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 mare go’ is the philosophy of Satan and it prevails among every human society. You could say that it is a trend because it has been instilled into the heart of every single person and is now affixed in their heart. People went from not accepting this saying to growing used to it so that when they came into contact with real life, they gradually gave tacit approval to it, acknowledged its existence and finally, they gave it their own seal of approval. Is this right? (Yes.) Isn’t this process that of Satan corrupting man?” (“God Himself, the Unique V” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “With man’s demand for ever increasing amounts of money, people unknowingly came to love money, love gain and love enjoyment more and more. So did people come to view money as more important? When people view money as more important, they unknowingly neglect their reputation, their renown, prestige, and integrity; they neglect all these things, don’t they? When you engage in business, you see someone else taking different approaches and using various means to swindle people and get rich. Although the money earned is ill-gotten gains, they get richer and richer. Their whole family engages in the same business as you, but they enjoy life more than you do, and you feel bad, saying: ‘Why can’t I do that? Why can’t I earn as much as they do? I must think of a way to get more money, to make my business prosper.’ You then ponder this through. … Every single person wants to use cheating means and violent methods to live in amongst their fellow man; they lie, cheat and become violent in order to seize their own livelihood; … they do anything they want using violent and evil ways. Is this humanity not terrifying? (Yes.) After hearing Me talk about these things just now, do you not think it terrifying to live in amongst this kind of crowd, in this world and in this environment that Satan has corrupted? (Yes.) So have you ever felt yourselves to be pitiful? You must feel it a little now. (Yes.)” (“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 totally under the influence of the evil trends of the material world 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 extravagant and dissipated 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. 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: “Can the various material things enjoyed by people’s flesh bring them comfort in their hearts? What can their feeling of superiority in life and material abundance bring? (Depravity.) They make people depraved, and make them lose their way. … Would you say that money can satisfy people’s greedy desires? (No.) It can’t—it is incapable of solving these problems of man. … When you allow God’s words to be wrought into you, so that you have the life of God within you, and have God’s words and the truth as your real life, is there value to your living? (Yes.) Without realizing it, do you become noble? Do you gradually come to live with dignity?” (“Only With the Truth as Their Life Can People Live a Life of Value” 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 you do requires you to pay a certain price in your efforts. Without actual hardship, you can’t satisfy God, it does not even come close to satisfying God, and you are just saying 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? … Everything that happens to people is when God needs them to stand firm in their testimony to Him. Nothing major has happened to you at the moment, and you do not bear great testimony, but every detail of your daily life relates to the testimony to God” (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God” in The Word Appears 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, as shown by Satan making my deputy general manager call me to drag me into more schemes to cheat people and make money. Wasn’t this Satan testing me, a part of its cunning tricks? 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 that because I was doing what God demanded I was gaining His 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 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’ll never follow Satan again or get involved in murky deals that harm people. I must throw away my book of professional tricks and reinvent myself, and from now on I’ll only walk the true path of pursuing truths and worshiping God so that I can live in the light!