A Christian’s Experience: Can Wealth and Fame Bring People Happiness? (Part 2)
After praying, I read some of God’s words: “‘Money makes the world go round’ is a philosophy of Satan, and it prevails among the whole of mankind, in every human society. You could say that it is a trend because it has been instilled in the heart of every single person. From the very beginning, people did not accept this saying, but then they gave it tacit acceptance when they came into contact with real life, and began to feel that these words were in fact true. Is this not a process of Satan corrupting man? … So after Satan uses this trend to corrupt people, how is it manifested in them? Do you feel that you could not survive in this world without any money, that even one day without money would be impossible? People’s status is based on how much money they have, as is the respect they command. 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. What does this saying and trend bring to people? Is it not true that many people make any sacrifice in the pursuit of money? Do many people not lose their dignity and integrity in the pursuit of more money? Moreover, do many people not lose the opportunity to perform their duty and follow God for the sake of money? Is this not a loss for people? (Yes.) Is Satan not sinister to use this method and this saying to corrupt man to such a degree?” (“God Himself, the Unique V” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Satan uses these social trends to lure people one step at a time into a nest of devils, so that people caught up in social trends unknowingly advocate money and material desires, wickedness and violence. Once these things have entered the heart of man, what then does man become? Man becomes the devil, Satan! Why? Because, what psychological inclination exists in the heart of man? What does man revere? Man begins to take pleasure in wickedness and violence, showing no love for beauty or goodness, much less peace. People are not willing to live the simple life of normal humanity, but instead wish to enjoy high status and great wealth, to revel in the pleasures of the flesh, sparing no effort to satisfy their own flesh, with no restrictions, no bonds to hold them back; in other words, doing whatever they desire. … Thus, man becomes more and more evil, arrogant, condescending, selfish and malicious. There is no longer any affection between people, no longer any love between family members, no longer any understanding among relatives and friends; human relations have become characterized by violence” (“God Himself, the Unique VI” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
God’s words had incisively revealed the source of our degeneracy, which is that Satan is contaminating our heart with poisonous heresies such as: “Money is first,” “Money makes the mare go,” “Money isn’t everything, but without it, you can do nothing,” and so on. We are living our lives based on these poisons, thinking that money is everything and that we need lots of it to be happy. That’s why we strive so hard to get it, without the slightest bit of consideration for anything else. As slaves to money and profit, we all live by the concept of “Any method is OK as long as it makes money.” In all trades and professions there are secret rules that insiders are all in tacit agreement about as they go about their business of telling lies and cheating each other. At heart, people have become selfish, cold, and vicious. No one gives a fig for good conscience or morality anymore.
I pondered God’s words and remembered how degenerate and evil I became after getting caught up in the great rush to make money. At first, I was happy to work hard honestly to get enough money to eat. But then I saw how much more income others had, how much their lives were better than mine, and while I admired them I was also envious. So in order to make big money I learned all of Satan’s life philosophies, all of the rules of the game of survival, and began to compete and scheme against my colleagues while hiding it all behind a smile. I groveled to my bosses and took every chance to ingratiate myself; I sweet-talked and cajoled my clients. … There was no one I didn’t deceive, no method that was too low for me, and my whole persona became one of fakeness and oily hypocrisy. But all while I regarded myself as a smart and capable guy. I was harmed by Satan’s fallacies, axioms and life philosophies and I was being sucked deeper and deeper into a whirlpool of sin. I was completely lacking in integrity or self-respect and my life had no worthwhile direction to it. This is how Satan was toying with me, cruelly abusing me. In fact, it wasn’t just me who was unable to extricate myself from this evil tide of “Money is first” mindset—a lot of my friends and colleagues were stuck in it too. And then there was my schoolmate, the one making 140,000, who any casual observer would think would have a happy and content family life. In fact, he spent his nights in bars and clubs, drinking and womanizing, and when his wife found out she left him immediately. And so another happy family lay in ruins. I thought often about the experiences of the people around me and just how my life had become, and I became more and more convinced that society was one big melting pot of evil! “Money is first,” “Money makes the mare go,” and all those other satanic rules of survival are the source of mankind’s corruption and degeneracy. These are cunning schemes and tricks that Satan uses to abuse people and swallow them up! Now I feel extremely lucky that I was chosen by God, that through reading God’s words I was able to see clearly the reality of mankind’s corruption by Satan. Later, I often read God’s words in gatherings with brothers and sisters. Whenever I was interacting with the brothers and sisters, I could see that there was no deceit or mutual exploitation going on between them. Whenever difficulties arose, they would talk about them openly and encourage and support each other. They were simple and honest, and were always fair and square with each other. All this made me feel that believing in God really is a good thing!
After that, in order to understand more of God’s words, I also began to put every effort into fulfilling church duties when I wasn’t working. I began to read more of God’s words, and came to realize more and more that the road in life that I’d been walking for all those years was completely meaningless. I’d been letting Satan torture and abuse me. I read these words of God’s and understood just how realistic His words are: “After they start believing in God, people gain some truths, and the happiness these truths bring is sufficient to replace the happiness brought to people by material things, enjoyment and comfort. The more you gain those things, the less satisfied you are, and the less you are able to tell good from bad. With the truth, the clearer people’s understanding of it, and the more truths they gain, the more they know to thank God and be grateful, and the more they feel sated within their hearts. Yes or no? (Yes.) What do material things bring to people? (Emptiness.) They bring emptiness and depravity. People can’t tell good from bad and they develop more and more desires. Why is it said that the longer people do business, the more duplicitous they become? Not because they don’t earn much; when they first started out, they were satisfied with earning one yuan: ‘That’s enough!’ they’d say. But two years later, they’d say: ‘How is one yuan enough? I’ll only be happy with earning 10 yuan in one go!’ And a few years after that, they don’t even think 10 yuan is enough, and say ‘I have to earn 20 yuan!’ After earning 20 yuan they slowly lose their sense of satisfaction, and say: ‘I’m going to earn 100 yuan for this, or even 1,000 yuan!’ They become more and more greedy. Everything slowly becomes meaningless to them. They only want money, they cheat their family, relatives, and friends, they become darker and darker. Is this not a law of most of those who do business? (Yes.) Would you say that money can save people? Would you say that money can satisfy people’s greedy desires? (No.) It can’t—it is incapable of solving these problems of man. So why are those who believe in God able to put such things aside? And how are they able to do it? Is it the case that they achieve through daily prayer and temperance? (No.) (They have seen through.) How do they see through? (Partly because they have some experience of these things, and partly because God has revealed these things, and so they have slowly come to understand.) That’s right. You’ve understood, and you are able to put these things aside, which proves that you have already accepted the truth, and have said ‘Amen’ to God’s words—to the things that God has said to man and His requirements of man—from the depths of your heart; you have accepted them, and they have become your reality. … And so, at the same time as accepting the life and truth of God, people’s hearts unconsciously draw closer to God—and is when you draw closer to God the time when God has gained you? Think about this in detail—are you blessed? (Yes.) You are really blessed, how blessed you are to have been born during the last days!” (“Gaining God and the Truth Is the Happiest of Things” in Records of Christ’s Talks). No matter how much money people make in the material world, no matter how luxurious and comfortable their lives become, none of it is a remedy for the spiritual emptiness they feel. Chasing after material things will only make people more degenerate, more corrupt. So many people believe that happiness is eating well, dressing well, and generally enjoying the best of everything, but once they make a lot of money and get what they want they begin to get degenerate and corrupt. Then their lives turn sour very quickly, and they end up suffering more than when they were poor and sometimes even want to give up on life. In this time, Almighty God has brought the truth to our world so that we may, from His words, clearly see the reality, and the source, of how Satan corrupts mankind. By accepting and practicing God’s words and living by the truth, we can be true human beings who have self-respect and value in their lives.
Almighty God saved me from the depths of suffering and gave direction and purpose to my life. I already hated my old way of making a living by saying or doing unscrupulous things, and decided to change my lifestyle and become an open, honest, and upstanding person. I would no longer live just for money or pleasures of the flesh but instead would live to satisfy God! But although I decided to change my ways, Satan did not give up so easily and still frequently disturbed me by not letting me attend meetings or do church duties in peace. One time when I was in a meeting, my deputy general manager kept on calling me trying to get me to go to a client to win an order. I refused, but shortly afterward he called again and said that he was calling an impromptu meeting to discuss how to get more clients and improve the company’s business. Every time something like this happened, I always felt at a loss about what to do: I didn’t want to miss the chance to learn more about God’s words but I was also afraid of refusing the boss’ arrangements and being fired. So just when I was feeling stuck, I read these words of God’s: “In every step of work that God does within people, externally it appears to be interactions between people, as if born of human arrangements or from human interference. But behind the scenes, every step of work, and everything that happens, is a wager made by Satan before God, and requires people to stand firm in their testimony to God. … Everything people do requires them to pay a certain price in their efforts. Without actual hardship, they cannot satisfy God; they do not even come close to satisfying God, and they are just spouting empty slogans! Can these empty slogans satisfy God? When God and Satan do battle in the spiritual realm, how should you satisfy God, and how should you stand firm in your testimony to Him? You should know that everything that happens to you is a great trial and the time when God needs you to bear testimony. Though they may seem unimportant from the outside, when these things happen they show whether or not you love God. If you do, you will be able to stand firm in your testimony to Him, and if you have not put the love of Him into practice, this shows you are not someone who puts the truth into practice, that you are without the truth, and without life, that you are chaff!” (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God” in The Word Appear in the Flesh). From God’s words I understood His intention. I could see that deciding to satisfy God and lead a meaningful life didn’t mean that Satan was going to leave me alone. Satan made my deputy general manager call me to disturb me so that I couldn’t quiet my heart to read God’s words. Was this not the trickery of Satan? At the same time I realized that this thing happened to me by God’s permission. God wanted to see whether I had a tremendous aspiration for God, and whether I had the determination to betray Satan and reject Satan’s fallacies? I was grateful for God’s enlightenment, and resolved never to fall into Satan’s trap again but instead to stand firm for God. With this in mind, I was able to participate in the meeting in peace and was able to experience a new-found ease and satisfaction. After that, I never again deceived my clients when trying to win orders but instead just explained everything clearly and let them decide what to invest in themselves. What surprised me was that although I wasn’t spending much time trying to boost my performance figures I was still able to meet my performance targets before the end of every month. Everyone else was amazed by that but I was sure that God was controlling everything, and it’s impossible for me to achieve it anyway. This is all by God’s protection and blessings.
When I pondered this carefully, I came to the conclusion that I was able to come before God and attain His salvation because behind the scenes God had been protecting my route toward Him. If it weren’t for God’s compassion and care, who knows what I’d be like today. I remember how exhausted I used to be every day, working day and night. First in the hairdressing salon, where I ended up continuously ill with problems with my shoulders, neck and stomach. And then I got into the finance industry and betrayed my own conscience and humanity in order to make big money. I was willing to play all sorts of tricks and deceive people to make lots of dubious cash. But God had mercy on me and brought me before Him, releasing me from the bestial life that I’d been living and bringing me into the light. If it weren’t for that, I would have collapsed from exhaustion on that road to riches and wouldn’t be alive today. When I considered how God loved me, I was filled with gratitude toward Him and committed myself to loyally fulfilling my duties to repay His benevolence.
I eventually left the finance industry and found another job that I could do with honesty and integrity. Many of my colleagues said to me: “What a shame! You’ve been a manager in a big company like this, so you could easily go to another finance company and be a deputy general manager and trade through your own account. Won’t you feel that you’re wasting your talents in some other business?” When I heard them talking like this I just smiled and didn’t say anything. I knew that I’d made the right decision because as one of the created I naturally had to fulfill my duty to God. Although I don’t have much money, and my days are now ordinary and uneventful, at least I’m not constantly anxious, and I’ve come to realize that true happiness is being at peace and leading an honest lifestyle. I saw how difficult it was for God to save me—being the total moneygrubber that I was—and I saw how Satan uses money to torture people and lead them into suffering and degeneracy. I am willing to walk the true path of pursuing truths and worshiping God so that I can live in the light!