The Importance of the Correct Attitude in Your Duty
By Ella, the Philippines
In October of 2020, I accepted the work ofin the last days. I started actively attending gatherings and fellowshiping on my understanding of God’s word, and two months later, I became the leader of a gathering group. I remember that the first time I hosted a gathering, I was both excited and nervous. I was excited to do my duty in God’s house, but I worried that if I didn’t host well, my brothers and sisters might look down on me. I thought the way my leader hosted gatherings was very good, so if I did it her way, I was sure I could host the gathering well, and then my leader would praise me and my brothers and sisters would look up to me. So, I hosted the gathering by imitating my leader’s method. When I asked my brothers and sisters questions, they could interact with me, and when I shared my understanding, they said “Amen” and agreed. After the gathering, my leader was surprised, and said that I was very good at it. I felt happy and proud when I heard the leader’s praise. It didn’t take long for me to be promoted to watering deacon. I was very excited, and I thought the leader must feel I had good caliber to give me this duty. At first, I didn’t know how to perform the duty, but I didn’t want my brothers and sisters to be disappointed in me. So, at each gathering, I tried to find the crucial elements that God’s word discussed. That way, my fellowship would be clear and cover the key points, the others would think I understood God’s word well, and then they would all admire me. But after my fellowship, when I listened to the fellowship of others, I noticed that my own fellowship wasn’t as clear as theirs. I was very worried, and thought, “Now the newcomers won’t think I fellowship well, and their attention will be on other brothers and sisters.” I feared the newcomers wouldn’t look up to me, so I racked my brains to find ways to fellowship better. But I couldn’t calm myself enough to contemplate God’s word. The more I wanted to fellowship well, the worse my fellowship became. I worried, “What will my brothers and sisters think of me? Will my leader be disappointed in me? Why isn’t my fellowship as clear as everyone else’s? Why did they fellowship so well, and why can’t I?” At the time, I was very frustrated, and I wanted to work harder than them and surpass them.
A few months later, due to the needs of the work, I was sent to preach the gospel. Once I arrived in the group, I asked who was the group leader and who was the church leader. I thought, as long as I did my best, I could earn the church leader’s approval and possibly be made group leader. That way, even more brothers and sisters would look up to me. In my preaching, I often prayed and relied on God when there were things I didn’t understand. After a while, I got some good results in my duty, and this made me very happy. But at the same time, I also felt guilty, because I knew I had the wrong attitude. I only wanted to be looked up to by others, not to do my duty well, but God observes our hearts, and God certainly hated my pursuit. I came before God and prayed, asking God to guide me in forsaking my mistaken intentions. After I prayed, I felt a little better. However, I still often involuntarily pursued making people look up to me. When I saw others doing their duties well, I wanted to surpass them. I knew it was wrong to think this way, but I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t calm myself enough to do my duty. My state grew worse and worse, and I became ineffective in my duty. Later, I prayed to God, asking Him to help me and guide me in letting go of this wrong intention. One day, I saw a passage of God’s word in a testimonial video that gave me a little knowledge of myself. Almighty God says, “Antichrists reluctantly perform their duty in order to obtain blessings. They also inquire whether they will be able to put themselves on display and be looked up to by performing a duty, and whether the Above or God will know if they perform this duty. These are all things they consider when they perform a duty. The first thing they want to determine is what benefits they can get by performing a duty and whether they can be blessed. This is the most important thing to them. They never think about how to be considerate of God’s will and repay God’s love, how to preach the gospel and testify to God so that people gain God’s salvation and happiness. They also never seek to understand the truth, resolve their corrupt dispositions, and live out a human likeness. They never consider these things. They only think about whether they can be blessed and gain benefits, how to gain a foothold in the church and in the crowd, how to gain status, how to make people look up to them, and how to stand out and become the best. They are not willing to be ordinary followers. They always want to be the first in the church, have the final say, become the leader, and make everyone listen to them. Only then can they be satisfied. You can see that antichrists’ hearts are full of these things. Do they genuinely expend for God? Do they genuinely perform their duties as created beings? (No.) Then what do they want to do? (To hold power.) That’s right. They say, ‘As for me, in the secular world I want to outdo everyone else. I have to be the first in any group. I refuse to come in second, and I will never be a sidekick. I want to be a leader and have the final say in any group of people I’m in. If I don’t have the final say, then I will find a way to convince you all, to make you all look up to me, and to make you choose me as the leader. Once I have status, I will have the final say, everyone will have to listen to me, they will have to do things my way, and they will have to be under my control.’ No matter what duty the antichrists perform, they will try to put themselves in a senior position and take charge. They could never calmly be an ordinary follower. And what excites them the most? It is standing in front of people giving orders and telling people off, making people do as they say. They never think about how to perform their duty properly—much less, while performing their duty, do they seek the principles of the truth in order to practice the truth and satisfy God. Instead, they rack their brains for ways to distinguish themselves, to make the leaders think highly of them and promote them, so that they themselves can become a leader or worker, and can lead other people. This is what they spend all day thinking about and hoping for. Antichrists are not willing to be led by others, nor are they willing to be an ordinary follower, much less to go quietly about fulfilling their duties without fanfare. Whatever their duties, if they cannot be front and center, if they cannot be above others, and the leader, they find no purpose in fulfilling their duties, and become negative and start slacking. Without the praise or admiration of others, it is even less interesting to them, and they have even less desire to fulfill their duties. But if they can be front and center while fulfilling their duties and get to have the final say, they feel fortified, and will suffer any hardship. They always have personal motives in the performance of their duties, and they always want to stand above others as a means to satisfy their need to surpass others, and satisfy their desires and ambitions” (“They Do Their Duty Only to Distinguish Themselves and Feed Their Own Interests and Ambitions; They Never Consider the Interests of God’s House, and Even Sell Those Interests Out in Exchange for Personal Glory (Part Seven)” in Exposing Antichrists).
After reading God’s word, I was very afraid. I immediately thought about all I had done. I felt like all of my thoughts and actions had been exposed to the light. God’s word revealed that in a duty, antichrists never think about how to pursue the truth or do their duty well. Instead, they pursue high positions where they can lead others. They never want to see others above them, and they walk the path of resisting God. I thought back on all my various manifestations that were the same as antichrists: As soon as I started in my duty, I wanted to be looked up to and praised by everyone else, so I imitated my leader when I hosted gatherings. After I became the watering deacon, I contemplated God’s word for each gathering, hoping to convey the key points in my fellowship so that everyone would say my fellowship was good and offered light. In the gospel group, I didn’t think about how to fulfill my duty to satisfy God. Instead, I first asked who the group leader and the church leader were, hoping I would be selected as group leader through my own efforts. I tried my best to express myself in front of my brothers and sisters, and compared my effectiveness in my duty with them. When I saw others doing their duty well, I was jealous and uncomfortable, and l wanted to surpass them and be the best. Behind all I did, there was nothing but face, status, and attempts to satisfy my competitive nature. How could pursuit like this not be hated by God? A duty is a commission from God, and it is our obligation and responsibility, but I treated it like my own career. I used my duty to pursue status and achieve my goal of making people look up to me. How could harboring these intentions in my duty be in line with God’s will? I hated myself for being so corrupt. I didn’t want to live like this anymore. I wanted to change.
A few days later, I was transferred to another gospel group. When I arrived, I only wanted to focus on gospel work and fulfill my responsibilities. I noticed that the brothers and sisters there performed their duties very well. When preaching the gospel, they communicated the truth of God’s work very clearly, and many gospel targets were willing to seek and investigate. My own preaching was rather ineffective, and my fellowship on the truth was unclear, so for the first time, I felt very small. Little by little, I was not as arrogant as before. I didn’t dare think so highly of myself, and I didn’t want to pursue making others look up to me. At first, I thought I had achieved some change, but when I saw my brothers and sisters receive praise for performing their duties well, my corruption revealed itself again. I thought, “I also want to be praised and looked up to by my brothers and sisters.” After that, in my duty, I frantically invited gospel targets to hear sermons, but I didn’t try to find out if they truly believed in God or if they met the requirements for evangelism. As a result, I invited some nonbelievers to hear sermons. But at the time, I was very sad, “I did my duty ineffectively. What will my brothers and sisters think of me? Will they think I’m worse off?” In those days, I was very negative, and I wanted to cry during gatherings, but I always remembered a passage of God’s word. “Are you not aware that I am always talking about things without mincing words? Why do you continue to be obtuse, numb, and dull-witted? You should examine yourselves more, and if there is ever anything you do not understand, then you should come before Me more often” (“Chapter 63” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in). God’s word reminded me, “Right, I should reflect and examine whether I have incorrect intentions in my duty.” Through reflection, I realized my old problem had returned: I want to gain people’s attention and high regard by doing my duty. When I realized this, I was distraught. Why was my desire for status so strong and my corruption so deep? Even worse, I was numb to it. I didn’t even realize my state was wrong.
When I was discussing my state with a sister, she sent me a passage of God’s word. I finally gained some knowledge of myself after I read it.say, “Some people particularly idolize Paul. They like to go out and give speeches and do work, they like to attend gatherings and preach, and they like people listening to them, worshiping them, and revolving around them. They like to have status in the minds of others, and they appreciate it when others value the image they present. Let us analyze their nature from these behaviors: What is their nature? If they really behave like this, then it is enough to show that they are arrogant and conceited. They do not at all; they seek a higher status and wish to have authority over others, to possess them, and to have status in their minds. This is the classic image of Satan. The aspects of their nature that stand out are arrogance and conceit, an unwillingness to worship God, and a desire to be worshiped by others. Such behaviors can give you a very clear view into their nature” (“How to Know Man’s Nature” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). After reading God’s word, I started to reflect on myself. God says Paul made people worship him and revolve around him, that he liked to have status in others’ hearts, and liked others to focus on his image. I also wanted my brothers and sisters to look up to me and worship me. At gatherings, I wanted to fellowship better than others. In my duty, when I saw others work better than me, my competitive nature emerged. I wanted to do better than them, and beat my brothers and sisters. All I said and did was full of ambition and desire, and my disposition was too arrogant. My intentions and behaviors were the same as Paul. Paul’s nature was proud and arrogant. He didn’t worship God, he showed off and testified himself everywhere, he pursued making others look up to him and worship him, and he wanted to have a place in other people’s hearts. I was the same. No matter what duty I performed, all I did was for fame and status, not to fulfill my duty to satisfy God. Pursuing like I did was resisting God and was condemned by God. The pursuit of status is not just to gain status or a title. The purpose is to have a place in people’s hearts, make others worship you, and replace God in the hearts of others. Just as it says in God’s word, “This is the classic image of Satan.” It really is frightening! I also remembered that to pursue status and be highly regarded by others, I pursued quick success in my duty and preached the gospel without principles, which let some nonbelievers into the group and wasted the time and energy of the gospel workers. If these people had then entered the church, they could have disrupted church work, which would have been much worse. The essence of this problem was serious! If I didn’t repent and change, God would certainly detest me, so I didn’t want to pursue status and the high regard of others anymore.
At the next gatherings, I listened carefully to the fellowship of my brothers and sisters and saw that everyone was striving to do their duty well. There was one sister whose experience was moving for me. She fellowshiped on how she relied on God to overcome difficulties in her duties and how she did the work of spreading the gospel. After hearing this, I asked myself, “Do I treat my duty seriously? Am I practicing according to God’s word? Everyone else has practical experience and testimony of practicing the truth in different environments. Why don’t I have these? Why isn’t my intention to perform my duty well?” I felt very guilty. God gave me the chance to do a duty, but I didn’t take it seriously or perform it well. Instead of working properly, I wholeheartedly pursued the admiration of others. I really didn’t deserve God’s exaltation and grace. During that time, I seriously reflected on myself, and I also remembered Peter’s experience. Peter never showed off or sought to be looked up to by others. He focused on seeking the truth in everything, reflecting on his own corruption, and changing his life disposition. He walked a successful path of belief in God. I also wanted to pursue dispositional change, so I often prayed to God, asking Him to guide me in knowing myself. Whenever I wanted people to look up to me in my duty, I would consciously forsake my wrong intentions, because I wanted to escape my corrupt disposition and perform my duty well.
One day, I read a passage of God’s words and found a path of practice. God’s words say, “If God made you foolish, then there is meaning in your foolishness; if He made you bright, then there is meaning in your brightness. Whatever expertise God gives you, whatever your strengths, however high your IQ, they all have a purpose for God. All these things were preordained by God. The role you play in your life and the duty you fulfill were ordained by God long ago. Some people see that others possess expertise they do not and are discontent. They want to change things by learning more, seeing more, and being more diligent. But there is a limit to what their diligence can achieve, and they cannot surpass those with gifts and expertise. No matter how much you fight, it is useless. God has ordained what you will be, and there is nothing anyone can do to change it. Whatever you are good at, that is where you should make an effort. Whatever duty you are suited to is the duty you should perform. Do not try to force yourself into areas outside your skillset and do not envy others. Everyone has their function. Do not think that you can do everything well, or that you are more perfect or better than others, always desiring to replace others and put yourself on display. This is a corrupt disposition. There are those who think that they cannot do anything well, and that they have no skills at all. If that is the case, you should just be a person who listens and obeys in a down-to-earth manner. Do what you can do and do it well, with all your strength. That is enough. God will be satisfied” (“The Principles That Should Guide One’s Conduct” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). After reading God’s words, I was very moved. I understood that I was so exhausted and went through so much torment because I didn’t put my energy into doing my duty. Rather, I used it to pursue reputation and status. Whether someone’s caliber is high or low, and their talents, gifts, and abilities are all preordained by God. God only wants people to do the best they can within their own abilities. He doesn’t ask us to stand out from the crowd and be superior to others. Even before I was born, God had arranged everything for me. God preordained my talents, caliber, gifts, what duties I was suitable for, and everything else. I was meant to submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangements, keep my own position, do my best in a down-to-earth manner, and perform my own duty well. After careful thought, I realized I don’t have any special skills, but all I need to do is as it says in God’s word, “If that is the case, you should just be a person who listens and obeys in a down-to-earth manner. Do what you can do and do it well, with all your strength. That is enough. God will be satisfied.” Now, I was ready to practice according to God’s word and sincerely perform my role.
Once, I saw a sister doing her duty very effectively. I was jealous and a little envious. I thought, “How does she do it?” I felt the urge to surpass her rising again, but I realized I was exposing my corruption, so I prayed to God to forsake myself. After I prayed, I thought, “We all have different roles to play, just like a machine has different parts, and each part has a different function. She has her strengths and achieves good results in her duty. This is a good thing. I shouldn’t compare myself against her, I should learn from her.” After that, whenever my sister shared her experience and practices in fulfilling her duty, I listened carefully and took notes. I also looked to others for experience in gospel work. During gatherings, I also calmed myself and contemplated God’s word, fellowshiped on what I understood of God’s word, and no longer pursued being looked up to. When I practiced like this, I found that my desire for reputation and status gradually diminished. I didn’t feel as jealous as before, and I felt much more relaxed and at ease. That I have this knowledge and practice now is entirely the result achieved by God’s work. Thanks be to God!