I Believe in God: Why Worship People?

May 27, 2022

By Youxin, South Korea

When I was responsible for the church’s gospel work, our team wasn’t doing great and I was really anxious. Then Wu Ping was transferred over to our church. I heard she’d been a believer for over twenty years and made lots of sacrifices for God, that she’d preached all over the place and had been through lots of danger without ever giving up. I really looked up to her. Before long, my leader arranged for Wu Ping to partner with me on the gospel work, and I was thrilled. Her first gathering with us is really etched into my memory. She talked about how she encountered the disruptions of religious leaders when she went to spread the gospel, how she fellowshiped and debated with them, leaving them speechless, and how she fellowshiped with those who had lots of religious notions and biblical knowledge and resolved their confusions. She also talked about the many difficulties they’d had in evangelizing, about the price she and other brothers and sisters had paid to spread the gospel in different areas, about how upper leaders valued and cultivated her and gave her important duties. What impressed me most was when she talked about God’s love for man, her eyes welling up with tears, saying we have to consider God’s will, and no matter how many hardships we face, we must spread the gospel of the last days, that it’s our mission. At the time, it seemed to me like she was full of love for God and I immediately developed a kind of respect for her. I felt like she’d had faith for a long time, understood more truths than us, and had greater stature, so I should learn from her.

After that, we started doing our duties together, and as we worked together I noticed that Wu Ping really was able to withstand hardship and pulled a lot of all-nighters to follow up on work and solve problems. She pointed out errors and oversights in my work and fellowshiped paths of practice. When sharing the gospel with others, she gave examples and used metaphors, was really incisive in what she said, and was able to resolve people’s confusions. When she spoke about the insufficiency of her work during gatherings, she’d become tearful, saying how much she owed God. Sometimes, when watering staff had questions for her, she’d rush to find time to help them out. She was also really caring when she saw that I wasn’t feeling well. At that time, I just kept liking her more and more. She was later elected as a church leader and I felt even more like she had the reality of the truth, and I admired and looked up to her all the more. I saw her constantly rushing all around the church helping brothers and sisters resolve their problems, and I felt like she had a really important role in the church, and that we definitely couldn’t do without her. When I ran into problems I’d seek her out for fellowship and eagerly make notes on her views and the things that she said, and then I would go implement whatever she suggested. I even imitated some of her behaviors, like when I saw her staying up late a lot, I thought that was suffering for one’s duties and was devotion, so I’d stay up late, too. Sometimes there was nothing urgent and I could have gone to bed earlier, but when I saw Wu Ping staying up, I’d stay up too. I saw that she stayed strong after being dealt with, and still kept busy with her duty. I thought this was having stature and reality. I got really upset when I was dealt with and wanted to have devotionals and to reflect, but thinking back on Wu Ping’s behavior, I just rushed back to my duty without focusing on learning more about myself. I was living in a state of worshiping, adoring Wu Ping without the slightest awareness. Then God set up some situations that gradually enabled me to discern Wu Ping somewhat.

While she was a church leader, she was very hands-on and able to go to any lengths, but the problems in our work just bred like flies, and the effectiveness of the church work slowly declined. One day, the watering deacon Sister Yang told me that she’d found some problems in Wu Ping’s work, that she was taking charge of everything without allowing brothers and sisters to practice, and that she wasn’t cultivating talents. She was doing the work of deacons and the team leaders, and so nobody had a chance to practice. Over time, everyone was feeling like they were totally useless, and they really admired her. It wasn’t a healthy atmosphere. Sister Yang said she wanted to mention something to Wu Ping about giving others more chances to practice so that everyone could learn about their shortcomings and make faster progress, then they could make use of their talents, too, and their performance in their duties would certainly improve. I was really supportive of Sister Yang’s idea, so I went with her to talk to Wu Ping. But surprisingly, Wu Ping was really displeased. She pulled a long face and didn’t agree with us. She said the others had too many problems, so teaching them was a hassle and would delay things. It was better and more efficient for her to do things herself. She explained things eloquently, and I didn’t know what to say at the time, but when I thought about it later, I felt like she wasn’t handling things properly. We couldn’t cultivate people in that way. Brothers and sisters wouldn’t be trained, and we’d be dependent on her, and in this way, the work would not be done well. But then I thought, we didn’t understand the truth, so following along with her to solve problems would be useless, we’d just hold things up. She understood the truth better, so we should let her take care of things. So Wu Ping kept really busy every day, but lots of problems remained. Brothers and sisters were very passive in their duties and would wait for her to fix problems. Most people were down and depressed all the time. Later an upper leader found out that there were lots of problems in our church, and collected assessments of Wu Ping, which showed she was really arrogant and autocratic and wouldn’t take any suggestions. She was also self-aggrandizing, always showing off, and bringing others before herself. She was dismissed right away. The leader also said we lacked discernment and just blindly adulated Wu Ping, and she told us to seek principles of the truth in our duties, and not to just worship any person. Then I realized I’d been living in a state of adoring a human being and so I had not had a normal relationship with God. I thought of the eighth administrative decree: “People who believe in God should obey God and worship Him. Do not exalt or look up to any person; do not put God first, the people you look up to second, and yourself third. No person should hold a place in your heart, and you should not consider people—particularly those you venerate—to be on a par with God or to be His equal. This is intolerable to God” (“The Ten Administrative Decrees That Must Be Obeyed by God’s Chosen People in the Age of Kingdom” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I felt a little afraid, like I’d offended God’s disposition. I thought about how I’d admired Wu Ping since coming into contact with her, and how I wasn’t seeking principles of the truth in my duty, but had just relied on her. I’d seek her out with any of my problems and do whatever she said. I really looked up to her and didn’t have a place for God in my heart. It felt to me that our work couldn’t get done without her in the church, as if it was okay to do without God’s guidance and the principles of the truth, but we had to have her. Was I even a believer? Was this not just worshiping and following a person? This was really disgusting to God. No wonder I couldn’t obtain the Holy Spirit’s work in my duty, and I wasn’t seeing any progress after such a long time. I prayed to God, wanting to change my state and to stop adoring people.

After that, some things happened that really showed me Wu Ping’s true face. After she was dismissed, knowing full well that many others adored her, she still wouldn’t analyze or learn about herself in gatherings, but instead acted like she was really wronged, saying she admired her partner Sister Zhou and listened to all she said. I was shocked to see her passing the blame onto Sister Zhou. I thought that the leader had clearly revealed and analyzed her problems, so why didn’t she have any self-understanding or take any responsibility? This was a display of not accepting the truth. Later, the leader re-assigned her to do gospel work with me, and even though I didn’t admire her like before, I was really happy. They say that even a scrawny camel is larger than a horse, and I still felt like Wu Ping really outdid me. But in my work with her after that, she wasn’t as easygoing and approachable as before, but was very intense. When discussing work, she wouldn’t listen to any of my suggestions and often just rejected them outright. She avoided me several times, and just went to discuss things with the sister she’d worked with before. I felt really constrained and had this feeling of being rejected. For a while, we really weren’t achieving anything in our duty, so I went to talk with her about these issues I found in our coordination. I was shocked that she wouldn’t accept any of it and felt like she was blameless. She just said to me, “I’ll be direct, and don’t get upset. I’m not used to working with you. I haven’t really liked the way you work and it’s made me anxious.” Hearing her say this left me feeling pretty down. I felt like I was holding her back, too.

After the leader heard about these problems, she dealt with Wu Ping for being arrogant and for not accepting the truth. Then in a gathering, Wu Ping said in front of everyone that being dealt with was God’s love and cried, saying she felt indebted to God for not doing her duty well. It seemed she really knew herself. But in our private interactions she vented her negativity, always saying she was done for and didn’t have the heart to do her duty anymore. She wouldn’t listen to any of my fellowship. Especially when the leader said some brother or sister had advanced and done well in their duty she got more depressed, and thought that the leader valued others instead of her. She was always privately asking me if the others had been laughing at her. I was really annoyed every time we talked about that. I could see she was depressed, not doing well physically or mentally, but she acted so big and strong in gatherings, and put on a face of accepting the truth and caring for God’s will. It looked really exhausting to me. Sometimes I’d ask myself, Was this the person I had adored so much? She didn’t look like someone with the reality of the truth. She was so focused on name and status, and didn’t accept the truth at all. She didn’t learn about herself when problems cropped up, but put on an act instead. She didn’t seem right. Her state just kept deteriorating after that. The leader fellowshiped with her quite a few times, and she appeared to accept it, but she didn’t change at all. She even hated the others and looked at them with venom in her eyes. The leader dealt with her and exposed her problems, but she hated and blamed God in her heart. She couldn’t stop herself from putting all the blame on God’s shoulders. I saw she had a vicious nature, that she hated God and the truth. She was a demon, an antichrist. Later she was no longer allowed to live a church life or perform duties.

I couldn’t really settle myself for quite a while after she left. I wondered why I had worshiped her so much, to the point of even wanting to be like her. Whenever I met someone who was a good talker, who could suffer and give up and expend everything for God, who was arrested and tortured without betraying God, I really adored them. Why did I worship these people so much? What idea was I being ruled by? Then I saw two passages of God’s words. “Some people are able to bear hardships, can pay the price, are outwardly very well-behaved, are quite well-respected, and enjoy the admiration of others. Would you say that this kind of outward behavior can be regarded as putting the truth into practice? Could one determine that such people are satisfying God’s will? Why is it that time and time again people see such individuals and think that they are satisfying God, walking the path of putting the truth into practice, and keeping to God’s way? Why do some people think this way? There is only one explanation for it. What explanation is that? It is that for a great many people, certain questions—such as what it means to put the truth into practice, what it means to satisfy God, and what it means to genuinely possess the reality of the truth—are not very clear. Thus, there are some people who are often deceived by those who outwardly seem spiritual, noble, lofty, and great. As for people who can speak eloquently of letters and doctrines, and whose speech and actions seem worthy of admiration, those who are deceived by them have never looked at the essence of their actions, the principles behind their deeds, or what their goals are. Moreover, they have never looked at whether these people truly submit to God, nor have they ever determined whether or not these people genuinely fear God and shun evil. They have never discerned the essence of the humanity of these people. Rather, beginning with the first step of getting acquainted with them, they have, little by little, come to admire and venerate these people, and in the end, these people become their idols. Furthermore, in some people’s minds, the idols whom they worship—and who they believe can abandon their families and jobs, and who seem superficially able to pay the price—are the ones who are truly satisfying God and who can really attain good outcomes and good destinations. In their minds, these idols are the ones whom God praises” (“How to Know God’s Disposition and the Results His Work Shall Achieve” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).

There is only one root cause which makes people have such ignorant actions and viewpoints, or one-sided opinions and practices—and today I will tell you about it: The reason is that, although people may follow God, pray to Him every day, and read His utterances every day, they do not actually understand His will. Herein lies the root of the problem. If someone understood God’s heart and knew what He likes, what He loathes, what He wants, what He rejects, what kind of person He loves, what kind of person He dislikes, what kind of standard He uses when making demands of people, and what kind of approach He takes for perfecting them, then could that person still have their own personal opinions? Could people like this simply go and worship someone else? Could an ordinary human become their idol? People who understand God’s will possess a slightly more rational viewpoint than that. They are not going to arbitrarily idolize a corrupted person, nor will they, while walking the path of putting the truth into practice, believe that blindly adhering to a few simple rules or principles is tantamount to putting the truth into practice” (“How to Know God’s Disposition and the Results His Work Shall Achieve” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words hit the nail on the head for me. I saw I’d had the wrong perspective in my faith all those years. I thought being a long-time believer, enthusiastically paying a price and doing lots of work was practicing the truth and having the reality of the truth. I thought that sort of person would bring God joy and could have a foothold in God’s house. So in my interactions with Wu Ping, when I saw that she’d believed in God for years and had made lots of sacrifices, that she’d suffered a lot to spread the gospel and was really eloquent in her fellowship, I was taken in by her grand image and impressive behavior, so I worshiped her. I finally saw how foolish and ignorant I was, what a ridiculous perspective I had. When someone can make sacrifices and suffer in their duty, that’s just superficial good behavior. It doesn’t mean they have good humanity, love the truth, or have the reality of the truth. Wu Ping had been a believer for over 20 years. She’d made lots of sacrifices and was a good talker, but she used these things as personal capital, always showing off and bringing people before her. She couldn’t accept or practice the truth at all. No matter how much criticism or failure she faced, she never reflected on herself or had any real repentance. When she was valued and had status, she had energy for her duty, could stay up all night and pour everything into it. But when she was dismissed, she lost all drive for her duty. She was resistant and complaining all the time, and secretly venting negativity. But on the surface she said she owed God and seemed really repentant, making others feel like she cared for God’s will, that she had stature and reality, so everyone looked up to her. After she was pruned and dealt with, she told everyone it was God’s love, but she secretly blamed and hated God. Was she not an antichrist who hated the truth and God? Now I know that having faith for a long time, being able to make sacrifices and speak well, having experience and being valued, don’t mean someone has the reality of the truth, much less that they bring God joy. No matter how long someone has believed or how hard they’ve worked, if they don’t practice the truth and haven’t changed their satanic dispositions, they still essentially resist God and will be eliminated in the end. This fulfills what 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” (Mat 7:22–23). Later, I thought of God’s words: “I do not care how meritorious your hard work is, how impressive your qualifications, how closely you follow Me, how renowned you are, or how much you have improved your attitude; as long as you have not met My demands, you will never be able to win My praise. Write off all those ideas and calculations of yours as soon as possible, and start treating My requirements seriously; otherwise, I will turn everyone to ash in order to bring an end to My work and, at worst turn My years of work and suffering into nothing, for I cannot bring My enemies and those people who reek of evil and have Satan’s appearance into My kingdom or take them into the next age” (“Transgressions Will Lead Man to Hell” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “I decide the destination of each person not on the basis of age, seniority, amount of suffering, and least of all, the degree to which they invite pity, but according to whether they possess the truth. There is no other choice but this. You must realize that all those who do not follow the will of God shall also be punished. This is an immutable fact” (“Prepare Sufficient Good Deeds for Your Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words were so touching to me. God doesn’t determine someone’s destination according to their effort, how well they’ve behaved or how much work they’ve done, but whether they have the truth. God doesn’t judge people by what’s on the outside, but by their essence. He looks at whether they love the truth and can put it into practice, whether they submit to God and do His will. I saw God really does have a righteous, holy disposition. He has standards and principles for judging people without the interference of any feelings. God won’t decide someone is righteous or good just because they’re enthusiastic or contribute or suffer somewhat. On the other hand, no matter how long someone’s been a believer, how much work they’ve done or how well known they are, if they don’t practice the truth and haven’t changed their dispositions, they’re bound to be eliminated by God. Once I understood this, I really saw how ignorant and pathetic I was. In my years of faith, I didn’t pursue the truth or understand God’s will. I only based my faith on my own notions and kept worshiping other people. I saw how blind and foolish I was. Later, I read this passage of God’s words. “In all of humanity, there is no one who can serve as a model for others, because all men are basically alike and are no different from each other, with little to distinguish them one from another. For this reason, even today men are still unable to know My works fully. Only when My chastisement descends on all mankind will they, unbeknownst to themselves, become aware of My works, and without My doing anything or compelling anyone, man will come to know Me, and thereby witness My works. This is My plan, it is the aspect of My works that is made manifest, and it is what man should know” (“Chapter 26” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words are perfectly clear. People are corrupted by Satan and we have Satan’s essence. We show nothing but a satanic disposition. Not a single one of us is worthy of worship. If I’d understood that before, I wouldn’t have worshiped or idolized anyone else.

I was dismissed not too long after that, because I wasn’t achieving anything in my duty. At that time I did a lot of thinking, and reflected on why I’d failed. I thought about how I’d been stuck in a state of worshiping Wu Ping, thinking she’d had faith for a long time, preached the gospel for years, suffered a lot, and had lots of work experience, so she should understand the truth and have reality. I was therefore always trying to imitate her behavior and went to her with all my questions. Whatever she said, I’d just take it in without thinking and do whatever she said. God didn’t have a place in my heart at all. I didn’t seek the truth when I encountered problems, and I wasn’t principled. I was just listening to a person, to Wu Ping. I wasn’t following God, but I was following a person. It’s just like God says: “What you admire is not the humility of Christ, but those false shepherds of prominent standing. You do not adore the loveliness or wisdom of Christ, but those libertines who wallow in the filth of the world. You laugh at the pain of Christ who has no place to lay His head, but you admire those corpses that hunt for offerings and live in debauchery. You are not willing to suffer alongside Christ, but you gladly throw yourself into the arms of those reckless antichrists, though they only supply you with flesh, words, and control. Even now, your heart still turns toward them, toward their reputation, toward their status, toward their influence. And yet you continue to hold an attitude whereby you find the work of Christ hard to swallow and you are unwilling to accept it. This is why I say that you lack the faith to acknowledge Christ. The reason you have followed Him to this day is only because you had no other option. A series of lofty images are forever towering in your heart; you cannot forget their every word and deed, nor their influential words and hands. They are, in your heart, forever supreme and forever heroes. But this is not so for the Christ of today. He is forever insignificant in your heart, and forever undeserving of reverence. For He is far too ordinary, has far too little influence, and is far from lofty” (“Are You a True Believer in God?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words revealed my true state. Thinking back on my years of faith, I’d just adulated the people around me who had caliber and gifts, who were supported and valued. I’d looked upon their every word and deed as things to emulate without ever seeking God’s will, or if it was what God wanted and was in line with principles of the truth. I just blindly worshiped and followed others and I even wanted to be just like them. I’d been on the wrong path the whole time, seeking to suffer and work as much as I could. In my duty I relied on caliber and experience, and never focused on seeking principles of the truth or my own life entry, so I hadn’t learned much truth over my years of faith, and my life had suffered. I really felt how ignorant and pathetic I was. God has given us so many words, but I hardly kept any of them in mind. But whatever Wu Ping said, and whatever opinion she had I kept clearly in mind, and would carry it out right away. I always relied on her in my duty, but God didn’t have a place in my heart. I was thoroughly exposed through this whole thing with Wu Ping. Especially when she was dismissed, her problems had been brought to light and I knew about them, but when we worked together again, I still had this grand and upstanding image of her in my mind. I still relied on her in my duties and kept thinking that even a scrawny camel is larger than a horse, and I felt she was better than me even if she had some problems. This was how I saw things. I worshiped a person too much. I wasn’t seeking principles of the truth in my interactions, and I had no discernment. I was looking at things based on satanic lies. More and more of Wu Ping’s problems came to light later. I still didn’t have any discernment, I kept following her, and was still constrained by her. So I was in a constant state of negativity and misery. I really deserved it. I’d been looking up to Wu Ping and relying on her in my duty, but what did that bring me? Deception, constraint, and rejection. I was miserable and felt constrained, and I was growing farther from God. I had faith but didn’t rely on God or look up to Him, and I didn’t pursue the truth at all. I just worshiped and followed a person. I was an idiot without any discernment. At that time I had failed and fallen, and that was God’s righteousness and salvation for me. That revelation made me take a hard look at the wrong path I was on and made me examine my own misconceptions, and become able to seek the truth to resolve these problems. I also experienced the importance of pursuing the truth. What God said, “Those who do not pursue the truth cannot follow until the very end,” is so real. Those who don’t pursue the truth are bound to be exposed and eliminated by God. My own experience of failure and the failure of the person I’d admired were the best proof of this.

A couple months later, I was paired with Wang Li for gospel work. I had heard before that after gaining her faith, she gave up a great job to do her duty and really put her nose to the grindstone, and had great caliber. She had done a lot of gospel work and was an experienced hand. I’d known her for a while and saw she cared a lot about the church work. She was really active in fellowshiping in gatherings, and seemed unconstrained no matter the circumstances or number of people. She spoke with great poise and without any fear. She actively fellowshiped to help anyone who ran into a problem, and everyone really liked her. I felt like she really pursued the truth, and I looked up to her. I was happy to have the chance to work with her, but I remembered my previous failure, how I had valued Wu Ping’s caliber and gifts, worshiping and following her. I’d taken the wrong path and it’d been harmful for my life. I knew in my interactions with Wang Li, I couldn’t rely on misconceptions to see things again, and I had to approach her in accordance with the principles of the truth. Wang Li had good caliber and experience sharing the gospel, so I had a lot to learn from her to make up for what I lacked. But she was a corrupt person, too, with corrupt dispositions and shortcomings. I couldn’t worship her and rely on her. If she had problems and errors in her duties, I couldn’t just follow her blindly. I should maintain discernment and treat her based on principles of the truth. Later in our work discussions, I noticed most of Wang Li’s suggestions weren’t very practical. A couple other sisters and I all felt they wouldn’t work, but she really held her ground. She would get stuck on anything we didn’t agree to, and once she got stuck we’d remain at an impasse for a long time, which really held up our work’s progress. Gradually, I saw that Wang Li was really arrogant and stubborn, and she’d get grumpy when her suggestions were rejected. She would pout, and it was constraining for others. She was disruptive in the gospel team, and stood in the way of the work’s progress. I told the leader about her behavior. After learning about this, the leader exposed and dissected her issues, but she still refused to accept it, and her duty was changed after that. I felt really at peace after that happened. I felt like I’d finally shifted my mistaken ideas and I didn’t worship and adore people like before. I was also really grateful to God for setting up those situations that let me gain discernment, so I could learn those lessons. Thank God!

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