It Is So Important to Obey the Work of the Holy Spirit
By Xiaowei, Shanghai City
Some time ago, even though I always received some inspiration and benefit when a sister who performed duties with me shared the enlightenment she had attained while reading the word of God, I also always had the lingering sense that she was showing off. I would think to myself, “If I respond to her right now, won’t I be pandering to her? In that sense, will I not then seem lesser than her?” As a result, I refused to bring up my own views in fellowship or comment on any of the thoughts that she shared. One time, my sister, having received some insights from reading a particular passage of God’s words, felt that there was something wrong with our states and asked me if I would be willing to fellowship with her on that passage of God’s words. As soon as she asked, all these thoughts and feelings of resentment floated to the surface: “You just want to testify about yourself, to have an audience to preach to. Why should I fellowship with you?” I even went so far as to skip out on a meeting so I wouldn’t have to hear her. After a while, I felt a heavy weight in my heart, I knew something was wrong with my state, but I couldn’t think of a good way to resolve my inner conflict. All I could do was to fully invest myself in my duties, read the word of God, and sing the hymns to distract myself from these negative feelings. However, whenever I had to face the current situation, the same corrupt disposition would rise in my heart—things were getting worse, not better—and I hadn’t a clue how to break free from it.
A few days later, I had a confrontation with the sister during fellowship. The sister said: “Recently you’ve been very quiet during fellowship, something seems off with you.” I felt those words like a punch in the gut, but to not lose face I denied that there was any problem. At the time it seemed to me that the sister had been too arrogant: She seemed to speak without any regard to my own dignity and I got the sense she was looking down on me. All of my old biases against this sister came welling back up from inside me. The more I struggled, the darker grew my spirit; I could not feel God. In my pain, I knelt before God and prayed that He enlighten me to my actual state. In the midst of prayer, the word of God came to me: “Those who see the work of the Holy Spirit as a game are frivolous!” (“Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Afterward, I also came upon the following passage: “The Holy Spirit not only works in certain people who are used by God, but, furthermore, in the church. He could be working in anyone. He may work in you during the present time, and you will experience this work. During the next period, He may work in someone else, in which case you must haste to follow; the more closely you follow the present light, the more your life can grow. No matter what manner of person someone is, if the Holy Spirit works in them, then you must follow. Take in their experiences through your own, and you will receive even higher things. In so doing you will progress more quickly. This is the path of perfection for man and the means by which life grows. The path to being made perfect is reached through your obedience to the work of the Holy Spirit. You do not know through what kind of person God will work to perfect you, nor through what person, occurrence, or thing He will allow you to gain or see things” (“Those Who Obey God With a True Heart Shall Surely Be Gained by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Reading this passage, I realized with a start: All this time I’ve been resisting the work of the Holy Spirit! In these days, my sister has often received enlightenment from reading the word of God, she has some burden for her duty and the life entry of our brothers and sisters, and is happy to support and help others; clearly the Holy Spirit is working in her. I should be obedient to the work of the Holy Spirit and accept her help, but instead I have always had misgivings about her and have taken her for a show-off, thinking she only wanted to prove how much better she was than everyone else. I was unwilling to accept her fellowship on her understanding of God’s words, and when she suggested to have fellowship with me I would not respond. I was full of resistance and prejudice against her and entirely took her as my enemy. How could I possibly be someone who loves and accepts the truth? On the surface, it looked as though this sister was just pointing out what my state was, but in reality it all came from God’s orchestrations and arrangements. My deep dissatisfaction with my sister was, in fact, me pitting myself against God and rejecting, refusing, and resisting the work of the Holy Spirit. Thinking back now on why I was unwilling to listen to that sister’s fellowship, wasn’t it that I became jealous of her because the experiences and understanding she shared contained the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit while I was unsuccessful in my fellowship? Wasn’t it that I was only willing to lord over others, but not willing to be outdone? I was unwilling to let go of myself and accept my sister’s help so that I could protect my own fame and status and prove that I was no less than her. Instead, I rejected, hid from, and judged her fellowship. My nature is utterly arrogant and hardened, and I lack all humanity and sense. At this point, I realized I hadn’t truly been living in obedience to and fear of God, I did not love the truth and I was blind to the precious work of the Holy Spirit in my sister. Instead, I placed my own personal status and vanity ahead of anything else. I was clearly aware of the Holy Spirit’s work but intentionally resisted it. How was the essence of my behavior any different from that of those Jewish Pharisees who were well aware that the Lord Jesus’ work and words were the way of the truth, but because of protecting their own fame and status intentionally resisted and condemned God? Was I not just another frivolous person who, just as God said, sees the work of the Holy Spirit as a game? Looking back, I realized that the Holy Spirit was not just working in the sister, He was also trying to make up for my deficiencies through this sister’s fellowship, to open my eyes and help me gain something from the process. What did I do in return? I was arrogant and conceited and refused God’s grace at every moment, and therefore I had missed many opportunities to be perfected by God. I had missed out on much of God’s enlightenment, illumination and truths. How foolish I’d been, how stupid!
At that moment, I felt even greater rancor and guilt for all that I’d done, so I prayed to God, “God, I have been blind, foolish, and arrogant, and in no way deserve the work You have carried out in me or to be saved by You. But You still lead me and enlighten me, allowing me to see my own absurdity and ignorance. Oh, God! I promise You, from now on, whichever of my sisters and brothers is fellowshiping, as long as they speak in line with God’s word or with the truth, I will obey and accept, because this is the path toward growth in my life and a mark of Your blessing, and because by doing so I am not obedient to any one person, but rather to all the positive things that come from You. It is a chance to accept Your salvation. Should I disobey or rebel against You again, I ask that You judge and chastise me, so that I can turn to You before it is too late.”