Freed From Jealousy’s Bonds
By Joylin, Philippines
In January 2018, I had just accepted’s work of the last days. Soon, I was given a duty as the lead singer in music videos for hymns. At the start, many brothers and sisters noticed me, saying I sang nicely, and wherever I went, they recognized me. This made me happy, because I felt like I was a star. A few months later, I was elected as church leader. There were many newcomers to water, and much gospel work to follow up on. To better handle the newcomers’ problems, I often watched gospel movies to equip myself and understand the truth about God’s work, and every time they had certain notions or problems they didn’t understand, I was able to fellowship with them and resolve their issues. I also always hosted large meetings, and my brothers and sisters often praised me for my good caliber and understanding. I was very happy to earn the approval of my brothers and sisters. However, I wasn’t very effective in following up on gospel work. Each time leaders investigated the effectiveness of gospel work at each church, my church always did the worst. Later, Sister Cathy was transferred to our church to preach the gospel. I saw that Sister Cathy quickly adjusted to her work, she was able to fellowship and resolve any problems others had in their duties, and she also actively fellowshiped when hosting meetings. I should have been happy Sister Cathy was so responsible in her duty, but for reasons I didn’t know, I didn’t like her. Every time Sister Cathy fellowshiped with the brothers and sisters, I didn’t even want to see her. Especially when I heard them say they thought Sister Cathy was so good that they’d like to choose her as gospel deacon, I was even more uncomfortable. I thought, “Before you came, the brothers and sisters all praised me for my good caliber, understanding, and watering, and they all looked up to me, but now they all think you are the best and they look up to you. Now who will look up to me?” From that time, I started to be jealous of Sister Cathy, and I worried about her taking my place in our brothers’ and sisters’ hearts.
After that, I saw that Sister Cathy often called to ask about newcomers’ states, and many newcomers also sought her to resolve problems. Once, a sister I watered had difficulties in gospel work and asked my opinion. After I fellowshiped with her, she went to Sister Cathy. When I learned she went to Sister Cathy, it made me sad. I thought she might not take my suggestions seriously, would think Sister Cathy was better than me, and wouldn’t look up to me anymore. In my sadness, I thought, “Since I’m so bad with gospel work, I have to overcome my deficiencies. Then I won’t be worse than Sister Cathy, and in the future, if the brothers and sisters have problems, they come to me instead of her.” In the days that followed, I saw that Sister Cathy ate dinner late every day and was busy with her duty, and she sometimes worked through the night. So I also tried to stay up late for my duty. That way, the brothers and sisters could see I was also responsible and no worse than her. Later, the church held an election for a gospel deacon. Actually, from every aspect, Sister Cathy was the best for this duty, but I didn’t want to choose her. I thought that if she had a position in the church, everyone’s attention might gradually shift to her and they would think she was more capable than me, but considering that church leaders can’t do all the work alone and need deacons to help them, I wondered if I should choose Sister Cathy. If I chose her, the brothers and sisters would definitely flock to her and leave me alone. But I had to admit Sister Cathy had very high caliber, and she could handle the duties of a gospel deacon. I considered it for a long time, and finally reluctantly chose her.
Once, the church was seeking a brother or sister with good Filipino and English to record in the MV group. Sister Cathy’s Filipino and English were both good, and in the end, the brothers and sisters selected her. I was very frustrated, and I thought, “My Filipino and English are also good, so why did they choose her instead of me?” I was very jealous of her, and I also felt some hatred in my heart. At that time, because Sister Cathy had a somewhat arrogant disposition, our leaders were investigating how she performed her duties, and they asked me to write an evaluation of her. I was very happy, and I wanted to raise more of her deficiencies, so our leaders would give her other duties and I wouldn’t have to be around her anymore. But I also knew thinking that way was wrong and I should treat her correctly. Our leader also fellowshiped with us that although Sister Cathy had corrupt dispositions, we had to treat her fairly in accordance with principles. But in my heart, I wanted her to leave, so I wouldn’t have to worry about the brothers and sisters looking up to her. I thought, “Before you came, the brothers and sisters all sought me out to seek answers. But now that you’re here, they always seem to seek you out instead of me.” Thinking on it made me feel aggrieved and miserable. Even during our duties together, I didn’t want to see her. Jealousy had really taken hold of my heart at that time.
After that, I had a lot of pressure in following up on church work, and I had some problems, but I couldn’t feel God’s will, and I didn’t know how to resolve them. It was very exhausting. I couldn’t feel the work and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and I was ineffective in my duties. I didn’t realize at all that my negative state was already impacting my duties, until I saw these words of Almighty God at a meeting, “To be a church leader, one must not only learn to use the truth to resolve problems, but also to discover and cultivate people of talent, whom one absolutely must not suppress or envy. Such performance of duty is up to standard, and leaders and workers who do so are up to standard. If you grow able to act in all things according to the principles, you will then be living up to your loyalty. There are some who are always afraid that others are better than they and higher than they, that others will be esteemed while they themselves are neglected. This leads them to attack and exclude others. Is this not a case of being jealous of people more capable than themselves? Is such behavior not selfish and contemptible? What kind of disposition is this? It is malicious! Thinking only about one’s own interests, satisfying only one’s own desires, showing no consideration for the duties of others or the interests of God’s house—people like this have a bad disposition, and God has no love for them. If you are truly capable of being considerate of God’s will, then you will be able to treat other people fairly. If you advocate for a good person and nurture them to competence, whereupon there will be another person of talent in God’s house, will your work not then be easier to do? Will you not then have lived up to your loyalty in this duty? This is a good deed before God; it is the minimum of conscience and sense of which one who is a leader should be possessed” (“Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). After reading God’s word, I realized I performed my duty for reputation and status, to make people look up to and admire me. When Sister Cathy came to the church, I saw that she could fellowship on the truth and solve problems, and when others sought her out for fellowship instead of me, I feared Sister Cathy would take my place, so I was jealous and competed with her at every turn. I wanted to show I understood the truth and could fellowship and solve people’s problems, so my brothers and sisters would look up to me. When the church elected a gospel deacon, I knew that Sister Cathy had the ability for this job, but I feared she would steal my glory, so I didn’t want to choose her, and I hated and despised her in my heart. I even had vicious intentions and tried to find out her shortcomings. I was happy when I saw her reveal corruption, and I wanted to write some bad things in her evaluation to have her sent away, so that my brothers and sisters could see my strengths. Only through the revelations in God’s word did I realize that I was jealous of her ability and couldn’t bear her being better than me, and what I exposed was a vicious disposition. Outwardly, I was actively performing my duty, but in my heart, I didn’t consider the work of God’s house. Sister Cathy helped the work of God’s house and made gospel work more effective. However, I only thought about how to be better than her. God examines our hearts and attitudes toward our duties. I performed my duty without fear of God, and I only cared about pursuing fame, gain, and status. Behaving this way disgusts God.
Later, I read another passage of God’s word. “The notions, imaginations, knowledge, and personal intent and desires that fill your heads remain unchanged from their original form. So if you hear that God’s house will cultivate a variety of talent, as soon as it touches upon position, face, or reputation, everyone’s heart leaps in anticipation, and each of you always wants to stand out, be famous, and be recognized. Everyone is unwilling to yield, always instead wishing to contend—even though contending is embarrassing and not allowed in God’s house. However, without contention, you still are not content. When you see someone stand out, you feel jealous, hatred, and that it is unfair. ‘Why can’t I stand out? Why is it always that person who gets to stand out, and it’s never my turn?’ You then feel some resentment. You try to repress it, but you cannot. You pray to God and feel better for a while, but when you encounter this sort of situation again, you cannot overcome it. Does this not display an immature stature? Is not a person’s falling into such states a trap? These are the shackles of Satan’s corrupt nature that bind humans” (“Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). God’s word revealed my state. I was jealous of my sister because I had a strong desire for fame and status, and because I wanted to stand out and have a place in people’s hearts. I remember, in college, to gain praise and admiration from others, I competed with my classmates, and as long as we could stand out, it didn’t matter if we hurt each other. After I believed in God, I also pursued in the same way in God’s house. When I saw Sister Cathy was better than me, I wanted to surpass her and even hated her, because I wanted to get more people’s approval and ambitiously hoped to be admired and worshiped by people, which showed how arrogant I was. I also saw that I was pursuing reputation and status, which is why I couldn’t perform my duties well, couldn’t get the work of the Holy Spirit, and felt my mind getting narrower. Just as God’s word reveals, “These are the shackles of Satan’s corrupt nature that bind humans.” I remember what the Bible says, “Envy is the rottenness of the bones” (Proverbs 14:30). That’s true. Jealousy is an expression of a satanic disposition; it can make people hate, and even do irrational things.
Later, I saw another passage of God’s word that helped me understand the essence and consequences of pursuing reputation and status. Almighty God says, “If you are always living by the flesh, constantly satisfying your own selfish desires, then such people do not possess the reality of the truth; this is the mark of bringing dishonor to God. You say, ‘I haven’t done anything; how have I brought God shame?’ There is nothing in your mind that is not evil; you are someone who belongs to Satan. In the intentions, goals and motives behind your actions, and in the consequences of what you’ve done—in every way you are satisfying Satan, being its laughingstock, and letting it get something on you. You do not remotely possess the testimony that you should as a Christian. You dishonor God’s name in all things and you do not possess genuine testimony. Will God remember the things you have done? In the end, what conclusion will God draw about your acts and the duty you performed? Doesn’t something have to come of that, some sort of statement? In the Bible, thesays, ‘Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and in Your name have cast out devils, and in Your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity’ (Mat 7:22–23). Why did the Lord Jesus say this? Why have those who heal the sick and cast out devils in the Lord’s name, who travel to preach in the Lord’s name, become evildoers? Who are these evildoers? Are they those who do not believe in God? They all believe in God and follow God. They also give things up for God, expend themselves for God, and perform their duty. However, in performing their duty they lack devotion and testimony, so it has become doing evil. This is why the Lord Jesus says, ‘Depart from Me, you that work iniquity.’” (“Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). After reading this passage of Almighty God’s word, I felt judged and ashamed. I saw that my own ideas, thoughts, intentions, and motivations weren’t to satisfy God at all, they were entirely to make others admire me. When I saw my brothers and sisters pay more attention to Sister Cathy than me, I felt jealous, competitive, wanted to surpass her, and even hoped she would be transferred to another church. I saw that, as a church leader, I wasn’t focused on cultivating people to do church work, I was neglecting my duty, taking the wrong path, jealous of talent, and lived in a state of pursuing fame and status. I am the same as the evildoers condemned by the Lord Jesus. Although they suffered and worked, they had no loyalty to God, no testimony, and they strove to maintain their reputation and status and make others look up to them. I was the same. I suffered and expended myself to earn praise from my brothers and sisters and to maintain my reputation and status. While I was busy showing off, my intentions in my duty were no longer correct, which made it impossible for me to gain the work of the Holy Spirit. There was no light in my fellowship, and I couldn’t solve problems for newcomers. Being jealous is really an evil thing, and it is something that God despises. The Lord Jesus said, “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and in Your name have cast out devils, and in Your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:22–23). God truly hates those who outwardly seem to travel and suffer for God, but who actually only work to satisfy their own intentions and motives. What they do is for their own benefit. It isn’t to satisfy or testify God at all. This is why they have done so much work, yet God doesn’t recognize it. I saw myself doing the same. I was outwardly performing my duties, but I didn’t pursue the truth or try to reflect and know myself, and I didn’t try to learn from the strengths of my partner. Instead, I took the wrong path of pursuing reputation and status, so I was no different from those evildoers. Belief in God not to pursue the truth, but to pursue fame and status is the path of resisting God. No matter how much we outwardly forsake and expend ourselves, God will never approve. I thought about how Paul expended so much purely to gain crowns and make others look up to and worship him. He never sought to change his corrupt dispositions, and what he did wasn’t testifying God, it was testifying himself. In the end, God punished him for it. If I kept performing my duties with my selfish desires, I would damage and disturb the work of God’s house, unconsciously become an evildoer just like Paul, and be rejected and eliminated by God. Once I realized this, I went before God and prayed. I said, “Almighty God, I live in a state of pursuing reputation and status. I am jealous of my sister, and I compare and compete with her. God, I don’t want to let my corrupt disposition get in the way of my duty, I want to resolve my corrupt disposition and work with my sister to fulfill my duty. God, please guide me so that I can solve this problem.”
Later, I read another passage of God’s word. “Do not always do things for your own sake and do not constantly consider your own interests; give no thought to your own status, prestige, or reputation. Also do not consider the interests of man. You must first give thought to the interests of God’s house, and make them your first priority. You should be considerate of God’s will and begin by contemplating whether or not you have been impure in the fulfillment of your duty, whether you have done your utmost to be loyal, done your best to fulfill your responsibilities, and given your all, as well as whether or not you have wholeheartedly given thought to your duty and the work of God’s house. You must give consideration to these things. Think about them frequently, and it will be easier for you to perform your duty well. If you are of poor caliber, your experience is shallow, or you are not proficient in your professional work, then there may be some mistakes or deficiencies in your work, and the results may not be very good—but you will have put forth your best effort. When you are not thinking of your own selfish desires or considering your own interests in the things you do, and are instead giving constant consideration to the work of God’s house, bearing its interests in mind, and performing your duty well, then you will be accumulating good deeds before God. People who perform these good deeds are the ones who possess the reality of the truth; as such, they have borne testimony” (“Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). God’s word gave me a path of practice. We shouldn’t do our duties before others, so that they praise and admire us. We should put aside our reputation, consider the interests of God’s house, and put our duties first. This accords with God’s will. Sister Cathy did gospel work well and was responsible in her duties. I shouldn’t have been jealous of her. I should have learned from her strengths to make up for my shortcomings, got along with her, and fulfilled my duty with her.
Once, I wanted to preach the gospel to my cousin, but he had deep religious notions, and I didn’t know how to testify God’s work in the last days to him, and I also worried my fellowship wouldn’t be clear, so I wanted to find a sister to partner with me, and I thought of Sister Cathy, but I hesitated. I thought, “If I take her as my partner, doesn’t that prove I’m worse? That I can’t testify God’s work or resolve religious notions? If my brothers and sisters found out, would they look down on me? If Sister Cathy resolved my cousin’s religious notions, my brothers and sisters would definitely look up to her.” When I had that thought, I realized that I was competing with her for fame and gain again, so I silently prayed to God. Later, I recalled a passage of God’s word, “You must learn to let go and set aside these things, to recommend others, and to allow them to stand out. Do not struggle or rush to take advantage the moment you encounter an opportunity to stand out or obtain glory. You must learn to back off, but must not delay the performing of your duty. Be a person who works in quiet obscurity, and who does not show off to others while you loyally perform your duty. The more you let go of your prestige and status, and the more you let go of your own interests, the more peaceful you will become, and the more space will open up within your heart and the more your state will improve. The more you struggle and compete, the darker your state will be. If you do not believe it, try it and see!” (“Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). God’s word enlightened me. I had to put down my pride and cooperate with her. Practicing like this would help my duties. If I stayed jealous of her and competed with her for fame and gain, my state would only become more negative and dark, because pursuing fame and status is the path of Satan. I prayed to God, “Almighty God, I know I still have a corrupt disposition. I am jealous of my sister, and think of competing with her for fame and gain, but I should put aside my reputation and status. Please guide me in forsaking the flesh and practicing the truth to satisfy You.” After I prayed, I felt more relaxed, and went to Sister Cathy to explain the situation. She agreed immediately and discussed with me how to approach it. When I saw that, I was very moved. I thought of how I always lived for my own reputation and pretended to get along with Sister Cathy, but she never knew my real thoughts. So, I decided to open up to Sister Cathy.
After dinner, I talked to Sister Cathy, and fellowshiped about all the corruption I exposed. After hearing this, she said, “It’s fine. I’m actually more corrupt than you in this regard. This kind of fellowship is very good.” After I opened up, I also felt quite relieved, and I could let go of my jealousy towards her. Now I can perform my duties with Sister Cathy, and I feel a deep sense of security and release. All of this was the effect achieved by the judgment of God’s word. Practicing the truth makes us feel at peace and at ease. Thanks be to God!