How Did My Duty Become Transactional

January 18, 2022

By Caina, China

In April 2017, I was suffering from high blood pressure so the leader put my duty on hold so I could go home and rest. I was really upset and thought, “God’s about to wrap up His work, so it’s the crucial time now to do my duty and prepare good deeds. Without a duty to perform, can I have a good destination and outcome? Will all these years of hard work, of paying a price be for nothing? I closed my clinic to do my duty full time and my husband tried, but he couldn’t stand in my way of following God. Now I’m divorced, with no family. The CCP is on my tail, always going to ask my parents about my whereabouts. I can’t even go to their house—I really don’t know where to go.” A sister took me in. She fellowshiped with me on God’s will, saying I should submit, but I was really envious when I saw her always busy with her duty. I couldn’t do a duty because I wasn’t well. Was God using my condition to take away my duty, to expose and eliminate me? This thought left me limp all over, and I felt miserable and devoid of hope. Misunderstandings and complaints about God also surfaced: I had given up everything and suffered so much without a single complaint. How could I end up not even allowed to do my duty? From then on, I couldn’t really take in God’s words and I didn’t know what to say to God in prayer. I lost my appetite and couldn’t sleep. I was in such darkness that I even thought about going out to get a job. Seeing me like this, the sister dealt with me, saying, “You’re not really reading God’s words and are even considering earning money. You’re a totally different person. You’re not seeking the truth.” This was really hard for me to hear, and I prayed to God in seeking: “God, I don’t know how to experience this and I don’t know what my future path is. I’m living in darkness and I’m miserable. Please enlighten me and guide me to know Your will.”

I kept praying and seeking a lot over the next few days. One morning, something from God’s words suddenly popped into my mind: “Do you have the face of one who could gain blessings?” (“To Have an Unchanged Disposition Is to Be in Enmity to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I quickly turned on my computer to find those passages. Almighty God says, “After several thousand years of corruption, man is numb and dull-witted; he has become a demon that opposes God, to the extent that man’s rebelliousness toward God has been documented in the books of history, and even man himself is incapable of giving a full account of his rebellious behavior—for man has been profoundly corrupted by Satan, and has been led astray by Satan such that he knows not where to turn. Even today, man still betrays God: When man sees God, he betrays Him, and when he cannot see God, so too does he betray Him. There are even those who, having witnessed God’s curses and God’s wrath, still betray Him. And so I say that man’s sense has lost its original function, and that man’s conscience, too, has lost its original function. The man that I look upon is a beast in human attire, he is a venomous snake, and no matter how pitiable he tries to appear before My eyes, I will never be merciful toward him, for man has no grasp of the difference between black and white, of the difference between truth and non-truth. Man’s sense is so benumbed, yet still he wishes to gain blessings; his humanity is so ignoble yet still he wishes to possess the sovereignty of a king. Who could he be the king of, with sense such as that? How could he with such a humanity sit atop a throne? Man truly has no shame! He is a conceited wretch! For those of you who wish to gain blessings, I suggest you first find a mirror and look at your own ugly reflection—do you have what it takes to be a king? Do you have the face of one who could gain blessings? There has not been the slightest change in your disposition and you have not put any of the truth into practice, yet still you wish for a wonderful tomorrow. You are deluding yourself!” (“To Have an Unchanged Disposition Is to Be in Enmity to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “One believes in God in order to receive blessings—is this not something that is in everyone’s heart? … Without this motivation to receive blessings, how would you feel? With what attitude would you perform your duty? What would happen if this motivation to receive blessings that is hidden in people’s heart was gotten rid of? Many people would likely become negative, and many would do their duty without energy and feel that there is no point in believing in God. It would be as if their souls had been taken away. This thing is in the deepest part of their hearts. Perhaps, as they performed their duty or lived the life of the church, they would feel themselves able to forsake their families and gladly expend themselves for God, and that they now had knowledge of their motivation to receive blessings, and had put this motivation aside, and were no longer governed or constrained by it. Then, they would think that they no longer had the motivation to be blessed, but God would believe otherwise. When people have yet to be tested, they feel themselves to be good; if they have yet to stumble, and they persist in expending themselves for God, they think that they have changed. They think that they no longer rely on passion or on a momentary impulse to perform their duty, but are able to pursue the truth and strive to perform their duty up to standard as they perform it, and that they are constantly cleansing themselves, so that they will come to satisfy God’s will and be passable as created beings, and that they are also capable of submitting somewhat. But when something arises that directly involves their destination and end, then people’s true faces are completely revealed in how they conduct themselves” (“Six Indicators of Life Growth” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). God’s words of judgment left me nowhere to hide. Before, I knew in theory that faith couldn’t just be for blessings, but I didn’t truly know myself. This situation totally laid bare my motivation to obtain blessings. I had given up everything over those years, closing my clinic and doing my duty in the church, suffering through a lot, come whatever may. I thought by making all those sacrifices in my faith, I’d certainly gain God’s approval and blessings and have a good destination, so I was really motivated in my duty. Now I couldn’t do my duty because of my health, so I thought I’d lost my destination and my dreams of blessings were dashed. I was too depressed to move. Not only did I regret giving everything up, but I blamed God, reasoned with Him and opposed Him. I treated my sacrifices as capital to trade with God for blessings, thinking that my suffering and contributions meant God owed me a good destination and outcome. Without that, I complained and blamed God. So, the motive to be blessed was hidden behind my negativity. It reminded me of God’s words: “The purpose of your faith in God is to use Him to achieve your own aims. Is this not further a fact of your offense against the disposition of God?” (“How to Know the God on Earth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s disposition shines through in His words. That perspective in my faith was conducting a transaction with God, cheating Him, using Him to gain my desired blessings. That offends His disposition. Paul’s contributions and sacrifices were all to demand a crown of righteousness from God. This seriously offended God’s disposition and he was punished. And after I made some sacrifices, I demanded rewards, crowns, approval and blessings, just like him. When I didn’t get what I hoped for, I misunderstood and blamed God, and even thought about betraying Him. Where were my reason and conscience? One of Satan’s ilk like me dreaming of blessings is incredibly shameless! If my health hadn’t kept me from doing my duty, I never would have seen my improper pursuit in my faith, but would have kept on the wrong path, ultimately ending up just like Paul. This frightened me a bit and I realized that God arranging this was His love and salvation for me! I was full of regret and self-reproach once I’d understood God’s will, and I cried as I prayed, “Oh God! I’m so grateful for Your salvation. Without being exposed this way, I would have opposed You and gone to hell without knowing why. God, I wish to repent to You and stop pursuing blessings. I only want to pursue the truth, cast off my corrupt disposition, and live out a human likeness.”

I read more of God’s words after praying: “Now I am going to focus on describing to you how Peter knew Me and what his final end was. … I subjected him to countless trials—trials, naturally, that left him half-dead—but amidst these hundreds of trials, he never once lost faith in Me or felt disappointed in Me. Even when I said I had forsaken him, still he was not discouraged, and continued to love Me in a practical way and in accordance with past principles of practice. I told him that I would not praise him even though he loved Me, that I would ultimately cast him into Satan’s hands. But amid such trials, trials that did not come upon his flesh, but were of words, he still prayed to Me and said, ‘O God! Among heaven and earth and all things, is there any human, any creature, or any thing that is not in the hands of You, the Almighty? When You are merciful toward me, my heart greatly rejoices with Your mercy. When You judge me, unworthy though I may be, I gain a greater sense of the unfathomableness of Your deeds, because You are filled with authority and wisdom. Though my flesh suffers hardship, my spirit is comforted. How could I not give praise to Your wisdom and deeds? Even if I were to die after knowing You, how could I not do so gladly and happily? …’” “Because of his loyalty before Me, and because of My blessing of him, he has been an exemplar and model to man for thousands of years. Is this not precisely what you should emulate?” (“Chapter 6” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I saw in God’s words that Peter wasn’t constrained by his fate or destination. Even when God said He wouldn’t approve of Peter in spite of his love and would ultimately deliver him to Satan, Peter still pursued loving God and submitted until his death. There wasn’t anything transactional or any adulteration in Peter’s love for God, but it was true love and obedience. I found a path of practice from God’s words and became willing to seek to love God like Peter, to walk the path of seeking dispositional change. No matter how God treats me, whatever my outcome and destination, I will submit to God’s rule and arrangements and truly expend myself for Him. I wasn’t able to do my duty in the church like before, but I’d been enjoying the sustenance of God’s words those last few years and had some experiences, so I could write out what I’d learned from God’s work to bear witness for Him. This is also doing a created being’s duty. I started quieting myself before God a lot, pondering His words and writing experience testimonials. I felt much closer to God and stopped fretting over my future and prospects. I felt a great sense of release. After some recuperation, my blood pressure basically normalized, and I resumed doing my duty in the church.

I thought that after that experience I gained some understanding about my views of belief in God, and I wouldn’t be hindered by hopes for blessings. But after a little while, that desire reared its head again.

I was elected as a church leader. In a gathering, our leader asked us to check each of the group leaders’ ability to do practical work and said absolutely no cunning people, or those who wouldn’t accept the truth could have that position. I figured I had to do that ASAP, that using the wrong person could harm the church’s work, and brothers and sisters. Not only could I lose my duty as a leader, but that would be a transgression, an evil deed. A month later the needed changes had been made, and I felt very happy. But surprisingly, our leader soon found out that one of my choices was a cunning person. This was really upsetting for me. I felt I hadn’t done my duty well and had disrupted the church’s work. Soon after, brothers and sisters reported that another of my choices was really arrogant. He rejected others’ reasonable suggestions, and scolded and held them back. They wanted him dismissed. Seeing problem after problem crop up, I felt paralyzed. I was miserable, and felt like I had a shallow understanding of the truth, that I lacked truth reality. If something else went wrong and impacted the church’s work, that would be such a great evil. Then wouldn’t my future, my fate, my outcome and destination be done for? I felt like I should switch to a different duty right away. I started feeling dizzy one morning, and saw my blood pressure was much higher than usual. I told our leader about it, thinking that since my health problem had come up, it would be great if she switched me to another duty. Then I wouldn’t have as much responsibility. I calmly said to the sister who worked with me, “I’m willing to give up this post if necessary, and I’ll do whatever duty I can after that.” She dealt with me, saying I was displaying negativity and should reflect on myself. I didn’t want to accept it. I thought I was willing to obey and do whatever duty I could. How was that negative? But then I figured God had allowed her to say that, so I prayed to God for His guidance so I could know my true state.

Then I read this passage of God’s words: “No matter how they are tried, the allegiance of those who have God in their heart remains unchanged; but for those who do not have God in their heart, once the work of God is not advantageous to their flesh, they change their view of God, and even depart from God. Such are those who will not stand fast in the end, who only seek God’s blessings and have no desire to expend themselves for God and dedicate themselves to Him. Such base people will all be expelled when God’s work comes to an end, and they are unworthy of any sympathy. Those without humanity are incapable of truly loving God. When the environment is safe and secure, or there are profits to be made, they are totally obedient toward God, but once that which they desire is compromised or finally refuted, they immediately revolt. Even in the space of just one night, they may go from a smiling, ‘kind-hearted’ person to an ugly-looking and ferocious killer, suddenly treating their benefactor of yesterday as their mortal enemy, without rhyme or reason. If these demons are not cast out, these demons that would kill without blinking an eye, will they not become a hidden danger?” (“God’s Work and Man’s Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words of judgment were like a punch to the gut. Wasn’t I exactly the type of person He was revealing? I was enthusiastic and worked hard when I thought my duty would yield blessings. Otherwise, I showed another side and didn’t want that duty anymore. I was thinking only of my future and destination. When I made mistakes, I didn’t reflect and seek the truth in light of my failures, making up for my flaws and striving to do well, but I was afraid of having responsibility and endangering my future. I wanted to abandon this duty for one with less responsibility, using my blood pressure as an excuse. I looked really reasonable on the outside, but my despicable motives were hidden behind that. I was so cunning!

I started reflecting on what the real root was of always seeking blessings in my faith. I read this in God’s words: “All corrupt humans live for themselves. Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost—this is the summation of human nature. People believe in God for their own sakes; they abandon things, expend themselves for Him, and are faithful to Him, but still they do all these things for their own sakes. In sum, it is all done for the purpose of gaining blessings for themselves. In society, everything is done for personal benefit; believing in God is solely done to gain blessings. It is for the sake of gaining blessings that people forsake everything and can withstand much suffering: This is all empirical evidence of man’s corrupt nature” (“The Difference Between External Changes and Changes in Disposition” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). I learned from this that I was always thinking of myself because I’d been so deeply corrupted by Satan. “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost,” and “Never lift a finger unless there’s a reward,” these satanic laws for survival had become my nature, making me more selfish, despicable, and self-serving. I thought about personal gain in everything I did. Looking at my path in faith over those years, my starting point for doing my duty had been being blessed, being rewarded, ultimately getting into the kingdom of heaven. My years of hard work and suffering weren’t doing a created being’s duty or truly expending myself for God. It was to use God, to cheat Him, to do a deal with Him. It wasn’t to love and satisfy God at all. How was I a person of faith? I was a nonbeliever. God elevated me to serve as church leader so I could practice using truth to solve problems, learn discernment and insight, but I didn’t treasure the chance. I didn’t enter in with the truth, but just thought about my future and fate. I was on a path contrary to God. I knew I had to repent and pursue the truth, or I’d certainly end up destroyed.

I read these words of God in one of my devotionals: “The only reason that the incarnate God has come into the flesh is because of the needs of corrupt man. It is because of the needs of man, not of God, and all His sacrifices and sufferings are for the sake of mankind, and not for the benefit of God Himself. There are no pros and cons or rewards for God; He shall not reap some future harvest, but that which was originally owed to Him. All that He does and sacrifices for mankind is not so that He might gain great rewards, but purely for the sake of mankind” (“Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of the Incarnate God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I was very deeply moved by God’s love when I pondered this. God, supreme, holy, and honorable, has become flesh twice to save deeply corrupted mankind, suffering terrible humiliation and pain. The Lord Jesus was crucified to redeem mankind, paying the price of His life. Almighty God became flesh in China in the last days, expressing truths to cleanse and save man, persecuted and blasphemed by the CCP and the religious world. He suffers everything to work in our midst, to give us His words for nothing in return, just to save us from Satan’s influence. God pays such great prices to save mankind, without ever considering His own gain or loss. He doesn’t require anything from us in return, He demands no reward. His love is selfless and true. God’s essence is so beautiful and good! Then looking at me, I said I had faith and wanted to please God, but I wasn’t genuine toward Him at all. I waved the flag of working for Him, just to conduct a transaction for blessings, using and cheating God. I saw how selfish, cunning, debased, and shameful I was. I was living out a likeness of Satan. A God-resisting person like me, one of Satan’s ilk, would never gain God’s approval, no matter their sacrifice. I also read this in God’s words: “As a creature of God, man should seek to perform the duty of a creature of God, and seek to love God without making other choices, for God is worthy of man’s love. Those who seek to love God should not seek any personal benefits or seek that which they personally long for; this is the most correct means of pursuit” (“Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I saw in God’s words that created beings shouldn’t have faith for blessings. Pursuing love for God and doing our duty properly is the only life of meaning. I said this prayer to God: “God, I want to leave the path of evil and repent to You, to stop seeking blessings. No matter my final destination, I want to do my duty well to repay Your love.” Once I’d corrected my state, my blood pressure stabilized.

I also watched a couple readings of God’s words. “There is no correlation between the duty of man and whether he is blessed or cursed. Duty is what man ought to fulfill; it is his heaven-sent vocation, and should not depend on recompense, conditions, or reasons. Only then is he doing his duty. To be blessed is when someone is made perfect and enjoys God’s blessings after experiencing judgment. To be cursed is when someone’s disposition does not change after they have experienced chastisement and judgment, it is when they do not experience being made perfect but are punished. But regardless of whether they are blessed or cursed, created beings should fulfill their duty, doing what they ought to do, and doing what they are able to do; this is the very least that a person, a person who pursues God, should do. You should not do your duty only to be blessed, and you should not refuse to act for fear of being cursed. Let Me tell you this one thing: Man’s performance of his duty is what he ought to do, and if he is incapable of performing his duty, then this is his rebelliousness. It is through the process of doing his duty that man is gradually changed, and it is through this process that he demonstrates his loyalty. As such, the more you are able to do your duty, the more truth you shall receive, and the more real your expression shall become” (“The Difference Between the Ministry of God Incarnate and the Duty of Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Whether or not people can attain salvation is not dependent on what duty they fulfill, but on whether they have understood and gained the truth, and on whether or not they can submit to God’s orchestrations and be a genuine created being. God is righteous, and this is the standard He uses to measure all mankind. This standard is immutable, and you must remember this. Therefore, do not think about finding some other path, or pursuing some unreal thing. The standards God requires of all who attain salvation are forever unchanging; they remain the same no matter who you are” (“The Attitude Man Should Have Toward God” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). This helped me understand that our duty has nothing to do with whether we’re blessed or cursed in the end. The key to being fully saved is whether we pursue and gain the truth, and can change our dispositions. What duty I do and when is all determined by God, and my outcome and destination are even more subject to God’s rule and arrangements. What I should do is accept God’s orchestrations and devotedly do my duty. I also realized that I didn’t have truth reality and was too lacking, that’s why that duty was exposing my faults and shortcomings. Seeking the truth and understanding these principles could improve my flaws and help me grow in life. Seeing this, I stopped worrying about my future and fate and didn’t want to switch duties anymore. I worked steadfastly, seeking the truth to address whatever problems arose, slowly grasped some principles, and I gradually made fewer mistakes in my duty. Following God’s words and not pursuing blessings in my duty was really freeing for me. I’ve been blessed and led by God, with better and better results.

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