A Craving for Comfort Almost Doomed Me
By Bai Xue, South Korea
I was responsible for the church’s video work in 2019 while also serving as a church leader. Seeing God uplifting me like this, I swore I’d do my duty well. After that, I really put my heart into my duty and learned how to do the church’s work from the sister I was partnered with. I did my best to attend every gathering, large and small, and I reviewed videos every day. Every single day was really packed for me. But after a while I got tired, and gradually lost the resolve I’d had at first. I felt more and more resistant to leading such a hectic life. Especially when I was reviewing videos, I really had to deliberate and think hard, and then offer rational suggestions to address any problems I found. I found this too mentally taxing, and I didn’t want to do it. After that, I started getting sloppy while reviewing videos and for some I’d respond after just a cursory view. Sometimes I just turned a blind eye when there were clearly problems because otherwise I’d have to think of a solution, so I just kept my mouth shut. I got more and more careless in my duty, which meant videos kept getting sent back and forth for revisions. It wasted a lot of people’s effort. These were serious consequences, but I didn’t self-reflect. I even felt like it wasn’t directly related to me, and that it was because there were too many problems in the others’ videos.
Once, I ran into show-stopping problems with a video in my hands that needed some fresh ideas. Everyone was coming up with all sorts of ideas that just made my head swim. It was so tiring to think about, so I figured I would let them make a plan. I delegated the tasks with the excuse that I was following the overall work, so I could justify not supervising and following up on things. But since no one had faced these kinds of issues before, they didn’t understand some of the principles very well, and they didn’t know how to handle such complex work. Because of this, there wasn’t any progress, and the video ended up getting shelved. My partner, Sister Liu, saw that we were being ineffective and our progress was slow, so she gave a heads-up and urged us to move faster on the work. I complained that she was being too hard on us and the other brothers and sisters went along with me, pushing back against her arrangements. This left Sister Liu feeling very constrained and she became very cautious every time she discussed work arrangements with us. This led to delay after delay, which held up our progress. I usually wasn’t too concerned with the learning of professional skills, and I just felt like getting training materials together was too much work, so I’d always fob it off on Sister Liu. Sometimes I didn’t participate in training with the excuse that I was too busy with my duty. In this way, I became lax and sluggish in my duty. Once, I didn’t even prepare ahead of time for a work discussion, which wasted everyone’s time.
Then one day, I fell and twisted my ankle when I missed a step walking down some stairs. I didn’t reflect on why that had happened to me, and I just thought I could get some good rest since my ankle was hurt. Sister Liu exposed and dealt with me several times, telling me I didn’t have a burden in my duty, that it was delaying the church’s work and having a negative impact on the others. After her fellowship I’d be more proactive for a few days, and then just start to slack off again. I didn’t realize how serious the issue was, and just kept giving myself a pass, thinking I was just a tiny bit lazy, but I wasn’t being arrogant, constraining, or oppressing others by being autocratic, so it wasn’t a big deal. Anyway, I had caliber and some professional skills, so I wouldn’t be dismissed. And so, I turned a deaf ear to Sister Liu’s warnings and didn’t take them seriously at all. I continued being slack in my duty and even saw some tasks as a burden, and as baggage. Being so sloppy in my duty meant lots of videos had to be sent back to be reworked and it was ages before they were released.
One morning, an upper leader suddenly stopped by unexpectedly and said our duty hadn’t been producing any results, and that issues that had already been mentioned kept cropping up. She asked exactly what the problem was. She also asked if we were capable of performing this duty, and said if things went on that way, we’d all be dismissed. Hearing that scared me. I was a church leader and I was also heading up our work, so I was directly responsible for everything being a mess. It was entirely because of my sloppiness. Thinking about it, I realized I’d made a big mistake. The upper leader soon found out about how I’d been doing my duty and dismissed me. She also severely dealt with and pruned me, saying that God’s house had entrusted me with important work, but I didn’t care at all when I saw so many problems and difficulties. I just cared about my own carnal comfort, stalling progress on our videos for months. I was harming God’s house and I was totally devoid of a conscience! God’s house had been cultivating me, but I didn’t care at all about God’s will, and it was incredibly disappointing. I was a leader but didn’t fulfill my duty well. I was learning nothing and incapable of progressing, and wasn’t worth cultivating. She said I’d be cast out if I didn’t repent and change. Her words were a really harsh blow to me. My mind went blank, and I kept asking myself: What have I been doing all these months? How did things get to this point? Hearing her say I wasn’t worth cultivating really made me feel like I didn’t have a future. I was really upset and felt like all the strength had been sapped out of me. I hated myself for not cherishing my duty in the first place, but now it was too late.
After being dismissed, I sunk into a negative state of despair. I felt like everyone had definitely seen through me, and would cast me aside as a bad example, and God would detest me, too. Thinking about what the leader said when dealing with me really cut to the quick. I felt like I had been exposed and cast out. Those were really painful days. Then one day I read a passage ofthat really struck me. God’s words say, “If you are devoted to God, and perform your duty with sincerity, could you still be negative and weak when dealt with and pruned? So what should be done if you really are negative and weak? (We should pray to God and depend on God, try and think what God asks, reflect on where we have gone wrong, what mistakes we have made; in the areas we have fallen down, that is where we should climb back up again.) That’s right. Practice what you have understood, what is clear to you; don’t compound your mistakes, don’t throw in the towel, approach these things with a level head. No one is deliberately making things hard for you; even if the words used to deal with and prune you are a little harsh, this is because you did something extremely vexing, you violated principles without even realizing it—how could you not be dealt with in such circumstances? Being dealt with in this way is actually to help you, this is love for you, and if you can’t understand that, you are bereft of any sense” (The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). Reading God’s words, tears just kept streaming down my face. The leader was right about everything she said when dealing with me, and I was criticized that harshly because everything I’d done had been so exasperating. But I couldn’t just give up on myself. I had to really reflect on why I’d failed, and change and repent. That was the right approach. So I said a prayer, asking God to guide me in my reflection on this failure.
One day, I heard some words of God exposing and dissecting false leaders that helped me understand myself a little. God’s words say, “False leaders do not do real work, but they know how to be an official. What is the first thing they do once they become a leader? They start trying to win people over. They take the approach of ‘a new manager must make a strong impression’: First they do a few things to win people over, they introduce a few things to make people’s lives easier, they try to make a good impression on people, to show everyone that they are in tune with the masses, so that everyone praises them and says they are like a parent to them, after which they officially take over. They feel that now they have popular support and their position is secure, it is right and proper for them to enjoy the trappings of status. Their mottos are, ‘Life is just about eating and dressing,’ ‘Seize the day for pleasure, for life is short,’ and ‘Drink today’s wine today, and worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.’ They enjoy each day as it comes, they have as much fun as they can, and they give no thought to the future, much less do they consider what responsibilities a leader should fulfill and what duties they should perform. They parrot a few words and phrases and do a few frivolous tasks as a matter of course, but they do not do any real work, they do not try to delve into real problems in the church in order to completely solve them. What is the point in doing such superficial work? Is this not deceitful? Can serious responsibilities be entrusted to this kind of fake leader? Are they in line with principles and conditions of God’s house for selecting leaders and workers? (No.) These people don’t even have any conscience or reason, they are devoid of any sense of responsibility, and yet in their hearts, they still wish to serve in an official capacity as leader—why are they so shameless? Some people who have a sense of responsibility are of poor caliber, and cannot be leaders—and that’s to say nothing of human trash that has no sense of responsibility at all; they are even less qualified to be leaders. Just how lazy are such people? They discover an issue, and they are aware that this is an issue, but they treat it like nothing and pay it no mind. They are so irresponsible! They may be good talkers and seem to have a little caliber, but when various problems arise in the church, they are incapable of solving them. No matter how long they have been working, the problems keep piling up, they become like family heirlooms that are not their concern, and yet these leaders still insist on carrying out a few frivolous tasks as a matter of course. And what is the end result? Do they not make a mess of church work, do they not screw it up? Do they not cause chaos and fragmentation in the church? This is the inevitable outcome” (Identifying False Leaders). “These indolent false leaders treat being a leader or worker as some kind of station to be enjoyed. The duty that ought to be performed and work that ought to be done by a leader they treat as an encumbrance, as a bother. In their hearts, they brim with defiance toward the work of God’s house: Ask them to keep an eye on or find out issues that exist with work, and then follow them up and solve them, and they are full of reluctance. This is the work that leaders and workers are supposed to do, this is their job. If you don’t do it—if you are unwilling to do it—why do you still want to be a leader or worker? Do you perform your duty in order to be mindful of God’s will, or in order to enjoy the trappings of officialdom? Is it not shameless to be a leader because you wish to hold some official position? No one is of lower character, these people have no self-respect, they are without shame” (Identifying False Leaders). Reading these words of God felt like God was dissecting me, face-to-face. I was exactly that type of lazy leader. From the beginning, I felt like the person in charge not only speaks with authority, but also gains others’ esteem, so I worked hard and suffered for the sake of this status. I gave everyone a false impression, making them think I could take on a lot of responsibility. Once I got into this position and the others trusted me, I showed my true colors. I started enjoying the feeling of superiority my status brought and when I saw all that work and all those difficulties, I didn’t want to bother. I felt like it was burdensome, so I thought about how to lighten the load and have fewer worries. I hated how mentally tiring reviewing the videos was, so I just arbitrarily gave unreliable suggestions and had other people make repeated edits, wasting manpower. When problems came up with a video I was in charge of, I didn’t rack my brains for a solution, but used my status to play tricks, getting other people to handle it, and I didn’t follow up. That left problems unsolved and no progress being made in our work. I found all sorts of excuses to avoid group training and hand it off whenever possible. I also dragged my feet on urgent work planning and was full of complaints, constraining my partner. Our progress was hindered because I wasn’t handling a lot of work promptly.… Thinking back on everything I’d done, I really wanted to smack myself. When I got some status, I just craved comfort and was constantly treacherous and slippery. I saw my work as child’s play and didn’t have a shred of responsibility. I didn’t resolve problems right away and remained indifferent when I saw the work of God’s house suffering. How were my actions any different from those of Communist Party officials? They use all sorts of tactics to seize status and don’t resolve common people’s problems. They just want to eat and drink, and to use their power for personal gain. It’s evil and shameless. I was just like that. God’s house gave me such important work, but I just cared about carnal comfort and ease. I lacked humanity, I didn’t do any real work. Right now is the most crucial time to spread the gospel, and the sooner these testimonial videos get online, the more people can seek and investigate the true way. But I didn’t consider God’s will at all. I neglected my duty, seriously delaying the work of God’s house. I was selfish and vile, and totally lacking humanity. Then I clearly saw what a lazy, selfish and despicable thing I was. I had cheated my way into a position but didn’t do any practical work. I had poor character and wasn’t worth trusting. I truly had no sense of morality. Thinking about all this sent one stab of pain after another to my heart. I prayed, “Oh God, I’m so lacking in humanity. I accepted this commission but didn’t properly do my job, which hindered the work of God’s house. God, my being dismissed was Your righteousness. I want to repent and change—please guide me to know myself.”
In my reflection I remembered how the others had fellowshiped with me about this many times and had even warned and dealt with me, but I hadn’t taken it to heart. I felt like being lazy and concerned with carnal comforts wasn’t such a big problem, that I wasn’t hurting or constraining anyone. Since I had caliber and knew the job, I figured the church wouldn’t dismiss me for being lazy. I didn’t realize that these were just my own notions and imaginings until I read God’s words. God’s words say, “Who has the more serious problem: lazy people, or people with poor caliber? (Lazy people.) Why do lazy people have a serious problem? (People of poor caliber cannot be leaders or workers, but they can be somewhat effective when they perform a duty that matches their abilities. People who are lazy can’t do anything; even if they do have caliber, they do nothing with it.) Lazy people can’t do anything. In a word, they are trash. They are subpar, deficient. No matter how good the caliber of lazy people is, it is nothing more than window dressing; their good caliber is of no use. This is because they are too lazy, they know what they are supposed to do, but don’t do it; when they know something is a problem, they do not seek a resolution; they know what hardships they should suffer in order for the work to be effective, but are unwilling to endure such valuable suffering. As a result, they do not gain any truths, and do not do any real work. They do not wish to endure the hardships they are supposed to; they know only the greed for comfort, the enjoyment of the flesh, the enjoyment of times of joy and leisure, the enjoyment of freedom, the enjoyment of a relaxed and happy life. Are they not useless? What else can such people do? Is there not a problem with their moral character? I think that this type of person is beneath the kind who are of poor caliber and yet willing to pay a price. At least, on the basis of their caliber and strengths, people of poor caliber have a use; give them a job that is commensurate with their abilities and they can do it, they can stick to it, they can devote themselves to it. But the kind of person who does not do real work is not only incapable of performing their duty properly, even their service is not up to standard, they are trash, there is no one worse” (Identifying False Leaders). “How you regard God’s commissions is extremely important, and this is a very serious matter. If you cannot complete what God has entrusted to people, then you are not fit to live in His presence and should be punished. It is ordained by Heaven and acknowledged by earth that humans should complete whatever commissions God entrusts to them; this is their supreme responsibility, and is just as important as their very lives. If you do not take God’s commissions seriously, then you are betraying Him in the most grievous way; in this, you are more lamentable than Judas, and should be cursed” (“How to Know Man’s Nature” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). But after reading God’s words I realized that although it didn’t look like I’d hurt anyone, I had taken God’s commission lightly and held up the work of God’s house. That was a serious betrayal of God, even more detestable than Judas. I was shuddering, thinking back on everything I’d done in my duty. I had ignored others’ fellowship so many times, thinking that muddling through wasn’t that bad, even wrongly thinking that since I knew the job and had caliber, the church wouldn’t dismiss me for my laziness. I was so apathetic and intransigent, it was both pitiful and laughable, and I hadn’t been able to see how dangerous that was. God has clearly said that He hates people who have caliber, but are lazy and slippery, that they’re despicable and have poor humanity, and aren’t worthy of God’s trust. People who have lower caliber but are willing to suffer are better than them. They’re genuine in their duty. They put their heart into it and they are responsible. But as for me, I felt I was really not bad because I appeared to have a bit of caliber, when in fact, I couldn’t do the most basic things a created being should in their duty. What kind of humanity and caliber is that? At that point I really saw the truth about myself, and understood why the leader said I wasn’t worth cultivating, and that I’d be cast out if I didn’t repent and change. With that kind of humanity, being both lazy and deceitful, having no responsibility toward my duty, I wasn’t worthy of trust and should have been dismissed and cast out. I felt really indebted to God when I thought about all the time I’d wasted. I just wanted to pursue the truth well from then on, to do my duty to satisfy God and repay His love.
I was assigned to a textual team later on. There was a lot of work and every day was busy, so I kept warning myself to do my duty well and not give in to the flesh again. I was able to shoulder a burden for my duty. After some time, I felt like I’d changed somewhat. But as our workload increased and some difficulties cropped up, my nature started to show itself again. I was thinking it was mentally tiring, so I would let other people resolve the more complex issues. A sister often said that I was muddling through, and warned me to take the duty more seriously. I’d say I would, and did better for a few days, but then I’d get anxious when something complicated came up and think it was too much trouble, too tiring to handle, so I’d leave it as is. Day after day went by like that. Two sisters on our team were transferred because they weren’t getting good results and I suddenly had this ominous feeling. I wasn’t doing much better in my duty than them, and I noticed all the others were making more progress than I was. I’d become the worst on the team. Though I was still doing my duty, I felt really uneasy and I was worried I’d be transferred next. I talked to a sister about my state later on, and she said that it wasn’t that I didn’t have caliber, but that I was too sloppy. I’d been in that duty for a while but I was still making really basic mistakes, so that had to mean there was a problem in my attitude toward it. What she said really stirred up some feelings within me. I thought I’d already resolved to do my duty well, so why was I still approaching it like this? I came before God in prayer and seeking.
One day, I read a passage of God’s words that gave me more clarity on this problem of mine. God’s words say, “No matter what work some people do or what duty they perform, they are incapable of succeeding at it, it is too much for them, they are incapable of fulfilling any of the obligations or responsibilities that people ought to. Are they not trash? Are they still worthy of being called people? With the exception of simpletons, the mentally handicapped, and those who suffer from various mental and physical impairments, is there anyone alive who ought not to perform their duties and fulfill their responsibilities? But this kind of trash just wants to be lazy, they do not wish to fulfill their responsibilities; the implication is that they do not wish to conduct themselves like a proper person. God gave them caliber and gifts, He gave them intelligence and wisdom, He gave them the opportunity to be a human being, and yet they are remiss in performing their duties, there is not a single responsibility they are willing to fulfill. Is such a person fit to be called a human being? No matter what work is given to them—whether it be important or ordinary, difficult or simple—they are always careless and perfunctory, always lazy and work-shy. When problems arise, they try to push responsibility for them onto other people. They are trash—useless trash. In society, who does not have to depend on themselves for survival? When people reach adulthood, they have to go out to work and earn money in order to support themselves. Staying at home being lazy makes them feel uncomfortable. Their parents might be willing to support them, they might love them dearly, and might not want them to go out into the world to suffer hardship and exhaustion, but what mindset should an adult have? You should not burden your parents any longer, you are not a child anymore, you must do what adults do, and do what you can to support yourself. Is this not the mindset that an adult should have? When people have this mindset, they have a certain sense of responsibility, they possess the reason of normal humanity. Does the trash that we are dissecting today possess the reason of normal humanity? (No.) They always want something for nothing, they never want to take responsibility, they are looking for a free lunch, they want three square meals a day—and for someone to wait on them, and for the food to be delicious—without doing any work. Is this not the mindset of a parasite? And do people who are parasites have conscience and sense? Do they have dignity and integrity? Absolutely not; they are all freeloading trash” (Identifying False Leaders). I learned from God’s words that people with conscience and reason put their all into their duty and do their utmost for God’s commission, and to be responsible. Whereas those good-for-nothings who lack normal humanity aren’t ever willing to suffer or be inconvenienced, and they just play tricks and make do, without any thought for their responsibilities or obligations. Even if God gives them caliber and gifts, and a chance to do a duty, since they don’t learn anything, and they always want to enjoy carnal comforts, and feel zero responsibility, ultimately they’ll be unable to do anything and they’ll become useless. I felt like I was just like how God describes these worthless people. After my dismissal, the church let me do textual work, which was God’s elevation, but I didn’t know to cherish this, and instead, I kept that same good-for-nothing attitude toward my duty. I was well aware that I was being sloppy in how I handled issues, but I didn’t want to improve or give more mental energy or time to think things over. As a result, I wasn’t making any progress in my duty. I was really troubled by that, too. Why did I retreat from any difficulty, and hide from any hardship?
I read some of God’s words in my devotionals once that gave me some understanding of the root of this problem. God’s words say, “Today, you do not believe the words I say, and you pay no attention to them; when the day comes for this work to spread and you see the entirety of it, you will regret, and at that time you will be dumbfounded. There are blessings, yet you do not know to enjoy them, and there is the truth, yet you do not pursue it. Do you not bring contempt upon yourself? Today, although the next step of God’s work has yet to begin, there is nothing exceptional about the demands that are made of you and what you are asked to live out. There is so much work, and so many truths; are they not worthy of being known by you? Is God’s chastisement and judgment incapable of awakening your spirit? Is God’s chastisement and judgment incapable of making you hate yourself? Are you content to live under the influence of Satan, with peace and joy, and a little fleshly comfort? Are you not the lowliest of all people? None are more foolish than those who have beheld salvation but do not pursue to gain it; these are people who gorge themselves on the flesh and enjoy Satan. You hope that your faith in God will not entail any challenges or tribulations, or the slightest hardship. You always pursue those things that are worthless, and you attach no value to life, instead putting your own extravagant thoughts before the truth. You are so worthless! You live like a pig—what difference is there between you, and pigs and dogs? Are those who do not pursue the truth, and instead love the flesh, not all beasts? Are those dead ones without spirits not all walking corpses? How many words have been spoken among you? Has only a little work been done among you? How much have I provided among you? So why have you not gained it? What do you have to complain of? Is it not the case that you have gained nothing because you are too in love with the flesh? And is it not because your thoughts are too extravagant? Is it not because you are too stupid? If you are incapable of gaining these blessings, can you blame God for not saving you? … A coward such as you, who always pursues the flesh—do you have a heart, do you have a spirit? Are you not a beast? I give you the true way without asking for anything in return, yet you do not pursue. Are you one of those who believe in God? I bestow real human life upon you, yet you do not pursue. Are you no different from a pig or a dog? Pigs do not pursue the life of man, they do not pursue being cleansed, and they do not understand what life is. Each day, after eating their fill, they simply sleep. I have given you the true way, yet you have not gained it: You are empty-handed. Are you willing to continue in this life, the life of a pig? What is the significance of such people being alive? Your life is contemptible and ignoble, you live amid filth and licentiousness, and you do not pursue any goals; is your life not the most ignoble of all? Do you have the gall to look upon God? If you continue to experience in this way, will you not acquire nothing? The true way has been given to you, but whether or not you can ultimately gain it depends on your own personal pursuit” (“The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in). I read this passage over and over. Every time I read the words “beasts,” “a pig or a dog,” and “ignoble” in particular, it felt just like a slap across the face. I asked myself: “Why do I actually believe in God? Is it just to enjoy comfort? Why do I have such lowly pursuits in life, even after reading so much of God’s word?” I felt like I really had been deeply corrupted by Satan. Satanic philosophies like “Life is just about eating and dressing,” “Seize the day for pleasure, for life is short,” and “Drink today’s wine today, and worry about tomorrow, tomorrow” were my words to live by. Physical comfort and enjoyments were my main pursuits in life. I remembered all my classmates were studying like crazy before high school entrance exams, but I felt that was too stressful, so I’d just go to the playground to relax. I felt I should treat myself well in life and enjoy each moment as it came, no matter what tomorrow brought. My classmates said I was really laid-back and I felt it was a good way to live. I was happy every day without any stress or worries. That was the life I wanted. I didn’t change this perspective after gaining faith and taking on a duty. When something complicated or difficult came up, I’d think it was a hassle and want to avoid it, unwilling to have a little physical discomfort or strain. I liked to have nothing to do, loaf around free and easy. But what did I actually gain from living that way? I made no progress in my duty, and I frittered away my character and dignity because I was irresponsible and held up the church’s work. God was disgusted, and the brothers and sisters were annoyed. These satanic perspectives on survival do so much harm. Living this way, I was without any integrity or dignity, like a beast, totally idle, and without any goals in life. It was vile and repulsive! In reality, when I encountered difficulties, it was God’s will for me to use that situation to seek the truth and come to understand and gain the truth. But I didn’t treasure how God had elevated me and I threw away so many chances to gain the truth. The Bible says, “The prosperity of fools shall destroy them” (Pro 1:32). That’s so true. It also says in God’s words, “Man’s flesh is like the snake: Its substance is to harm their lives—and when it completely gets its own way, your life becomes forfeit” (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Thinking of how I’d treated God’s commission lightly time after time, wasting so many precious moments was really upsetting for me, and I started crying nonstop. I was filled with remorse and I regretted that I’d done so much evil. These things are all stains on my history of faith in God that can never be washed away, and I’ll always regret it! I despised myself from the bottom of my heart. In tears, I prayed, “God, I’ve disappointed You. I’ve been a believer for years without ever pursuing the truth, only transient comforts of the flesh. I’m so depraved! God, I’ve finally seen the essence of the flesh and though I may never be able to make up for my transgressions, I want to repent, pursue the truth, and make a new start.”
A sister later sent me a passage of God’s words in which I found a path of practice and entry. God’s words say, “When people have thoughts, they have choices. If something happens to them and they make the wrong choice, they should turn around and make the right choice; they absolutely must not stick by their mistake. This is someone smart. But if they know they made the wrong choice and don’t turn around, then they are someone who does not love the truth, and such a person does not truly want God. Say, for example, you were careless and sloppy when you did something. You tried to slack off, and tried to avoid God’s scrutiny. At such times, hurry before God to pray, and reflect on whether this was the right way to act. Then think about it: ‘Why do I believe in God? Such sloppiness might get past people, but will it get past God? What’s more, my belief in God is not to slack off—it is in order to be saved. My acting thus is not the expression of normal humanity, nor is it beloved by God. No, I may slack off and do as I please in the outside world, but now I am in the house of God, I am under the dominion of God, under the scrutiny of God’s eyes. I am a person, I must have conscience, I cannot do as I please. I must act according to God’s words, I must not be careless and perfunctory, I cannot slack off. So how should I act to not slack off, to not be careless and perfunctory? I must put some effort in. Just now I felt it was too much trouble to do it thus, I wanted to avoid hardship, but now I understand: It may be a lot of trouble to do it like that, but it is effective, and so that is how it should be done.’ When you are working and still feel afraid of hardship, at such times you must pray to God: ‘Oh God! I am lazy and deceitful, I beg You to discipline me, to reproach me, so that I have a feeling in my conscience, and a sense of shame. I don’t want to be careless and perfunctory. I beg You to guide and enlighten me, to show me my rebelliousness and my ugliness.’ When you pray thus, reflect and try to know yourself, it produces a feeling of regret, and you are able to hate your ugliness, and the state in your heart begins to change, and you are capable of contemplating this and saying to yourself, ‘Why am I careless and perfunctory? Why am I always slacking off? Acting thus is devoid of any conscience or sense—am I still someone who believes in God? Why don’t I take things seriously? Should I not put in a little more time and effort? It’s no great burden. This is what I ought to be doing; if I can’t even do this, am I fit to be called a human being?’ As a result, you swear an oath: ‘Oh God! I am not worthy of You, I truly am without conscience or sense, I have no humanity, I wish to repent. I beg You to forgive me, I will surely change. I truly am too deeply corrupted, I have not lived out the image of man, and if I do not repent, I would that You punish me.’ Afterward, there is an alteration in your mentality, and you begin to change. You carry out tasks and perform your duties differently, with less carelessness and perfunctoriness, you take everything you do seriously. You don’t feel exhausted, but that performing your duty in this way is wonderful, and your heart is peaceful and joyous” (“Treasuring God’s Words Is the Foundation of Belief in God” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). I saw from God’s words that our most basic responsibility as people is to throw ourselves into our duty. No matter how hard it is, whether it’s simple or complicated, we should fulfill our responsibilities and do this seriously and wholeheartedly. We should do everything we can. That’s the proper attitude toward duty. God’s words also point out a path of practice for us. When we realize we want to start being treacherous and slippery, we need to accept God’s scrutiny, pray, and forsake the flesh. Pondering God’s words, I could feel His understanding and compassion for humans. He’s so clear about these paths for practice and for entry so that we can live out a human likeness. After understanding God’s will and requirement, I said a prayer and intentionally forsook my flesh.
Once, when I ran into a thorny problem again and I had the urge to muddle through and just go through the motions, I said a prayer: “God, I’m thinking of being slippery in my duty again, but that’s not how I want to approach it. Please guide me to forsake the flesh, practice the truth, and do my duty well.” After I prayed, it occurred to me that though other people might not see me being treacherous and slippery, God would. He’d see if I was practicing the truth or continuing to go along with the flesh. Then I quieted my heart to consider that, and without me realizing it, some principles became clear to me. The problem was solved really quickly. After practicing that way a few times, I felt really calm in my heart and that it was a great way to do my duty. Also, those moments of panic about being transferred from my duty I had had in the past disappeared.
Thank God! Being able to change a bit was God’s salvation for me, and I woke up bit by bit through the judgment and sustenance of God’s words. God’s judgment and chastisement are the greatest salvation!