Learning to Submit Through My Duty
By Novo, Philippines
In 2012, when I was working in Taiwan, I accepted’s work of the last days. Later, I learned I was one of the first people from the Philippines to accept it. I was excited, and I felt that I was blessed. After returning to the Philippines in 2014, I started preaching Almighty God’s kingdom gospel in my country. Soon, many Filipinos accepted God’s work of the last days. I was very happy, and I was proud that I could fulfill my duty of preaching the gospel. I thought preaching the gospel and testifying God was a special duty, that not everyone could do, because people need to understand some truth to fulfill this duty. Usually, when I met with my brothers and sisters, they envied me for being among the first in the Philippines to accept God’s work. They felt I was very lucky and admired me for being able to preach the gospel and testify God. When I saw how they envied and looked up to me, I always felt a sense of superiority, and I felt I deserved an important duty like preaching the gospel.
One day, I heard that the brother in charge of the church’s daily work and driving had to renew his driver’s license and couldn’t drive for the time being. Our leader knew I could drive and asked if I could temporarily take over that brother’s duty, drive and buy things for the church, and take over the church’s daily work. At that moment, I felt worried and agonized. I thought, “Why do you suddenly want me to drive? If I become a driver, what will my brothers and sisters think of me?” In my mind, preaching the gospel and testifying God was an important duty, one that could bring many people who yearn for God’s appearance before Him, but driving was just a daily job, an ordinary duty, one that was basically a chore that couldn’t testify God at all or make others look up to me. Anyone can do a simple chore, but not just anyone can preach the gospel and testify God. I felt very disappointed about being put in that position. I felt like the duty of driving wasn’t suitable for me. I couldn’t understand how this was happening to me, and I was worried that my leader would make me keep this duty. I had a lot of negative thoughts, I couldn’t obediently perform this duty, and I didn’t even want my brothers and sisters to know my duties had changed. The next day, some brothers and sisters greeted me and said, “I heard you are doing driving duties now?” Hearing them say this made me feel very ashamed and depressed. I didn’t want this duty at all. I thought I should be preaching the gospel, which could give me a good reputation. I didn’t want my brothers and sisters to look down on me. I felt aggrieved and disobedient, and I was full of negative thoughts, but outwardly I pretended not to mind. I didn’t want them to see my weakness and look down on me, so I answered them by saying, “These are God’s arrangements, and I am grateful to Him for them.” When I said that, I realized, although I knew the phrase “God has sovereignty over all things,” when God actually established an environment, I didn’t really admit His sovereignty. My words didn’t match my heart. Outwardly I was obedient, but I didn’t actually want to accept or obey the environment God created. I couldn’t help but think, “Why am I suddenly experiencing all this? Did the leader make a mistake in arranging for me to drive? This duty isn’t right for me at all. I should be preaching the gospel, how can I be a driver?” I felt really negative. I thought it must be because he felt I was unsuitable to preach the gospel, so he made me a driver. Because I felt driving only required my hands, didn’t require life entry or seeking principles of truth, and was only physical labor, I simply drove and bought things for the church as I was told. After some time passed, I gained no life entry, I was tired of it, and I found my driving duty less and less bearable.
One day, a brother who preached the gospel with me before called me and asked, “Brother, how are you doing recently? Are you used to your new duty? There’s some place we’d like to go. When will you have time to drive us?” Hearing that made me feel sad and embarrassed. I thought, “Maybe, to my brother, I’m just a driver with no status. He definitely looks down on me.” I felt very miserable and negative, and I had no motivation in my duties. I didn’t want to reador go to meetings, and I often wondered what my brothers and sisters thought of me. During that time, although I performed my duty and didn’t show any disobedience, I was in turmoil inside, and I couldn’t accept this duty. Although theoretically I knew, no matter what happens, I should fulfill my duties as a created being, I couldn’t escape my negative and passive state. Gradually, I no longer felt the work of the Holy Spirit, and my duty felt like a worldly job, clocking in, clocking out, and waiting for the day to pass. My heart was full of darkness and misery, I had no enlightenment of the Holy Spirit in meetings, and I always felt empty. I prayed to God, “God, I know my state is wrong, but when I drive and deliver things, I still care about what my brothers and sisters think of me. Please lead me so that I can obey and accept this duty.”
Later, I read some of God’s words. Almighty God says, “What is true submission? Whenever God does something that goes your way, and you feel that everything is satisfactory and proper, and you have been allowed to stand out, you feel this is quite glorious, and you say ‘thank God’ and can submit to His orchestration and arrangements. However, whenever you are assigned to an unremarkable place where you are never able to stand out, and in which no one ever acknowledges you, then you stop feeling happy and find it difficult to submit. … Submitting while conditions are favorable is usually easy. If you can also submit in adverse circumstances—those in which things do not go your way and your feelings get hurt, that make you weak, that make you suffer physically and take a blow to your reputation, that cannot satisfy your vanity and pride, and that make you suffer psychologically—then you have truly grown” (God’s Fellowship). God’s word revealed the corruption in my heart. I recalled how when I accepted God’s work of the last days, I prayed to God and said, “No matter what environment God arranges, or whether I encounter difficulties or experience great trials, I will accept and obey. No matter what happens, I will follow God.” But now, a real environment had come, but I couldn’t obey it. I suddenly realized that my obedience to God’s sovereignty and arrangement was merely words. At the beginning, when the church arranged for me to preach the gospel, I believed it took someone special to perform this duty, and the fact that I had such an important duty cast me in a good light. My brothers and sisters also complimented and looked up to me. I liked my duty very much, so I was very enthusiastic and worked very hard at that duty. But when the leader arranged for me to drive, I felt like I instantly went from being highly regarded by everyone to being a driver no one cares about, and it was very embarrassing. On top of that, I thought driving wasn’t very important, and no one looked up to it. If I performed this duty, my brothers and sisters wouldn’t look up to me like they used to, so from the bottom of my heart, I couldn’t accept this duty, I couldn’t obey God’s sovereignty and arrangements, and I even thought my leader’s arrangements were wrong. I took my dignity and status too seriously, and I was picky and treated my duties based on my preferences. I wanted a duty where I could show my face and be looked up to, not an inconspicuous and invisible duty. When the duty arranged for me didn’t make others look up to me, my heart was full of resistance and complaints. Outwardly, I didn’t oppose it, but inside, I couldn’t bring myself to obey, which caused me to lose the Holy Spirit’s work and live in darkness. From God’s word, I understood that if I wanted to become genuinely obedient to God and have real stature, I had to obey God’s arrangements, not only when the environment suited me, but more importantly, I had to obey when it didn’t. Even if I lost face or my brothers and sisters didn’t look up to me, I had to accept and obey.
Later, at a meeting, I openly fellowshiped on my state, and my brothers and sisters sent me a passage of God’s word that helped me understand the root of my disobedience. Almighty God says, “What does Satan use to keep man firmly within its control? (Fame and gain.) So, Satan uses fame and gain to control man’s thoughts, until all people can think of is fame and gain. They struggle for fame and gain, suffer hardships for fame and gain, endure humiliation for fame and gain, sacrifice everything they have for fame and gain, and they will make any judgment or decision for the sake of fame and gain. In this way, Satan binds people with invisible shackles, and they have neither the strength nor the courage to throw them off. They unknowingly bear these shackles and trudge ever onward with great difficulty. For the sake of this fame and gain, mankind shuns God and betrays Him and becomes increasingly wicked. In this way, therefore, one generation after another is destroyed in the midst of Satan’s fame and gain. Looking now at Satan’s actions, are its sinister motives not utterly detestable? Maybe today you still cannot see through Satan’s sinister motives because you think one cannot live without fame and gain. You think that if people leave fame and gain behind, they will no longer be able to see the way ahead, no longer be able to see their goals, that their futures will become dark, dim and gloomy. But, slowly, you will all one day recognize that fame and gain are monstrous shackles that Satan uses to bind man. When that day comes, you will thoroughly resist Satan’s control and thoroughly resist the shackles Satan uses to bind you. When the time comes that you wish to throw off all the things Satan has instilled in you, you will then make a clean break with Satan and you will truly loathe all that Satan has brought to you. Only then will mankind have a real love and yearning for God” (“God Himself, the Unique VI” in). I realized after contemplating God’s word that I couldn’t obey the duties that came to me because I felt they damaged my dignity and status, and this was harm caused by Satan. Satan uses fame and fortune to control people’s hearts. It makes people struggle and sacrifice everything for fame and fortune. I also unconsciously followed Satan’s philosophies in my life. I remembered how my parents taught me as a child to earn the respect and admiration of others, so even when I was young, I believed I should rise above others and be outstanding. Society and the media also promote these views, and I saw how some famous, wealthy, and high-status people enjoy better treatment than average people, so I was determined to get ahead and be admired by everyone. After I accepted God’s work in the last days, I still lived by these viewpoints, I performed my duties without focusing on seeking God’s will or pursuing the truth, and I mistakenly thought doing an important duty like preaching the gospel was the only way to earn admiration and respect from others. I thought no one appreciates the duties of those who do labor. I thought of duties as better or worse, and I wanted to do whatever duty would let me stand out. When my leader arranged for me to drive based on our work needs, from deep in my heart, I couldn’t accept or obey, and I felt I was fit to preach the gospel, but not for the duty of driving. I was only concerned with my image and status, but I didn’t seek God’s will, and I didn’t consider the needs of church work. I was so selfish and despicable! Wanting to continue my duty of preaching the gospel wasn’t actually being considerate of God’s will. I simply wanted the duty as a springboard for me to earn everyone’s admiration. I wanted to use my duty to show off and make people look up to me so that I could get fame and fortune and enjoy the honor it brought to me. When the leader arranged this duty for me, my ambition to be highly regarded was shattered, so I passively shrank away and even lacked energy to perform my duty. I saw how these satanic thoughts and opinions took root in my heart and had already become my nature. They controlled what I said and did and how I treated my duties, caused me to rebel against and resist God. My pursuit of fame and fortune had made me lose all reason. I thought of how some brothers and sisters had worldly status and many people supporting them, but after they believed in God and took up their duties, they were able to let go of their reputation and status and no matter what the church arranged, even in humble duties, they could accept and obey. Compared to them, I felt ashamed. I wasn’t a true believer in God. I didn’t have a place for God in my heart or even the most basic obedience to God. Now I realized how shameless and despicable it was to pursue fame and fortune. If I kept pursuing like this, I would never understand the truth, and sooner or later, I would be eliminated.
After that, I read some of God’s words. Almighty God says, “Entering into the reality of the truth is not a simple matter. The key is to focus on seeking the truth and putting the truth into practice. You have to hold these things in your heart every day. Regardless of what problems you face, do not always protect your own interests; rather, learn to seek the truth and self-reflect. No matter what corruptions are revealed in you, you cannot let them go unchecked; it is best if you can reflect upon and recognize your corrupt essence. If, in everyday situations, your thoughts dwell on how to resolve your corrupt disposition, how to practice the truth, and what the principles of the truth are, then you are capable of learning how to use the truth to resolve your problems in accordance with God’s words. In doing so, you will achieve changes in disposition, and thus gradually enter the reality of the truth. If your mind is filled with thoughts of how to attain a higher position, of how to act in front of others, of how to get them to admire you, then you are on the wrong path. It means you are doing things for Satan; you are rendering service. If your mind is filled with thoughts of how to change so that you will be more and more like a human, be in line with God’s intentions, be capable of submitting to Him and revering Him, and show restraint and accept His scrutiny in everything you do, then your condition will get better and better. This is what it means to be one who lives before God. As such, there are two paths: One merely emphasizes behavior, fulfilling one’s own ambitions, desires, intents, and plans; this is living before Satan and living under its domain. The other path emphasizes how to satisfy God’s will, enter the reality of the truth, submit to God, and have no misconceptions or disobedience toward Him, so that one reveres God and performs one’s duty well. This is someone who always lives before God” (“Only by Practicing the Truth Can One Possess Normal Humanity” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). After reading God’s word, I realized, if I wanted to gain the truth and escape corruption, I needed to stop pursuing the wrong goal. Regardless of whether I could show off or be admired by others in my duty, I should accept my duty and perform it loyally. This is the attitude towards duty and the reason that created beings should have. If I performed my duties just to earn the respect of my brothers and sisters, this means I would be working in Satan’s service, because Satan makes people pursue fame, fortune, and status, depart from God, and betray God. If I didn’t change my goal of pursuing fame and fortune, or change my corrupt disposition, then in the end, I could only be eliminated. Pursuing the truth and dispositional change, accepting God’s arrangements, forsaking my thoughts of pursuing fame and fortune, acting according to God’s requirements, and doing my own duties well was the only way to live before God, and these pursuits were the only way to change my corrupt dispositions. Once I understood this, I had a direction. I knew I had to pursue the truth in my belief in God and in my duties, and I became willing to accept my duties. No matter whether people looked up to me, I had to perform my duties as best I could.
After that, I read another passage of God’s word. Almighty God says, “Today, when you perform a duty in the house of God, whether it be big or small, whether it involves physical labor or using your brain, whether it is done outside or inside the church, the duty you perform is no accident; this is not your choice, it is directed by God. It is only because of God’s commission that you are moved, and have this sense of mission and responsibility, and are able to perform this duty. Among the unbelievers, there are many who are attractive, intelligent, or capable. But does God favor them? (No.) God only favors you, this group of people. He makes you undertake every kind of role, carry out every kind of duty and responsibility in His work of management, and when, ultimately, God’s management plan comes to an end and is completed, what a glory and honor this will be! And so when, whilst performing their duty today, people suffer a little hardship, when they have to give things up and expend themselves, when they pay a price, when they lose status, fame and fortune in the world, it seems as if God has taken those things away from them—but they have gained something bigger and better. What have they gained from God? Only when you have performed your duty well, when you have completed God’s commission for you, when you live your whole life for your mission and commission, and you live a worthwhile life—only then are you a real person! And why do I say you are a real person? Because God has chosen you, He has allowed you to perform the duty of a creature of God in His management, and there can be no greater value or meaning to your life” (“The Principles of Practice Concerning Submission to God” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). “If you wish to be devoted in everything you do to meet God’s will, you cannot merely perform one duty; you must accept any commission God bestows upon you. Whether or not it corresponds to your tastes and falls within your interests, or is something you do not enjoy or have never done before, or is something difficult, you still should accept it and submit. Not only must you accept it, but you must proactively cooperate, and learn about it and attain entry. Even if you suffer and have not been able to stand out and shine, you must still commit your devotion. You must regard it as your duty to fulfill; not as personal business, but as your duty. How should people understand their duties? It is when the Creator—God—gives someone a task to do, and at that point, that person’s duty arises. The tasks God gives to you, the commissions God gives to you—these are your duties. When you pursue them as your goals, and you truly have a God-loving heart, can you still make a refusal? (No.) This is not a matter of whether you can or not—you should not refuse them. You should accept them. This is the path of practice. What is the path of practice? (To be utterly devoted in all things.) Be devoted in all things to meet God’s will. Wherein lies the focal point here? It is ‘in all things.’ ‘All things’ does not necessarily mean things that you like or are good at, much less things with which you are familiar. Sometimes you are not good at something, sometimes you need to learn, sometimes you will encounter difficulties, and sometimes you must suffer. However, regardless of what task it is, as long as it is commissioned by God, you must accept it from Him, regard it as your duty, be devoted to fulfilling it, and meet God’s will: This is the path of practice. No matter what happens to you, you must always seek the truth and once you are certain what sort of practice is in line with God’s will, you should practice it. Only acting in this way is practicing the truth, and only acting in this way is entering the reality of the truth” (“People Can Only Truly Be Happy by Being Honest” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). After reading God’s word, I realized that no duty comes to me by accident, nor is it arranged by any one person. They come from God’s sovereignty and determination. Although driving wasn’t a duty I liked or was interested in, it was arranged for me based on the needs of church work, so I couldn’t follow my own preferences. Even if it caused me to suffer or not be admired, I had no reason to refuse it. I should do the wise thing and obey because this duty comes from God. God gave me a duty, which means He gave me a responsibility and a mission, so no matter how difficult, I should perform my duty wholeheartedly, do my duty as a created being, and fulfill God’s commission. Living this way is significant and not in vain. Before, I was hypnotized by fame and fortune, I didn’t understand God’s sovereignty, so I couldn’t treat my duty correctly and I viewed duties as better and worse. The truth is that no duty is better or worse in God’s house, we simply perform different functions. Both preaching the gospel and driving a car are necessary parts of church work. No matter what duty we perform in God’s house, God wants us to pursue life entry. If I performed my duties to be admired and gain fame and fortune, I wouldn’t be fulfilling the duty of a created being, I would be scheming for my own ends. Even if I was admired by other people, God wouldn’t approve. When my leader arranged my duty as a driver, although I had no status among people and it was a bit tiring, this environment taught me to obey, helped me understand the truth, and gradually allowed me to let go of my desire for fame and fortune. This was God’s salvation for me. Actually, once I thought about it, in driving to handle church affairs, I encountered various things involving considerations of the interests of God’s house, all of which required seeking the truth and acting according to principles. Wasn’t this a good chance for me to practice the truth and fulfill my duty to satisfy God? Once I realized this, I prayed to God, “God, please forgive my ignorance. I let You down in many things. From now on, I will leave everything to Your arrangements, accept Your observation, and perform my duties with a heart full of love for You.” After I prayed, I felt a sense of release, and I had the confidence to properly perform my duty.
Once, I drove my brothers and sisters out to buy things for the church. I watched them choose the goods very carefully, comparing prices and quality so that the interests of God’s family didn’t suffer. I thought back on how, since I started driving, because my desire to be looked up to wasn’t satisfied, I had the wrong attitude towards my duty. I simply did whatever was arranged each day, never gave it serious thought, and never considered how to perform the duty well. When I shopped, I rarely sought high quality and low price, I just bought what seemed good enough. I almost never shopped so carefully. I really didn’t put my heart into it. I didn’t want to be a service-doer anymore. Later, I no longer worried about whether I was looked up to by others in my duties. Instead, I thought seriously about my duties and the church’s interests, and I was also careful and deliberate when I bought things for the church. When I performed my duties that way, I felt at peace, and it wasn’t tiring anymore. I gained a lot from my experience, and I understood that God gave me a duty that I didn’t like to make me to reflect and realize that my pursuit of reputation and status is wrong. He was leading me down the path of pursuing the truth. This was all God’s love for me. I experienced God’s good intentions and saw that no matter how God arranges things, even when they don’t fit my notions, they are all beneficial for my life. I could no longer rebel against God. I had to become obedient to God to satisfy Him.
Not long afterwards, my brother got a new driver’s license and came back to continue driving, and the leader arranged for me to handle general affairs. When I got the news, I thought, “This time, I can’t let my preferences dictate how I treat my duties. I should accept and obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements. I know this is another chance God has given me to practice, to perfect me through His word and work, and to allow me to experience and practice His words in different duties.” With my previous experience, I had no more negative thoughts in my new duty, I no longer looked down on my duty, and I no longer sought to be admired by others. Instead, I performed my duty in a down-to-earth manner and tried to satisfy God’s will. I read some of God’s words. Almighty God says, “For all who fulfill their duty, however profound or shallow their understanding of the truth, the simplest way of practice by which to enter the reality of the truth is to think of the interests of God’s house in everything, and to let go of selfish desires, individual intentions, motives, reputation, and status. Put the interests of God’s house first—this is the least one should do. If a person performing his duty cannot do even this much, then how can he be said to be performing his duty? This is not performing one’s duty. You should first consider the interests of God’s house, consider God’s own interests, and consider His work, and put these considerations first and foremost; only after that can you think about the stability of your status or how others see you. Do you not feel that it gets a little easier when you divide it into these steps and make some compromises? If you do this for a while, you will come to feel that satisfying God is not difficult. In addition, you should be able to fulfill your responsibilities, perform your obligations and duties, set aside your selfish desires, set aside your own intents and motives, have consideration for God’s will, and put the interests of God and His house first. After experiencing this for a while, you will feel that this is a good way to live. It is living straightforwardly and honestly, without being a base person or a good-for-nothing, and living justly and honorably rather than being narrow-minded or mean. You will feel that this is how a person should live and act. Gradually, the desire within your heart to gratify your own interests will lessen” (“Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). God’s word brightened my heart. When we fulfill our duties, we should accept God’s observation, let go of our desires, offer up our sincere hearts, do things for the benefit of God’s house, and do our best in everything we ought to do. This is fulfilling the duty of a created being, living in an upright manner, and doing what people are meant to do. When I practiced like this, I felt very steadfast and at ease. I’m very happy in my duty now, and I’ve gained a lot. I know that without being exposed by the facts, and the judgment of God’s word, I wouldn’t recognize my own corruption. To deal with my corruption, rebellion, and mistaken views on pursuit, God put me in an environment I didn’t like to allow me to know myself, and to make me understand what kind of attitude and viewpoints towards duties are in line with God’s will. After experiencing this, I also realized, the duty I perform is arranged by God, and it is based on my needs in terms of life entry, so I should accept and obey, perform my duties with my whole heart and mind, pursue the truth while performing my duties, and become someone who truly obeys God and earns God’s approval.