ’s Talks). I suddenly saw the light—my father-in-law giving our catering business to someone else and my husband repeatedly telling me to stop looking at my phone were actually all things that were God’s reminders and warnings for me! I thought that the church arranged for me to stay at home and do my devotionals to quiet my heart and really read God’s words. This is for me to summarize and reflect on the path I took in my faith before as well as my deficiencies in performing my duty so that I can gain the Holy Spirit’s work soon, and from here on out pursue the truth and perform my duty with my feet firmly on the ground. Instead, all this time I’ve been fixated on being a micro-entrepreneur and all my thoughts have been on making money. My previous ambition to pursue the truth was worn down and I haven’t wanted to read God’s words or listen to fellowship and sermons. I haven’t had a proper relationship with God; I threw my faith to the winds quite a while ago. God can’t bear to see me continue being toyed with and harmed by Satan, which is why He arranged this kind of environment to awaken my heart. All of this is the genuine love of God!
As I was thinking of this, I felt so indebted to God. The tears were rolling down my face like pearls falling off their string. I kneeled before God and prayed: “Oh God! You’ve arranged environments for me time after time to warn me but I haven’t sought Your will, nor have I reflected on my own actions. I’m really not worth of Your mercy and salvation. Oh God! I don’t want to continue to degenerate. I hope that You may lead me out of my current state. Amen!”
Monday, April 2, Very Cloudy
I haven’t started reflecting on myself until these last few days. I always felt that since believing in God I’ve understood some truths and that I didn’t care about money as much as I used to, but why have I sunk so far into this micro-business thing? In my seeking, I read these words from God: “‘Money makes the world go round’ is the philosophy of Satan and it prevails among the whole of mankind, among every human society. You could say that it is a trend because it has been instilled into the heart of every single person and is now affixed in their heart. People went from not accepting this saying to growing used to it so that when they came into contact with real life, they gradually gave tacit approval to it, acknowledged its existence and finally, they gave it their own seal of approval. Isn’t this process that of Satan corrupting man? … Regardless of how much experience someone has with this saying, what’s the negative effect that it can have on someone’s heart? Something is revealed through the human disposition of the people in this world, including each and every one of you. How is this interpreted? It’s the worship of money. Is it hard to get this out of someone’s heart? It is very hard! It seems that Satan’s corruption of man is thorough indeed! So after Satan uses this trend to corrupt people, how is it manifested in them? Don’t you feel that you couldn’t survive in this world without any money, that even one day would just be impossible? People’s status is based on how much money they have as is their respectability. The backs of the poor are bent in shame, while the rich enjoy their high status. They stand tall and proud, speaking loudly and living arrogantly” (The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique V). Trying to ponder God’s words, I slowly began reflecting on myself. When I was little, people always looked down on me because my family didn’t have money and our lives were really hard. Because of the influence of my family and the surrounding environment, I haven’t been willing to go through hard times and have always wanted to make a lot of money in the future, thinking that if I have money people will look up to me, and my life will be free and illustrious. Before believing in God I would work overtime day and night so that I could earn a bit more money, working myself to the bone. I even got many illnesses because of that. If it hadn’t been for the enlightenment and guidance of God’s words after gaining faith, I probably would have continued to live for the sake of money, always struggling to the point of being unlike a human being. It was God’s words that made me realize that in our lives, only believing in God and pursuing the truth is the right path and can allow me to live out the likeness of a true human being. These last few years I’ve read God’s words every day and have performed my duty, living within God’s care and protection. I’ve been at peace and have enjoyed it, enjoying so much of God’s grace and His blessings. But because my resolve to pursue the truth is so week and I don’t understand enough truths, I haven’t had real discernment on how Satan uses the evil trends of the world to corrupt mankind. So I’ve been tempted and deceived, and nearly ruined my own life. No wonder the said: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew6:24). Just like this time, being a micro-entrepreneur, Satan first used the people around me to say nice-sounding things to get me excited about earning money, and then all sorts of arguments belonging to Satan were spread on the Internet and among my colleagues, such as: “Money makes the world go round” and “The rich have relatives far and wide but the poor have no one anywhere.” This subtly chipped away at my own thoughts and perspectives so that I gradually began to feel that having money would be better, and only that way would others look up to me and I’d have dignity. Before I knew it, I had slipped down into the pit of pursuing of money and fame. Without that incident at home, I wouldn’t have awoken and would have just continued to distance myself from God and rebel against Him to seek money and fame; I would have been at risk of being completely snatched away by Satan at any time. At this moment, I feel really moved in my heart—thanks to God for saving me in time!
Thursday, April 5, Sunny
I saw this passage of God’s words today: “‘Money makes the world go round’…. What does this saying and trend bring to people? Don’t many people see getting money as being worth any cost? Don’t many people sacrifice their dignity and integrity in the pursuit of more money? Don’t many more people lose the opportunity to perform their duty and follow God for the sake of money? Isn’t this a loss for people? (Yes.) Isn’t Satan sinister to use this method and this saying to corrupt man to such a degree? Isn’t this a malicious trick? As you progress from objecting to this popular saying to finally accepting it as truth, your heart falls completely under Satan’s grasp, and therefore you unwittingly come to live by it. To what degree has this saying affected you? You might know the true way, you might know truth, but you are powerless to pursue it. You might clearly know the word of God, but you are unwilling to pay the price, unwilling to suffer to pay the price. Instead, you would rather sacrifice your own future and destiny to go against God to the very end. No matter what God says, no matter what God does, no matter how much you realize that God’s love for you is deep and great, you would still stubbornly stay the course and pay the price for this saying. That is to say, this saying already controls your behavior and your thoughts, and you would rather have your fate controlled by this saying than give it all up. People do this, they are controlled by this saying and manipulated by it. Isn’t this the effect of Satan corrupting man? Isn’t this the philosophy and corrupt disposition of Satan taking root in your heart?” (The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique V). Pondering these words from God, I thought back to that period of time when I was stuck in that state of seeking money and I felt a cold sweat break out on my back. I saw that the consequences the evil trends of the world have for people are that they become depraved; they go farther from God and betray Him step by step. In the end they lose their chance at salvation. All that time all I could think of was methods and tricks for earning money and I didn’t feel like reading God’s words at all. Even though I was reading them, I was just going through the motions, and I couldn’t quiet myself at all, not to mention knowing myself and pursuing to understand the truth through God’s words. I even went against my own conscience to make more money, frequently falsifying images and accounts, and lied and cheated people. It was entirely contrary to God’s requirements: “Behaving like a normal human being is to speak with coherence. Yes means yes, no means no. Be true to the facts and speak appropriately. Don’t cheat, don’t lie” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Raising Caliber Is for the Sake of Receiving God’s Salvation). Thinking of this scares me even more. God has required Christians many times to be honest people. Only honest people have the likeness of a human being and can enter into God’s kingdom. But I knowingly violated that, going against His requirements time and again. How could God not hate and detest me who betrayed the truth and rebelled against Him this way!
Then it occurred to me—out of all those rich people with fabulous wealth, how many of them are actually happy? Just like the renowned Wang Junyao, even though he was successful and famous, he got intestinal cancer and died in his 30s. It’s clear that no matter how much money someone has, how famous they are, or what their status is, none of that can save them. Pursuing all of that to the end is still nothing but a wisp of smoke, it’s completely empty. It’s meaningless. Thinking back on when I was living in front of God, even though I hadn’t enjoyed a comfortable material life, with the watering and sustenance of God’s words my heart was free, and my soul was at ease and content. That can’t be bought with any amount of money. Now I’ve finally experienced that money and fame can bring nothing but temporary illustriousness and enjoyment, but it can’t do anything for escaping the pain of illness or the danger of death. It can’t make up for the emptiness in someone’s soul, either, and it especially can’t help people understand the truth and cast off the bounds and strictures of their satanic, corrupt disposition and live out a truly meaningful life. Just blindly pursuing money and fame can only cause people to grow distant from God and betray Him, in the end losing the chance of being saved by Him! Now I finally realize that we truly cannot defend against Satan using evil trends to corrupt us. Without understanding the truth, if you’re not careful for a moment, you can fall into Satan’s net and its temptations, and you won’t be able to escape. I’ve seen clearly the essence and the harm of following evil trends—feeling both regret and fear, I rushed to pray before God and set my resolve to keep far from the temptations of evil satanic trends and really pursue the truth.
Tuesday, May 1, Sunny
After my morning devotionals, I thought back to that period of time when I consciously took my mind off of being a micro-entrepreneur and started to focus on reading God’s words and praying more. Now when I have time, I write devotional notes and testimony articles about personal experience—I’m in a much better state than before. The church has also arranged a new duty for me. My brothers and sisters and I fellowship on our own experiences and understandings together, and I’m living within the leadership and guidance of God’s words. I’m full of peace and joy. I’ve tasted freedom and release of the soul. Only after going through these things did I really see the harm and the consequences of following evil trends, and that if I don’t seek the truth and practice discernment based on the truth in God’s words, I will only grow more and more distant from God and betray Him. In the end I’ll be swallowed whole by Satan. As a Christian, what’s most important is just always living in front of God and doing my duty well.