I Have Learned to Coordinate With Others
By Gong Nan, China
Almighty God says, “Arrogance is the root of man’s corrupt disposition. The more arrogant people are, the more liable they are to resist God. How serious is this problem? Not only do people with arrogant dispositions consider everyone else beneath them, but, worst of all, they are even condescending toward God. Even though, externally, some people might appear to believe in God and follow Him, they do not treat Him as God at all. They always feel that they possess the truth and think the world of themselves. This is the essence and root of the arrogant disposition, and it comes from Satan. Therefore, the problem of arrogance must be resolved. Feeling that one is better than others—that is a trivial matter. The critical issue is that one’s arrogant disposition prevents one from submitting to God, His rule, and His arrangements; such a person always feels inclined to compete with God for power over others. This sort of person does not revere God in the slightest, to say nothing of loving God or submitting to Him. People who are arrogant and conceited, especially those who are so arrogant as to have lost their sense, cannot submit to God in their belief in Him, and even exalt and bear testimony for themselves. Such people resist God the most. If people wish to get to where they revere God, then they must first resolve their arrogant dispositions. The more thoroughly you resolve your arrogant disposition, the more reverence you will have for God, and only then can you submit to Him and be able to obtain the truth and know Him” (God’s Fellowship). I always knew that my disposition was arrogant, but never truly understood the words: “Arrogance is the root of man’s corrupt disposition. The more arrogant people are, the more liable they are to resist God.” I never focused on seeking the truth to resolve it, either. It was only when I disrupted the church’s work due to my arrogance, because I flaunted my seniority, and made people do what I told them in my duty, that I finally started to appreciate God’s words and see how arrogance can make people do evil and resist God. Only then did I focus on seeking the truth to resolve my arrogant disposition.
It was May 2018 when the church assigned me to writing duty. When I first started, I felt nowhere near qualified. I often prayed and relied on God in my duty and fellowshiped on the principles of editing articles with the sisters I worked with. After a while, I felt like I had a pretty good grasp on the principles and professional skills for editing articles, that I was up to the task. As time went on, I became less focused on seeking the principles of the truth in my duty. When editing articles I rarely listened to others’ suggestions and often stuck to my own views. One time there was an article that didn’t follow a clear train of thought. Two sisters said we should fellowship according to God’s words and principles and get the train of thought down before editing it. I thought, “Do we really need to look for God’s words and principles? We’ve been doing this duty for ages now, so we should be able to sort out such a little problem!” I explained the train of thought in the article to the others as I understood it and pressed upon them why my view was correct. On my insistence, the sisters didn’t look for God’s words and principles but laid out the article according to my understanding. Another time we were fellowshiping about the core of an article when the sisters suggested finding some learning materials on writing we could study. I was very much against this idea, and thought, “We’ve all edited quite a few articles, so what’s the point in further study? The train of thought in writing is something you get a feel for. You’re just trying to fix something that isn’t broken.” I found any excuse to put it off, and taught them what I knew about writing so they could all sing from my hymn sheet. Finally, the two sisters had no choice but to go along with it.
One day, a new sister came to edit articles with me. I discovered that she was new to the faith and had never done writing duty before. Also, as I got to know her, I discovered that she wasn’t as good as me with structuring language. I thought, “I’ve been doing this duty longer than you and I understand more about the principles and skills than you do. You need to just do what I say from now on.” Once, I saw that she hadn’t edited an article in line with my ideas. I felt really uncomfortable, and thought, “What’s wrong with you? I’ve fellowshiped in such detail with you. Why don’t you listen? This won’t do. I’ve got to be stern with you.” And so I pointed at the computer screen and said with a reprimanding tone, “Look, what are you doing? The ideas in this are all over the place! I’ve been here for a long time and I know more about the principles and skills than you do. If you’d just edited it like I told you, you wouldn’t have made such a mess.” The sister blushed bright red and hung her head in silence. Seeing her so upset, I felt a little bad, and thought, “How could I speak to her like that and embarrass her? I won’t do that again.” But not long afterward, as we were discussing an article, I spent a long time fellowshiping my own ideas with the sister but she still didn’t edit it the way I told her to. I was so angry, and thought, “The suggestions I make for editing are accepted by the long-time team members and even the person in charge agrees, so why don’t you just do what I say? No, I must think of a way to get you to listen to me.” I then fellowshiped with her over and over, only stopping once she’d accepted my suggestions. Besides that, even when doing daily devotionals, I used my longer time in the faith and my greater understanding as pretexts to tell her to listen to certain sermons one minute and then to read certain chapters of God’s words the next until she had no idea what to do anymore. As this went on, the sister ended up feeling very constrained by me. She had been so talkative and smiley at first, and had often expressed her own views. But now she was silent and morose, and hardly ever spoke. She was also really negative and didn’t want to do her duty there anymore. I was upset to see her in such a state and thought that I shouldn’t be treating her that way. But the moment an issue arose, I couldn’t help but reveal my arrogance.
Not long after, I got lots of blisters in my mouth, and it even became hard to eat. Even worse, I couldn’t sense the Holy Spirit’s work and guidance. I had nothing to say in prayer to God and got no enlightenment from God’s words. In over a month, I edited just a handful of articles. I was feeling constantly uneasy, so I came before God to pray that He would guide me to know my own state. Later, I read some of God’s words quoted in an article I was working on which exposed my exact state. God’s words say, “You perform your duty, time passes, and you see some success, but you have made no progress in your entry into life. You have made no breakthroughs, and all you understand is those few doctrines, and, for a long time, you have had no knowledge of the reality of the truth. In such a situation, what will you do and what corrupt dispositions will you reveal? (Arrogance and conceitedness.) Will you become even more arrogant and conceited, or will you stay as you are? (We will become even more arrogant and conceited.) Why is that? (We will think we are qualified.) On what basis do you determine how qualified you are? Is it determined based on how long you have been performing your duty and on how much experience you have accrued in its performance? Slowly but surely, will you start ranking yourselves according to seniority? … When people have no resources, they know they should be cautious and careful, and they always remind themselves not to make mistakes; the moment they have a few resources, they think they are good enough, and begin to rank themselves according to seniority. When this happens, there is no longer any place for God in their hearts, and they no longer have any connection with God, which is very dangerous” (“Only If You Live Before God at All Times Can You Walk the Path of Salvation” in Records of Christ’s Talks). After reading God’s words, I thought about when I’d first started on writing duty. I didn’t know anything about the principles or skills, but I did have some self-awareness. I could let go of myself and seek and learn with my sisters. After a while, I thought I’d grasped some principles and began to see results in my duty. Without realizing it, I was putting on airs, thinking I had good caliber and seniority, and so started to look down on my sisters. I no longer listened to their suggestions and when they wanted to seek the principles or refer to study materials, I thought there was no need, that they should just do what I said. I looked down on the new sister even more. I thought that because I’d done this duty for ages and understood more, she should respect my seniority and go along with my ideas. When she didn’t, I lectured her until she accepted my suggestions. I even made her read what I asked her to read during devotionals. I stifled her to the point that she was negative, in pain, and didn’t even want to do her duty anymore. I wasn’t doing my duty, I was doing evil! I’d been capitalizing on my experience, becoming more and more arrogant, always stifling others, harming and oppressing them. Although I knew my state was wrong, I was stubborn and refused to seek the truth or reflect on myself. Only then did I realize how dark my spirit had become and that I’d become sick. This was God disciplining me and, even more, protecting me. God was using this situation to force me to come before Him and reflect on myself. When I thought of the harm my arrogant disposition had caused my sister, I felt so upset and guilty. I was totally lacking humanity! I rushed to come before God to pray and repent. Later, at a gathering, I fellowshiped about the corruption I’d been revealing and my understanding of it, and apologized profusely to my sister. Not only did she not make a big deal about it, but she opened up about her experiences, too. I suddenly felt as though our hearts had been drawn together. As we worked together in our duty after that, we were able to fellowship together and make up for what the other lacked. The ideas in articles also became a lot clearer as we edited them and we worked very quickly. I then experienced that by not living by my corrupt disposition and working well with others, I was rewarded with God’s guidance and blessings.
One day during devotionals, I read this passage of God’s words: “If you really possess the truth within you, the path you walk will naturally be the correct path. Without the truth, it is easy to do evil, and you will do it despite yourself. For example, if arrogance and conceit existed within you, you would find it impossible to keep from defying God; you would feel compelled to defy Him. You would not do it on purpose; you would do it under the domination of your arrogant and conceited nature. Your arrogance and conceit would make you look down on God and see Him as being of no account; they would cause you to exalt yourself, constantly put yourself on display, and, finally, sit in God’s place and bear testimony for yourself. In the end, you would turn your own ideas, your own thinking, and your own notions into truths to be worshiped. See how much evil is done by people under the dominance of their arrogant and conceited nature! To resolve their evil acts, they must first resolve the problem of their nature. Without a change in disposition, it would not be possible to bring a fundamental resolution to this problem. When you have some understanding of God, when you can see your own corruption and recognize the contemptibility and ugliness of arrogance and conceit, you will then feel disgusted, sickened, and distressed. You will be able to consciously do some things to satisfy God and, in doing this, will feel at ease. You will be able to consciously bear witness for God and, in doing this, will feel enjoyment. You will consciously unmask yourself, exposing your own ugliness, and by doing this, you will feel good inside and feel yourself to be in an improved state of mind” (“Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks). God’s words showed me that my arrogant, conceited nature was the root cause of my resistance to God. Controlled by my arrogant nature, I always thought highly of myself. I felt like I was capable at work and understood more than anyone else, and so I always wanted to have the final say. When my sisters’ views differed from mine, I refused to accept them and beat my own ideas into their heads until they accepted them. When my sisters wanted to seek the truth and refer to writing study materials, I stood in their way and forced them to accept my views instead. Wasn’t I lording over them, controlling them, and standing the wrong place? Only God’s words are the truth and the principles for human conduct, and they are what we should obey and accept. But I didn’t let my sisters seek the principles of the truth or obey God, but instead made them do what I said, as though my words were the truth. I tried to replace the truth with my own views and opinions. Wasn’t I trying to set myself on a par with God? Satan abides by the logics “I am my own lord throughout heaven and earth” and “Let those who comply with me thrive and those who resist me perish.” It always wants to control mankind and replace God. I’d also been living by these satanic poisons, always wanting to be king of the hill, to rule and have the final say. I not only hurt my sisters, but I also damaged the church’s work. My satanic disposition was so terrible. I was walking the path of opposition to God and seriously offended His disposition! God’s righteous disposition came upon me. Without the Holy Spirit’s work, it was like I was blind, unable to understand any problem, achieving nothing in my duty. Faced with the facts, I could only lower my head and acknowledge that even if there were small successes in my duty, they had all been God’s doing. All I’d done was cooperate a little. But I didn’t know myself at all, and was blindly arrogant, ordering people about. I really had no self-knowledge at all. I felt so ashamed when I thought about that. I resolved to work well with others from then on, to no longer live by my arrogant disposition, to learn how to let myself go and take others’ suggestions more.
Once, when we were analyzing the train of thought in an article, Sister Zhang raised some ideas that had merit but once again I wanted her to do what I thought. Just as I was about to stress why my ideas were right, I suddenly realized I was revealing my arrogant disposition again and trying to make my sister do what I said. I thought about how I’d hurt my sisters and impacted my duty before because I’d been living by my arrogant disposition. I didn’t want to do that anymore, so I prayed and called on God in my heart. One of God’s fellowships came to mind just then. After God asked Adam to name all living things, God took those names and gave them to those living things. God’s words say, “God gave man intelligence and man used his God-given intelligence to do things. If what man does is positive in the eyes of God, then it is affirmed, acknowledged, and accepted by God without any judgment or criticism. This is something no person or evil spirit, or Satan, can do. Do you see a revelation of God’s disposition here? Would a human being, a corrupted person, or Satan permit anyone else to do something in their name, right under their nose? Of course not! Would they fight over this position with that other person or other force that is different from them? Of course they would! If it were a corrupted person or Satan who was with Adam at that time, they would have certainly repudiated what Adam was doing. To prove that they have the ability to think independently and have their own unique insights, they would have absolutely denied everything Adam did: ‘You want to call it this? Well, I’m not going to call it this, I’m going to call it that; you called it Tom but I’m going to call it Harry. I have to show how clever I am.’ What kind of nature is this? Is it not wildly arrogant? And what of God? Does He have such a disposition? Did God have any unusual objections to what Adam was doing? The answer is unequivocally no! Of the disposition God reveals, there is not the slightest hint of argumentativeness, arrogance, or self-righteousness. That much is clear here” (“God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself I” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I felt incredibly moved as I pondered God’s words. Adam named all living things and God approved what Adam had done without changing anything. Man uses his God-given intelligence to do positive things and God accepts these things and does not interfere. I saw that God is so humble and hidden, that He doesn’t show off at all. God’s essence is so beautiful and good! I, however, lowlier than a maggot, was just being arrogant, conceited, and flaunting my seniority. I always wanted to rule the team and make others do what I said—I was shameless! Getting back to what had happened just now, I saw clearly that Sister Zhang’s ideas had more merit than mine, but I still wanted to dismiss them and make her do what I wanted. I had become totally senseless in my arrogance! At this thought, I really hated myself and wanted to give myself a few hard slaps. I prayed silently to God, saying how I wanted to let go of myself and do what my sister suggested. So I said to the other sisters, “Sister Zhang’s ideas have merit and they’re better than mine. Let’s do what she suggests.” The other sisters approved of what I said. We later edited that article and, under God’s guidance, the work went smoothly and was soon finished. We all felt a great sense of release. Two sisters spoke to me afterward, saying, “You’ve changed. You don’t cling to your own ideas as much and can accept others’ suggestions.” When I heard them say this, I thanked God from the bottom of my heart!