Diary of a Christian: Learning the Lesson of Obedience
Friday, January 5, 2018 Sunny
Today was a day I’ll never forget. The person in charge told me that the church urgently needed a sister to perform hosting duties and asked if I’d be willing. When I heard this, my heart was in turmoil and I couldn’t calm myself down. I never thought I would be asked to perform this duty, and the discontent I felt inside came straight out: “How can you arrange for me to do hosting duties? Elderly brothers and sisters are suited to do that kind of duty. Though my caliber may be lacking, it’s not so poor that I’m only fit to do hosting duties! I’ve been a leader for years and wherever I go, brothers and sisters host me and revolve around me, and yet now I’m actually expected to host others in turn? Don’t you know anything about how to use people? Won’t this be like using a huge crane to move chicken feathers, or putting fine timber to some trivial use? If my brothers and sisters back at home know that, even though I’ve worked really hard for years for my belief in God, I haven’t become a leader but instead am doing hosting duties, what will they think of me? Won’t they think that I’m not pursuing the truth, or that my caliber is too poor? If they really thought that, where could I ever show my face again?”
Thinking these thoughts, I couldn’t find it in myself to accept this commission. And yet I’d believed in God for so many years, and if I couldn’t even obey this one arrangement, then my faith would be meaningless. For the sake of face, I grudgingly accepted the duty.
Wednesday, January 10, 2018 Overcast with light rain
Today was my fifth day at doing hosting duties, and I felt in a very low mood right from the start. These last few days, watching the sisters sitting at their computers every day, finalizing articles, and listening to the “tap tap tap” sound of their fingers on the keys, I felt so envious. I thought of how every article they were finalizing could serve the function of testifying to God in terms of spreading the gospel; this duty is so meaningful and good! It isn’t too tiring and it’s an impressive duty to do. Especially when I see some sisters talking about work and fellowshiping the truth together, talking and smiling, whereas I’m out busy getting meals ready, with only pots and pans to greet me all day, washing and rinsing, doing housework, I feel like I’m just serving them every day like a housekeeper. I feel like I’m a disgraced lowly servant, and my heart feels very uncomfortable. I really don’t want to stay in this situation …
Thursday, January 25, 2018 Moderate rain
Recently, the CCP’s persecution and arrests of Christians are getting worse and worse, and our neighborhood committee in our residential area has again started to check every family and every household for any stranger staying with them. The sisters I’m hosting can’t easily go out, and they’re afraid of any telephone call they make being monitored by the CCP. So normally, whenever they need to communicate something with the church, I’m the one who takes the letters. But today, as I was handing the letters over to the person responsible, I realized that I’d left one letter back at home, and while I was on my way back home I realized that I’d forgotten to bring a letter that I had to give to a sister. I forgot to take something to the church, and then forgot to bring something back when I came home, so I’ve made two errands today for nothing and caused delays to my sisters’ normal performance of their duties.
It’s night and I’m lying on my bed, and all outside is pitch black. I can only hear the rain. When it came time to go to bed, I couldn’t sleep at all. I kept thinking of the mistakes I made today, and I realized that it was because I didn’t want to do hosting duties. Carrying such resistance and dissatisfaction all day long, I’ve ended up not being able even to do such a simple duty well, forgetting this and not doing that. Oh, I really can’t do anything right. I can’t even render service, so what will my sisters think of me? The more I thought like this, the more discredited I felt, and I felt an oppression that I couldn’t free myself from.
I thought also of how I haven’t been able to find words to say to God when I’ve prayed these last few days, and I find no light when I read God’s words. Every day I feel muddleheaded and feel like my situation has reached such a terrible level. In my pain, I came before God and prayed: “O God! I know that this duty was not given to me by any one person but is rather by Your sovereignty and arrangements. But I just can’t bring myself to obey in this situation. I always feel like this duty is causing me to lose face in all respects and my heart is very unwilling and resistant. O God! The more unwilling I am to obey, the darker and more painful my heart becomes. I ask that You guide me out of this state so that I can truly understand Your will. Amen!”
Friday, February 2, 2018 Very cloudy
Yesterday, my leader Sister Wang came, and I opened up to her about my states. As she had other urgent business to attend to, Sister Wang didn’t fellowship much with me, but she did say something that gave me pause for thought. She said, “We think too highly of ourselves. We think that we are leader material, so when these situations befall us we feel as though our prestige and status are taking a knock, and therefore we feel pained.” I began to reflect on myself with the sister’s words. It seemed as though this was the state I’d been living in during this time, and I had been stuck in ideas of status, unable to get free. As I sought the answers, I read in Sermons and Fellowship: “People who always have extravagant desires, who always want to be on top, who always want to realize their individual goals, who are always making excessive demands of God and who always want to do this or that do not have a heart that reveres God. Therefore, the more people have a heart that reveres God, the more they will know their place and the more they will satisfy God in the position they are given. For example, God has His arrangement and ordainment for everything that He has created. If a person is a blade of grass, a flower or a plant, he does not have any desires, and he does not want to be a large tree. He is willing to do all he can to satisfy God no matter what he is; he does not have any other desires. So, no matter what place God has for us in His house, what duty we are required to perform, we should satisfy God all the same, we should still pursue the truth and do our duty well. You can see that some people always want to be at the top and always want to put themselves above others. They always want to be something, to be the master or the teacher of others. These people do not have a heart that reveres God. They do not know themselves and are not clear about who they are in the very least. ‘I am a common person, an ordinary one, and all I should do is worship God.’ A person who lives this way will not get tired, isn’t it so? If God uplifts me, that is His business. If God uplifts me, I will satisfy God. No matter how God manipulate, I will satisfy Him. I have no individual desires. These people live so happily and are so relaxed. Heathens call this knowing how to live; in the house of God it is being able to submit to God. Only people who submit to God truly know how to live. Only people who allow themselves to be at the mercy of God know how to live” (“How to Achieve a Change in Life Disposition” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (I)). After reading these words, I became even more certain that my state was exactly as my leader had said. Thinking back to when I was performing my duty as a leader, wherever I went, brothers and sisters would think highly of me and look up to me, they would all revolve around me in their actions, my desire for reputation and status was greatly satisfied and I was willing to suffer anything in the performance of my duty. After starting to do hosting duties, however, I spend all day cooking and doing housework, running errands here and there as the sisters’ duties require, unable to stand out or be looked highly upon by anyone. I felt like my reputation had hit rock bottom and that I’d become someone who was beneath notice, working amongst the brothers and sisters. In my heart, I felt wronged and upset, all day long I was bound by thoughts of prestige and status, and I lived such an oppressed life that I was unable to escape. My desire for status is so strong!
Only after pondering this passage from Sermons and Fellowship did I realize that God requires people to fulfill their duty as created beings well, to take their proper place, and submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements. Grass by the side of the road harbors no unreasonable expectations and doesn’t vie for position with the tall tree, nor does it compete in beauty with the flower. It is there only to play its own role and is interspersed across the earth together with flowers and trees. I am a tiny created being in the hand of God; why am I unable to submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangements and play my own role well and stay in my own place? I believe in God and yet I don’t obey Him at all. When I perform my duty, I don’t seek His will and I don’t obey His words. Instead, I always consider my own interests first and protect my own prestige and status. I haven’t a God-fearing heart at all, so am I not rebelling against God by being this way? No wonder I’ve been so negative and pained lately, and it’s all been because I’m not seeking the truth and because my ambitions and desires are too strong!
Thanks to God, this passage in Sermons and Fellowship really turned my state around. I no longer wish to live in a state of resistance; I wish to obey and serve my function in my current duty. Only after more contemplation did I understand that God meticulously arranges this kind of situation just to purify and change me and to deal with me for desiring status. Otherwise, I would have no knowledge whatsoever of my corrupt disposition or the truth about my rebelliousness to God, and neither would I be able to achieve true repentance and change. This situation is so beneficial to my life entry—it’s what I need in my life! I wish to submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements and fulfill my hosting duties well to bring comfort to God’s heart!
Wednesday, February 7, 2018 Sunny
Over these past few days, thanks to the enlightenment and guidance of God’s words, my state has seen a dramatic improvement. After breakfast, I opened my laptop and listened to a sermon. It said: “We now understand that, before time began, God predestined that we would be born into the last days and would accept His work; accepting God’s work is our God-given mission, and in this stage of work of the last days, God arranges what duty we do, what our responsibilities are and what commissions we shall accomplish—this is our mission as human beings. … God gives every single person a different gift and different strengths, and according to these gifts and strengths He arranges different duties for people. By performing your duty, you are accomplishing a commission God has given to you, and so you spread testimony of God. … Every single one of us is part of the ‘machine’ that spreads testimony of God; each one of us bears a different responsibility and undertakes different duties and different obligations. Every single person is like a cog or a screw in this machine—it must have every one of us in order to operate and it cannot be without even one of its functions. Combined together we make this machine, and when we turn together, we perform the work of spreading the testimony of God. Isn’t that right? When each one of us fulfills our duty well, the cogs in the machine turn, and every duty is absolutely necessary! Therefore, no matter which duty we do, each one is arranged by God; do not look down on one duty and think highly of another duty, for these are the notions of man and they are prejudices—they are so vulgar! Right? Every duty is important in God’s eyes and each one is essential. God values each one highly, and no matter what duty you do, as long as you pursue the truth, then the reward you will obtain in the end will be the same, the blessings you get from God will be the same, and the promises God fulfills for you will be the same. Isn’t that the case? Although we all have our different gifts and our responsibilities differ, the rewards and blessings we obtain are the same, and this is God’s fair and righteous treatment of every single person; God does not favor one person over another. So, you really mustn’t be so picky with your duties, looking highly upon this one and disparaging that one, for that makes you vulgar and so lacking in insight! Understand? (Yes.) So God has predestined what our responsibilities shall be and what duty we shall perform in the church and in His family, and this is His commission, right? This is our mission, right? (Right.)” (“Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life, Volume 153). After listening to this sermon, I felt both moved and ashamed as I realized that, no matter what duty someone does, it is predestined by God and every duty is a mission bestowed on man by God. Our duties are the commissions God gives to us, and regardless of the kind of duty we do, each one is necessary to spread God’s kingdom gospel, and each one is essential; in God’s eyes, there is no differentiation between great or small, lofty or lowly. I had not paid attention to pursuing the truth or fulfilling my duty to satisfy God, but had valued only reputation and status, thinking only about how I could stand out to people. I always thought that by finalizing articles, my sisters were able to testify God, that others could look up to them, and only that kind of duty was impressive to others. As a leader, wherever one went, one received the endorsement of all brothers and sisters, and I thought that only that kind of duty was meaningful. Therefore, in my heart I looked down upon hosting duties, and completely going by my corrupt disposition, I divided duties into several grades of worthiness. I didn’t regard things in the light of the truth, and my outlook really was so absurd! Only now do I understand that all the church’s duties are important, that all are done to extend the gospel work, and that we all need each other. For example, if I didn’t perform my hosting duties well, then that would directly impact the sisters’ duties. Moreover, God arranges environments and different duties for people in accordance with their statures and the need for change in their life dispositions, and as long as we can pursue the truth in whatever duty we perform, then we will certainly reap the rewards. As for me now, although I don’t have high status, I have gained some knowledge about my incorrect views on pursuit and my corrupt essence through the judgment and chastisement of God; I am also able to hate myself and forsake myself, submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements, and fulfill my duty in accordance with what God has predestined for me, and this is most meaningful.
Right now, I can’t help but recall all the years I spent serving as a leader and enjoying the esteem and attention of brothers and sisters, and yet I didn’t pursue the truth and I gained no entry into life whatsoever; I’ve believed in God for so many years and yet I haven’t gained any reality of the truth. I think of those false leaders and antichrists who gained position and power but who, because they didn’t pursue the truth, and did all manner of evil in the church going by their satanic corrupt dispositions, and disturbed and interrupted God’s work, were ultimately exposed and sifted out by God, and even expelled from the church. I can’t help but ask myself: What meaning is there to pursuing status, and what exactly can status do for me? The only thing status can do is to temporarily satisfy my vain desires. Pursuing status cannot allow me to gain the truth, nor enable me to cast off the restraints and bonds of my corrupt dispositions, much less make me obey God, love God, and revere God. Blindly pursuing reputation and status has brought me only pain, and has even caused interruptions and disturbances to my duty. The more I think about it, the more I perceive the emptiness and wickedness of pursuing reputation and status, and the more I feel how crucial it is to be able to submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements, peaceably pursue the truth and fulfill my duty well. No matter whether the duty I perform is great or small, it is the mission and the responsibility laid on me by the Creator, it is the commission given me by God, and I should put my heart into it, and satisfy God and comfort God’s heart with all my heart and mind!
Saturday, February 10, 2018 Very Cloudy
“God allows you to live, and if you can live for God and live to perform the duties of a created being, then you are living confidently in righteousness” (“Nothing Is More Meaningful Than Living Thus” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). After dinner, I did the housework whilst singing this hymn of God’s words, feeling so relaxed and free!
Once the housework was done, I sat at my desk to write my diary, as I usually did. Thinking of these past days under the enlightenment and guidance of God’s words, I finally understand God’s will. I know that my duty is my commission that God has given to me, that it is what I am supposed to do, and that I should perform it without sparing any effort. When I began to think like this, my state of mind when performing my duty became totally different! When my sisters are busy doing their duty at their computers and I have to go out to prepare food, I no longer feel like I’m serving others, but rather that I’m carrying out the duty of a created being to satisfy God, and in my heart I feel calm and proud! When associating with the sisters, I still reveal my corrupt disposition concerning reputation and status sometimes, but I realize it immediately and then pray to God and forsake myself. I also speak openly to them about it and we fellowship together and help each other, and we benefit each other’s entry into life. I’ve also begun to learn how to do my duty with heart. I clean and tidy our rooms every day to provide the sisters with a comfortable environment in which to perform their duties; I’ve noticed a younger sister who hasn’t quite gotten used to our life here, so before I make meals, I take the initiative to ask her what she’d like to eat and I do my best to make meals that she’d like. And when she feels weak and negative, I offer up prayers for her, and I rely on God to do all in my power to help her so that she can soon leave her negative state behind. The more I practice like this, the more incredibly free I feel in my heart. I may not be able to do important jobs, but I do what I can in my duty, and this amounts to dedicating my meager abilities for the sake of God’s work! Only when my mindset about doing my duty underwent this transformation did I discover that all my sisters were so nice to me. They often have heart-to-heart with me and fellowship with me, and they make time to help me wash the dishes. They don’t look down on me or belittle me at all, much less disparage the hosting duty that I do; we get along so well. By experiencing and practicing in this way, I feel how great it is not to live by my satanic corrupt dispositions, but instead to submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements!
Sunday, February 18, 2018 Very Cloudy
Today, my leader came to tell me that the church now needs someone to perform the duty of handling routine business. They’d considered it at length and believed that I would be quite suited to it, and so the church wanted to appoint me to this new duty. As I listened, my heart couldn’t help but beat faster, and I thought: “Doing the duty of handling routine business is not as good as doing hosting duties. If the brothers and sisters who know me well find out about this, won’t they say that I’m not pursuing the truth because the duties I perform seem to be getting less and less important?” No sooner had this thought come to me than I realized that my desire for reputation and status was once again starting to make mischief, and so I hurriedly prayed to God and forsook my own wrong thoughts and ideas. I thought of God’s words which say: “In fact, everyone is the same. They live for the sake of God’s sovereignty and His arrangements. People are all like chess pieces. Where you are, what you do, how long you stay in a place and where you go are all orchestrated by God. So, looking from the perspective of God’s orchestrations, who does mankind live for? Mankind actually lives for God’s sovereignty and arrangements, and they live for God’s management; they do not live of their own free will. … That is, no matter what kind of family you are born into, and no matter what your quality, mind, thinking or any other aspect is like in society or amongst other people, your destiny, your all, is held within God’s orchestrations and is not up to you. The path you should choose is to understand how God arranges and leads everything about you, and how God will lead you in the future. You should seek to understand God’s intention and His will, and then live your life, go live in accordance with the direction of the destiny that the Creator orchestrates and rules for you. Living in this way is right and proper; it is not to vie, to rob, to seize, to oppose or to scrutinize the Creator’s intention, or to scrutinize and oppose everything that God arranges for you. You are not to scrutinize or oppose these things. Is it not right and proper for people to live this way? … No matter what it is that mankind seeks or what they desire, only those who return before the Creator and dutifully fulfill and complete what they are supposed to do and the commission which they have accepted, will live with an easy conscience and will live in a way that is right and proper, without any pain. This is the meaning and the value of life” (“Only Fulfilling the Duty of a Created Being is a Life Worth Living” in Records of Christ’s Talks). Thanks to God’s enlightenment and guidance, I now understand that what duty someone does and when they do it is always determined by God’s sovereignty, arrangements and predestination. Faced with God’s orchestrations and arrangements, I should accept them from God and obey them first of all, for only this is the sense a created being should have before God. Thinking back to when I performed hosting duties in pursuit of reputation and status, I was unable to seek the truth in the environment God had arranged for me, and I was in such pain living in the deceptions of Satan. At that time, I found the resolution to forsake Satan and obey God. I am a created being and my duty is to obey God. The church asked me to do hosting duties, so I should fulfill my hosting duties well; now it is asking me to handle the routine business of the church, so I should do the decent thing and obey, and complete my mission performing the duty of handling routine business, and perform it well.
Only when I became willing to obey did I find out from my leader that I was being transferred to this other duty because a certain brother or sister who had been doing it before was being tailed by the CCP police, and they urgently needed someone to take their place—the situation had become quite pressing. Hearing this news, I felt even more that a heavy burden was being placed on me, and that, in times of hardship, I should more so take a stand to uphold the work of the church. If I refused the commission for the sake of my own personal reputation and status without thinking about the church’s interests, then that would be so selfish and deplorable, and so lacking in humanity! I could not waste all the price that God has paid for me so painstakingly all these years. Just then, my heart became even more resolved and motivated to practice the truth and obey God, and I quickly agreed to do this new duty.
I silently made a resolution: I will definitely fulfill my duty well to satisfy God! Afterward, I took the initiative to ask my leader what principles I should grasp and what things I needed to pay attention to in this duty, and after we fellowshiped, I then had a path to practice. After the leader had left, I prayed to God: “O Almighty God! My behavior before when I was performing my hosting duties caused You pain, and yet You still showed me mercy and gave me another chance to do my duty. O God! I don’t want to disappoint You again. No matter what difficulties may arise in this new duty, or what dangerous situations may befall, I ask only that You give me faith and stamina, and make me not back out or complain, but be able to fulfill this duty well in accordance with Your requirements. I wish to accept Your scrutiny. Amen!”
Having experienced God’s judgment and chastisement in this way, I no longer look down on any duty. I wish, in the days ahead, to fulfill my duty well in accordance with God’s requirements, and to learn even better the lesson of obedience.