I Wasn’t True in My Faith

January 18, 2022

By Michelle, Cameroon

My family was always pretty poor, and I dreamed of being a bank executive, to have a certain status in society, so we wouldn’t be so hard pressed for money. When I finished my studies and started looking for work, I sent out a lot of resumes, but I had a really tough time and never found the kind of job I wanted. I just found average, low-paying jobs.

In 2019, I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days and after a little while started doing watering duty in the church. I thought that if I did my best for God, He’d certainly bless me and help me find a good job. So, I kept sending out resumes while doing my duty. Then I got a call in June, 2021 from a company representative, asking me to come in for an interview. I got online and looked up the organization and saw it was a multinational company, and its CEO had been making investments all over the world. He owned a huge bank that I’d been hoping to work for, but nothing ever came of my interviews with them. I’d never thought that company would seek me out for an interview. It was a pleasant surprise. I felt it was God giving me a chance, and if I could work at that multinational, it would be God blessing me. I told myself that I’d definitely succeed that time and I’d get a manager’s salary because God would help me. I was thrilled that I was finally getting a chance at the job I’d dreamed of and it would make the Master’s degree I’d worked so hard on worth it. I started imagining how my life would change in the future, that I’d have lots of money, my own house, and be able to buy whatever I wanted. I thought I could travel the world and take care of my family, especially my parents. I thought that once I started working there, everything would get better. At the interview, I saw there were three candidates, and I started to feel afraid I wouldn’t be selected, but I told myself, “No, this job will be mine. I’m a child of God and He’ll certainly bless me. No matter what, God will save this place for me.” I also felt some confidence in my own capabilities. In the interview, I answered all the questions and the interviewer told me that they would call me within five days if I was successful. I felt confident I’d be selected. Five days later, I was waiting on pins and needles for a call, but it didn’t come the entire day. A week went by, and I still hadn’t gotten a call from them. I realized I’d failed the interview. I was heartbroken and started asking myself what was wrong with me, and why I’d failed. I’d leaned on God and prayed to Him, so why wasn’t I successful? I was feeling really negative and weak and started to blame God. I’d been a believer for over two years and had been doing my duty the whole time. I’d never strayed from God or given up on my duty. Why wouldn’t He give me grace and blessings? I became more depressed and miserable, to the point that I didn’t attend gatherings or read God’s words for a whole week. When brothers and sisters contacted me, I was really annoyed, and didn’t want to respond or talk to them. I didn’t want to do anything, even leave the house. I stopped doing my evangelizing duty and sharing God’s words with brothers and sisters. I just stayed in my room all day, devoid of any motivation or goals, or even an appetite. I lost weight after just a few days.

One day I heard a hymn of God’s words: “What God Wants in Trials Is Man’s True Heart.” “When God is trying people, what kind of reality does He wish to create? He is constantly asking that people give Him their hearts. When God tries you, He sees if your heart is with Him, with the flesh, or with Satan. When God tries you, He sees whether you are standing in opposition to Him or are in a position that is compatible with Him, and He also sees whether your heart is on His side. When you are immature and facing trials, you have little confidence, and you cannot know exactly what it is you need to do to fulfill God’s intentions, for your understanding of the truth is limited. However, if you can still pray to God genuinely and sincerely, and if you can be willing to give your heart over to Him, make Him your sovereign, and be willing to offer unto Him all those things that you believe to be most precious, then you will have already given God your heart. As you listen to more sermons and understand more of the truth, your stature will also gradually grow. At this time, the standard of God’s demands will not be the same as it was when you were immature; He will demand a higher standard of you. As people gradually give their hearts over to God, their hearts grow slowly nearer to Him; as people can genuinely grow nearer to God, then their hearts will revere Him ever more. What God wants is just such a heart” (Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). Then I understood that when God tests people, He’s observing their heart—what they’re concerned about, whether they’re submitting to God in the environment He’s set up. Instead of giving Him my heart, I was thinking about how to use Him to satisfy my own desires. When I didn’t get the job, wealth, and material comforts I’d wanted, I weakened, not wanting to attend gatherings or do my duty. This was a betrayal of God, and I was losing my testimony for God in that situation. So I prayed, “Almighty God, You’ve revealed that I’m not devoted or true to You. I haven’t stood witness for You or submitted to You. God, please have mercy on me. I want to repent.”

I felt much more at peace after my prayer and I responded to the others’ messages. A sister asked me about my state and I told her all about what I’d been going through. She sent me a passage of God’s words: “No one goes their whole life without suffering. For some people, it has to do with family, for some, with work, for some, with marriage, and for some, with physical illness. Everyone suffers. Some say, ‘Why must people suffer? How great it would be to live our whole lives peacefully and happily. Can’t we not suffer?’ No—everyone must suffer. Suffering causes every person to experience the myriad sensations of physical life, whether these sensations be positive, negative, active or passive; suffering gives you different feelings and appreciations, which, for you, are all life experience. If you can seek the truth and understand God’s will from these, then you will draw ever closer to the standard God requires of you. That is one aspect, and it is also in order to make people more experienced. Another aspect is the responsibility that God gives to man. What responsibility? You must undergo this suffering, bear this suffering, and if you can, then this is testimony, and not something shameful” (“Only by Resolving One’s Notions Can One Enter the Right Track of Believing in God (1)” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). I learned from God’s words that everyone has struggles in life, whether they’re a believer or not, and suffering is a part of life. Suffering isn’t remotely devoid of value. It can enrich my experience and bring me closer to God. I can come before God to seek the truth and His will. We’ve been so deeply corrupted by Satan, we’re all greedy, we covet glory, pursue status and a good future, and don’t love the truth. If we live easy lives in comfort, we’ll grow more distant from God and become more and more depraved. I figured that God allowing that to happen to me was to bring me before God in prayer, to have me seek the truth, so I’d gain true faith in God and draw nearer to Him. After understanding God’s earnest intentions, I didn’t want to fight that situation anymore, but no matter what might come next, I wanted to have absolute submission and remain devoted to God.

I read another passage after that. Almighty God says, “In people’s life experiences, they often think to themselves, I’ve given up my family and career for God, and what has He given me? I must add it up, and confirm it—have I received any blessings recently? I’ve given a lot during this time, I’ve run and run, and have suffered much—has God given me any promises in return? Has He remembered my good deeds? What will my end be? Can I receive God’s blessings? … Every person constantly makes such calculations within their heart, and they make demands of God which bear their motivations, ambitions, and a transactional mentality. This is to say, in his heart man is constantly testing God, constantly devising plans about God, constantly arguing the case for his own individual end with God, and trying to extract a statement from God, seeing whether or not God can give him what he wants. At the same time as pursuing God, man does not treat God as God. Man has always tried to make deals with God, ceaselessly making demands of Him, and even pressing Him at every step, trying to take a mile after being given an inch. At the same time as trying to make deals with God, man also argues with Him, and there are even people who, when trials befall them or they find themselves in certain situations, often become weak, passive and slack in their work, and full of complaints about God. From the time when man first began to believe in God, he has considered God to be a cornucopia, a Swiss Army knife, and he has considered himself to be God’s greatest creditor, as if trying to get blessings and promises from God were his inherent right and obligation, while God’s responsibility were to protect and care for man, and to provide for him. Such is the basic understanding of ‘belief in God’ of all those who believe in God, and such is their deepest understanding of the concept of belief in God. From man’s nature and essence to his subjective pursuit, there is nothing that relates to the fear of God. Man’s aim in believing in God could not possibly have anything to do with the worship of God. That is to say, man has never considered nor understood that belief in God requires fearing and worshiping God. In light of such conditions, man’s essence is obvious. What is this essence? It is that man’s heart is malicious, harbors treachery and deceit, does not love fairness and righteousness and that which is positive, and it is contemptible and greedy. Man’s heart could not be more closed to God; he has not given it to God at all. God has never seen man’s true heart, nor has He ever been worshiped by man. No matter how great the price God pays, or how much work He does, or how much He provides to man, man remains blind and utterly indifferent to it all. Man has never given his heart to God, he only wants to mind his heart himself, to make his own decisions—the subtext of which is that man does not want to follow the way of fearing God and shunning evil, or to obey the sovereignty and arrangements of God, nor does he want to worship God as God. Such is the state of man today” (“God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words revealed my true state and made me feel so ashamed. My faith was just for the sake of blessings, and even though I was expending myself for God, in the end it was entirely to be rewarded by God. I served Him enthusiastically, putting so much time and energy into my duty, in the hopes that God would bless me and bestow His grace, so I’d end up getting a high-paying job that was in the field I’d studied. Then I’d have a happy life and want for nothing, and my family and I wouldn’t suffer anymore. That was my thinking and goal. But after more than two years of faith, the blessings I’d been pursuing hadn’t materialized. When I didn’t get the job I was hoping for, my drive to follow and serve God went away. The facts showed me that I’d been cheating God all along, trying to make deals with Him. It looked like I was working hard for God, going to gatherings and active in my duty, but in reality, I had ulterior motives—it was to gain more grace and blessings from God. The enlightenment within God’s words showed me my own selfishness, that I was only thinking of myself and my family, forcing my demands upon God, making extravagant demands of Him. I wasn’t treating Him like God, and I wasn’t actually worshiping God in my faith. I was demanding payment from God as if He were my debtor, having Him give me special favors, using Him to fulfill my desires. God has already given us life, and He has unconditionally given us so many truths. God has become flesh and suffered so much to save us humans, corrupted by Satan. It’s all so we can gain the truth, cast off corruption, and be fully saved by God. God’s love for us is tremendous, and He’s given us so much grace. But I was blind to God’s love and never cared about His will. I only knew how to make demands. I had no conscience or reason! God’s words always reveal my true states. If I use my sacrifices to demand the blessings I want from God, treating my duty like part of a transaction, that kind of faith and service is just like working for a boss out in the world. It’s just to get something in return, totally lacking sincerity.

I read another passage later on, in the last passage of “God’s Work and Man’s Practice.” “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?” (The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words tell us that only those with a place for God in their hearts can stand witness through His trials, but those without God in their hearts only think about their own interests. When they’ll have some fleshly gain, they force themselves to obey, but as soon as they don’t get what they want, they see God as an enemy, blaming and betraying Him. This is the sort of person that God hates and will eliminate—they are like demons. Pondering God’s words, I realized, wasn’t I just that sort of person? My faith was for blessings. As long as my family members were healthy and I had a good job, I was ready to work hard for God. But when those things didn’t go the way I wanted, I went on strike and developed complaints toward God. I had no devotion or submission for God. I saw my faith in God wasn’t genuine, that I was cheating God and making deals, and He’d never recognize that kind of faith. God is completing a group of overcomers in the last days. They can turn their hearts entirely toward God and live entirely to satisfy Him. They have the resolve to suffer for God, and they’re able to stand firm through hardship like Job, to be witnesses. They’re the ones God will perfect in the end, and only they will deserve God’s approval and blessings. Job suffered so much through his trials, but he never blamed God for his suffering. In fact, his faith in God never wavered at all, and when he lost all his children and possessions, he was still able to praise God’s name and submit to God’s rule. He was a resounding witness for God. But looking at me, I was really far away from what God requires.

One day I read this passage of God’s words, the last passage in “To Whom Are You Loyal?” “If I were to place some money in front of you right now and give you the freedom to choose—and if I did not condemn you for your choice—then most of you would choose the money and forsake the truth. The better among you would give up the money and choose the truth reluctantly, while those in-between would seize the money in one hand and the truth in the other. Would your true colors thus not become self-evident? When choosing between the truth and anything to which you are loyal, you would all make this choice, and your attitude would remain the same. Is that not so? Are there not many among you who have seesawed between right and wrong? In contests between positive and negative, black and white, you are surely aware of the choices that you have made between family and God, children and God, peace and disruption, riches and poverty, status and ordinariness, being supported and being cast aside, and so on. Between a peaceful family and a broken one, you chose the former, and you did so without any hesitation; between riches and duty, you again chose the former, even lacking the will to return to shore;[a] between luxury and poverty, you chose the former; when choosing between your sons, daughters, wives and husbands, and Me, you chose the former; and between notion and truth, you once again chose the former. Faced with all manner of your evil deeds, I have simply lost faith in you. It simply astounds Me that your hearts are so resistant to being softened. Many years of dedication and effort have apparently brought Me nothing more than your abandonment and despair, but My hopes for you grow with each passing day, for My day has been completely laid bare before everyone. Yet you persist in seeking dark and evil things, and refuse to loosen your grip on them. What, then, will be your outcome? Have you ever given careful consideration to this? If you were asked to choose again, what then would be your position? Would it still be the former? Would you still bring Me disappointment and wretched sorrow? Would your hearts still possess the sole modicum of warmth? Would you still be unaware of what to do to comfort My heart? At this moment, what do you choose? Will you submit to My words or be weary of them? My day has been laid out before your very eyes, and what you face is a new life and a new starting point. However, I must tell you that this starting point is not the beginning of past new work, but the conclusion of the old. That is, this is the final act. I think you can all understand what is unusual about this starting point. One day soon, however, you will understand the true meaning of this starting point, so let us move past it together and welcome the finale to come!” (The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words were so moving for me, and I saw that people really do have a nature of betraying God. We only love material possessions and money, status and fame, not the truth. Even though our nature is loathsome to God, He disregards our rebelliousness and corruption, looking at whether we’re currently pursuing the truth, whether we’ve repented and changed. God wants to fully save us from Satan’s influence and bring us into His kingdom. But I didn’t treasure God’s grace or pursue the truth. I was focused on finding a good job with a high salary, longing for wealth and fleshly comforts. I was so foolish! Only the truth can save people, cleanse our corruption, allow us to distinguish good and evil, and escape Satan’s deception and harm. Understanding the truth can help us know God, know how to live, how to find meaning as a person. Pursuing money and material pleasures would only take me farther from God, making me more corrupt, greedy and indulgent, losing my chance at salvation. Just like the Lord Jesus said, “And again I say to you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24). Being too rich, too comfortable isn’t necessarily a good thing. It says in Proverbs, “And the prosperity of fools shall destroy them” (Proverbs 1:32). The Lord Jesus warned us, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. But seek you first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:31–33). Disasters are growing all the time. What’s most important now is to equip ourselves with truth and work hard in our duties. In our duties, we have to seek to cast off corruption and submit to God, to become worthy of being a created being in God’s eyes. Nothing else has value or meaning. I also learned that whether I found a good job was entirely in God’s hands. I was ready to submit to God’s arrangements and put myself entirely in His hands.

I read another passage from God after that: “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” (“The Difference Between the Ministry of God Incarnate and the Duty of Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I learned from this passage that whether God gives us fortune or calamity, we have to do our own duty and complete God’s commission. This is our unconditional responsibility. Thinking back, after experiencing some failures in my pursuit of a stable, respectable job, I became really depressed and negative, and didn’t want to do my duty anymore. That wasn’t the right attitude toward my duty. God tells us that as created beings, we all have a responsibility to do our part. No matter what God puts us through, whether we feel weakness or don’t understand God’s will, we have to keep doing our duty. We’re created beings who should submit to God unconditionally. We have no right to demand anything of Him or make deals with Him. As created beings, doing our part is our bounden duty and no transactions can pollute that! It’s right and proper, the natural course of things, just like children being filial to parents.

After that, I got more serious about my duty and really threw myself into sharing the gospel. I felt so at peace, living this way. One day, a school invited me for an interview. It was really prestigious, so I knew I’d have a high salary if I got the job. But during the interview, I said to God in my heart, “God, everything is arranged by You. Whether I do well in this interview or not, I’m not demanding this job from You. I just want to submit to Your orchestrations. Even if I don’t get this job, I’ll still praise You and keep doing my duty.” The results of the written portion were released, and I was in the top five candidates. I was so happy. A couple days later, after the oral interviews, I found out I hadn’t been selected. A friend told me he had been selected, and though I was happy for him, I did feel a little disappointed. I asked God to give me inner peace and watch over my heart so I could submit to His rule. I felt so calm after my prayer, and I went to do my duty as usual that afternoon. I knew that if God wanted me to work in that school, I would have gotten the job, but otherwise, no amount of hard work would get me in. I felt confident it was all in God’s hands, and no one can overrule God. When I thought about it that way, I felt this internal motivating force, and I really wanted to do my duty no matter what, to fulfill my responsibilities.

This truly taught me that those difficult circumstances were actually God’s grace and blessing. God had me go through all of that to test my faith, and to see whether I could stay true to God through tough times. Being faced with the facts showed me how adulterated my faith was, that I was capable of cheating God. The guidance of God’s words helped me understand myself and turn my mistaken pursuits around. I never could have gained all this in times of comfort. I’m so grateful for God’s love!

Footnotes:

a. Return to shore: a Chinese idiom, meaning “turn from one’s evil ways.”

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