The Consequences of Blindly Worshiping a Person
By Wang Yin, China
In August of 2015, I was elected as a church leader. At the time, the church had some report letters that needed handling, but I had just started working in the church and had never dealt with report letters before. I wasn’t familiar with the principles of report letters and didn’t know how to handle them, so I felt really anxious. After that, the upper leadership put Wang Jing in charge of the report letter work. I heard that she had been in the faith for nearly twenty years and had served as a leader and now she was being assigned to supervise the report letter work. I thought to myself: “She must understand much of the truth and have the reality of truth. She’ll be a big help to us.” After that, I found that Wang Jing provided very lucid and rational analysis of the report letters. Not only was she able to resolve problems brought up in the report letters, she also provided insightful fellowship on the truth of discernment using real-life examples and found suitable passages ofto address everyone’s issues. This gave me a very good impression of Wang Jing and it seemed to me that she had the reality of truth and I should learn as much as I could from her. After that, during gatherings, Wang Jing would discuss some difficult report letters, how others had handled them improperly and how she would rectify the issues using principles and ultimately resolve them. After a while, it seemed to me that there was no problem she couldn’t solve and I unconsciously developed some admiration for her. Another time, we received a report letter that contained a very complex issue, but Wang Jing identified the crux of the issue in just a few words and quickly resolved the problem. One sister admiringly said to her: “None of us could get a handle on this issue in this letter, and even our supervisor Sister Lin Yuhan couldn’t resolve it, but just one fellowship from you and ‘problem solved.’ You’re the real deal.” Wang Jing excitedly nodded her head, seemingly enjoying the praise, and even made some comments to us critical of Lin Yuhan. I was vaguely aware that she seemed to be aggrandizing herself and putting down Lin Yuhan, but then I reasoned that everything she’d said was true, so I didn’t think anything more of it. Instead, I thought that if in the future I could resolve people’s problems like Wang Jing, I’d certainly be able to do my duty well. Wang Jing never discussed what problems or failures she’d had in her duty, or what corruption and weakness she’d displayed and how she’d sought the truth to resolve these issues, so, over time, everyone came to admire her. I also felt that by gathering with Wang Jing, I was able to understand more of the truth. Because I wanted to be able to resolve issues like Wang Jing, I went to all the gatherings she attended to see how she analyzed the report letters, what words of God she’d relate to brothers and sisters regarding their states, and how she fellowshiped. I wrote it all down with pen and paper. After that, when I held gatherings with co-workers, most of what I fellowshiped was stuff I’d learned from Wang Jing. Seeing how the co-workers listened to my fellowship attentively and even took notes, I felt that I was a talented worker, just like Wang Jing, that the others must have been satisfied with my work and God would commend me.
After that, I relied more and more on Wang Jing. When dealing with difficult report letters or problems with report letter workers, I didn’t quiet myself before God to pray to Him and seek the truth. I thought that as soon as Wang Jing came to fellowship, all my problems would be solved. Gradually, God lost His status in my heart and Wang Jing’s status loomed ever larger. I relied more upon a person than I did upon God. Over time, I began having trouble grasping even the simplest of problems in the church work. While gathering, I was unable to fellowship the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment. I spoke only of doctrinal knowledge and couldn’t resolve people’s life entry problems. It felt as though God had turned His back on me, and I suffered greatly. But, at the time, I didn’t reflect on myself.
Prior to one gathering, the roads were blocked due to snow and no cars could get through. Wang Jing said she couldn’t make it and asked me and my partner to host the gathering. When I heard that, it was like the rug had been pulled out from under me. During the gathering, I couldn’t figure out what the source of the issue was in the report letter and was utterly panicked. But I didn’t guide the others to pray and rely on God, to seek the principles of the truth within God’s words; instead, I just wished that Wang Jing would show up and resolve the urgent matter at hand. When the gathering concluded, I felt guilty because it hadn’t been productive and I hadn’t fulfilled my duty. Still I didn’t seek God’s intention and just single-mindedly hoped that Wang Jing would come and resolve the issue. Another time, Wang Jing said she would host a gathering for us, but there was no sign of her the whole morning and I began to panic, terrified that she’d be unable to come just like last time. I worried I’d be unable to resolve everyone’s issues if she didn’t come. After lunch, I suddenly heard the door opening and I knew Wang Jing had arrived. Overjoyed that my savior had arrived, I hurriedly went out to greet her, but while walking through the courtyard I lost my balance and sprained my ankle. My ankle swelled up like a balloon and it hurt so much I couldn’t walk. But since Wang Jing had arrived, I had to notify everyone to come for the gathering quickly so no one would miss out on her resolving their issues. I made my way to a sister’s home, pushing through the pain, but just as I was about to knock on the door, I somehow lost my balance and crashed to the ground. After struggling back up to my feet, I saw that my right palm was covered in blood and coal cinders. This string of incidents struck fear in my heart and I vaguely realized that the longing I felt while waiting for Wang Jing was a bit abnormal. Was God disciplining me? So I prayed to God, seeking an answer. After that, I saw the following passage of God’s words: “People who believe in God should obey God and worship Him. Do not exalt or look up to any person; do not put God first, the people you look up to second, and yourself third. No person should hold a place in your heart, and you should not consider people—particularly those you venerate—to be on a par with God or to be His equal. This is intolerable to God” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Ten Administrative Decrees That Must Be Obeyed by God’s Chosen People in the Age of Kingdom). I pondered over God’s words and the many scenes of my interactions with Wang Jing played in my mind like vignettes in a movie. Ever since I’d met Wang Jing, I saw that she was talented, eloquent, good at preaching and was especially good at resolving issues. Letter after letter that left me at a loss were easily resolved through her analysis and fellowship. Unconsciously, I’d begun to worship her, thinking that by gathering with her and listening to her fellowship, I’d grasp the truth and gain insight. If I didn’t gather with her, it would be as if I’d lost an opportunity to gain the truth. I began to favor gathering and fellowshiping with Wang Jing over praying to God and seeking the truth. I completely relied on Wang Jing and when issues arose, I didn’t pray to God and seek the truth, but just waited for her to come fellowship and resolve them. When the roads were blocked and she couldn’t come, I felt like we couldn’t do the work without her. The more I reflected, the more horrified I became. Believers in God should revere Him above all else. We should worship and look up to Him. No person should have a place in our hearts, but I didn’t have a place in my heart for God. Instead, I exalted the person I worshiped and made an idol of them. Though I believed in God, I was worshiping a person and had unknowingly offended God’s disposition. This situation was a reminder to me and a form of protection. I hurriedly prayed to God and was ready to repent.
After that, I came across these words of God. (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Six). “Some people admire anyone who can preach a profound sermon or is a good orator, and covet those who have an imposing manner when they give sermons. Is this the right view to have? Is it right to seek such goal? (No.) What, then, is right? What kind of person should you seek to become? (One who keeps their head down and performs their duty with their feet on the ground, who comports themselves and acts in a down-to-earth way.) That is right. You must comport yourselves and act in a down-to-earth way, in no matter departing from prayer, and in no matter departing from God’s words. Come often before God and have true fellowship with Him. These are the fundaments of believing in God!” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only to Gain the Truth Is Truly to Gain God). Through God’s words, I learned that as a believer in God, we must often come before Him. In all things, we should pray to God, seek the truth, fulfill duties according to His demands, revere Him above all else and should never worship any person. No matter their talents, their prowess in work, or their ability to resolve problems, these are all bestowed by God. It is through God’s enlightenment that people give insightful fellowship and if their fellowship spells out a path, it’s because it accords with God’s words and the truth. I can seek with them on things I don’t understand and learn from their strengths, but no matter how well they fellowship, I should ultimately take it as coming from God and not worship mere people. After that, I practiced according to God’s words and stopped being so entirely reliant on Wang Jing. When I had problems, I’d pray to God and seek relevant principles of truth in God’s words. Sometimes if I couldn’t figure something out, I’d ask Wang Jing, but I’d consciously quiet myself before God and focus on which aspects of the truth she fellowshiped instead of just admiring her outright. Gradually, I started to have a more normal view of Wang Jing and was able to resolve some issues in the report letters. Later on, Wang Jing was elected as leader of another church and I stopped being panicked when she wasn’t around. During gatherings, when intractable issues came up, I would pray and look to God with the others and find a path of practice through His words. Only when I couldn’t resolve the issue would I ask a leader or someone who understood the truth. Our problems were gradually resolved and I experienced some growth.says, “No matter the level of a leader or worker, if you worship them for understanding a bit of the truth and for having a few gifts, and believe that they possess the reality of the truth, and can help you, and if you venerate and depend on them in all things, and try to attain salvation through this, then this is foolish and ignorant of you, and in the end, it will all come to nothing, because the starting point is inherently wrong. No matter how many truths someone understands, no one can stand in the stead of Christ, and no matter how gifted they are, this does not mean they possess the truth—and so those who worship, venerate, and follow people will ultimately all be cast out, they will all be condemned. When people believe in God, they can only venerate and follow God. Regardless of their rank among the leadership, leaders and workers are still common people. If you see them as your immediate superiors, if you feel that they are superior to you, that they are more competent than you, and that they should lead you, that they are in all ways a cut above anyone else, then that is wrong—it is your delusion. And what are the consequences that this delusion leads to? This will lead you unconsciously to measure your leaders against requirements that do not conform with reality, and to be unable to treat correctly the problems and deficiencies they have; at the same time, without your knowing it, you will also be profoundly drawn to their flair, gifts and talents, such that before you know it, you are worshiping them, and they have become your Gods. That path, from the moment they start to become your role model, the object of your worship, to the moment that you become one of their followers, is one that will lead you unconsciously away from God”
Soon after that, an upper leader wrote to tell me Wang Jing was relying on her talents in work and not seeking the truth. She was always showing off and exalting herself so that others would admire and worship her. She wouldn’t accept being dealt with and didn’t reflect on herself. She had been exposed for walking the path of an antichrist and had been dismissed for being a false leader. This had a profound impact on me. In my time with Wang Jing, she had already displayed these behaviors: She never discussed what corruption she revealed in her duty or what failures she had experienced. She only ever talked about her successes, as if there were no problem she couldn’t solve. As a result, everyone looked up to and worshiped her. Later on, I saw this passage of God’s words: “Some people use their positions to repeatedly testify about themselves, aggrandize themselves, and compete with God for people and status. They use various methods and measures to make people worship them, constantly trying to win people over and control them. Some even intentionally mislead people into thinking that they are God so that they can be treated like God. They would never tell someone that they have been corrupted—that they too are corrupt and arrogant, not to worship them, and that no matter how well they do, it is all due to God’s exaltation and that they are doing what they ought to, anyway. Why do they not say these things? Because they are deeply afraid of losing their place in people’s hearts. This is why such people never exalt God and never bear witness to God….” (The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself I). Seeing her in the light of God’s words, I gained some discernment of Wang Jing. She would often fellowship on how she sought the truth when dealing with hardships, how she easily handled letter after difficult letter and how she helped others resolve their issues. But she rarely talked about her own aberrations and deficiencies or opened up about her corruption and weakness. She had never discussed any problem or letter that she’d misjudged or had been unable to grasp, and how that had revealed her deficiencies. She had also never talked about problems she couldn’t understand, how others had helped her and what aspects of the truth this had led her to understand. She only let people see this perfect false front she had put up. When we worshiped and praised her, she didn’t fellowship with us about not worshiping mere people, and just seemed to really relish and enjoy it. Discerning her behavior in the light of God’s words, I saw that she just relied on her talents in her work and preaching, never exalted or bore witness to God and only showed herself off to deceive others, which led people to not see her corruption and deficiencies and to worship and follow her. She acted in this way to earn a place in people’s hearts― how treacherous and evil! But not only did I have no discernment of her behavior, I even admired her talents, expertise and ability to resolve issues. I thought she understood the truth, had the reality of truth and so I worshiped her. I was so blind!
After that, I came across these passages of God’s words. Almighty God says, “There are some people who are often deceived by those who outwardly seem spiritual, noble, lofty, and great. As for people who can speak eloquently of letters and doctrines, and whose speech and actions seem worthy of admiration, those who are deceived by them have never looked at the essence of their actions, the principles behind their deeds, or what their goals are. Moreover, they have never looked at whether these people truly submit to God, nor have they ever determined whether or not these people genuinely fear God and shun evil. They have never discerned the essence of the humanity of these people. Rather, beginning with the first step of getting acquainted with them, they have, little by little, come to admire and venerate these people, and in the end, these people become their idols” (The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. How to Know God’s Disposition and the Results His Work Shall Achieve). “Whether people focus on shallow matters or profound issues, or on letters and doctrines or reality, they do not adhere to that which they should adhere to most, nor do they know that which they most should know. The reason for this is that people do not like the truth at all; as such, they are not willing to put time and effort into seeking out and putting into practice the principles of practice found in God’s utterances. Instead, they prefer to use shortcuts, summing up what they understand and know to be good practice and good behavior; this summary then becomes their own goal to pursue, which they take as truth to be practiced. The direct consequence of this is that people use human good behavior as a substitute for putting the truth into practice, which also satisfies their desire to curry favor with God. This gives them capital with which to contend with the truth, which they also use to reason and compete with God. At the same time, people also unscrupulously put God aside, placing the idols they admire in His stead” (The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. How to Know God’s Disposition and the Results His Work Shall Achieve). Through God’s words I saw that through my many years of faith I had always had this fallacious idea: I had assumed that smart, talented people that worked and preached well and could resolve issues naturally understood the truth and had the reality of truth. I realized that I had no idea what the reality of truth was. God expresses truths and does the work of judgment to cleanse people of their corrupt dispositions and allow them to enter into the reality of truth and live out a real human likeness. If someone is only able to resolve others’ problems and discern other people, but is unable to accept the judgment of God’s words, as well as being dealt with, then, no matter how talented they are, or how well they work and preach, they still don’t have the reality of truth. Wang Jing never spoke about knowing herself, never opened up about or dissected her corrupt disposition and didn’t accept the truth and truly obey when pruned and dealt with. How could she have the reality of truth? She was only able to handle report letters because she had some work experience and a little more knowledge of the principles. But that didn’t mean she had the reality of truth. I didn’t understand the truth and failed to be discerning of her. I even blindly worshiped her and took her as my idol, trying to emulate and copy her. How foolish I was. I was in great danger practicing faith like this!
Later on, I saw another passage of God’s words. Almighty God says, “What you admire is not the humility of Christ, but those false shepherds of prominent standing. You do not adore the loveliness or wisdom of Christ, but those libertines who wallow in the filth of the world. You laugh at the pain of Christ who has no place to lay His head, but you admire those corpses that hunt for offerings and live in debauchery. You are not willing to suffer alongside Christ, but you gladly throw yourself into the arms of those reckless antichrists, though they only supply you with flesh, words, and control. Even now, your heart still turns toward them, toward their reputation, toward their status, toward their influence. And yet you continue to hold an attitude whereby you find the work of Christ hard to swallow and you are unwilling to accept it. This is why I say that you lack the faith to acknowledge Christ. The reason you have followed Him to this day is only because you had no other option. A series of lofty images are forever towering in your heart; you cannot forget their every word and deed, nor their influential words and hands. They are, in your heart, forever supreme and forever heroes. But this is not so for the Christ of today. He is forever insignificant in your heart, and forever undeserving of reverence. For He is far too ordinary, has far too little influence, and is far from lofty” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Are You a True Believer in God?). God’s words of judgment cut to the quick. God has incarnated in humility and never aggrandizes Himself. He just expresses truths to save humankind. God’s humility is an expression of His honorableness, greatness and holiness. It is highly worthy of our admiration. But seeing that Wang Jing had been a leader, could solve problems and spoke with conviction and drive, I admired her. I believed in God without worshiping Him and I didn’t revere Christ’s humility and loveliness. Instead, I worshiped grand and imposing figures, thinking more of those with lofty personas, talent and the ability to work and preach. I even saw them as my idols. This truly offended God’s disposition. We shouldn’t admire and look up to any mere person: Only God is the truth and should be followed and worshiped. God’s words say, “I say that all those who do not value the truth are nonbelievers and traitors to the truth. Such men shall never receive the approval of Christ” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Are You a True Believer in God?). I didn’t seek the truth and didn’t have the slightest knowledge of God despite years of faith. I even idolized a corrupt person, worshiping and following them, and yet I didn’t worship Christ or value the truth. I saw that I was a nonbeliever and if I didn’t repent, God would get fed up with me and cast me out!
Later on, I heard that Wang Jing had acted like Judas when arrested by the CCP. She had ratted out several brothers and sisters. When she was released, she still didn’t repent and was eventually expelled from the church. I saw that even though Wang Jing had performed many duties, had talent, good preaching abilities, and could use God’s words to resolve problems, because she didn’t pursue knowledge of herself and accept the truth, and didn’t have the slightest reality of truth despite years of faith, when faced with this situation, she was thoroughly exposed and cast out. After that, I came upon another passage of God’s words. “You must know what kind of people I desire; those who are impure are not permitted to enter into the kingdom, those who are impure are not permitted to besmirch the holy ground. Though you may have done much work, and worked for many years, in the end if you are still deplorably filthy, then it will be intolerable to the law of Heaven that you wish to enter My kingdom! From the foundation of the world until today, never have I offered easy access to My kingdom to those who curry favor with Me. This is a heavenly rule, and no one can break it! You must seek life. Today, those who will be made perfect are the same kind as Peter: They are those who seek changes in their own disposition, and who are willing to bear testimony to God and perform their duty as a creature of God. Only people such as this will be made perfect. If you only look to rewards, and do not seek to change your own life disposition, then all your efforts will be in vain—this is an unalterable truth!” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks). God’s words state that one doesn’t attain salvation based on their talents, how much work they do or how much they preach, but rather based on whether they seek the truth, are able to accept and obey the judgment of God’s words and achieve transformation in their life disposition. In his faith, Peter magnified God and sought the truth in all things. He saw attaining truth and life as being above all else, so, though he didn’t do as much work as Paul, after experiencing God’s judgment, he could be obedient onto death, and ultimately bore great witness for God and attained His commendation. From the road Peter walked, I found a path of practice: I would no longer admire talented people and wouldn’t seek to be just like them. Rather, I resolved to earnestly seek the truth, practice God’s words, and do my duty as a created being. Only this was the right path.
After that, in doing my duty, I would focus on relying on God and seeking the principles of the truth. When I met talented people that were able to preach, I consciously worked on viewing them in the correct light. When their fellowship had the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, I would take it as coming from God. When their ideas were in keeping with the principles, I would accept and obey them. If they weren’t in keeping with the principles, I wouldn’t blindly listen to them, but would rather seek the truth along with them. After practicing in this way for a period of time, I felt freer and more at ease. In my duty, I was also able to identify paths of practice and achieve some results. Thank God!