Reflections After Losing an Election

January 18, 2022

By Lin Jing, China

A few years into my time as a believer I was elected to a leadership position. I was really grateful to God that I had been presented with such a great commission, and I was determined to do the church’s work well. I worked like a machine day in and day out, and the church’s work blossomed more and more thanks to God’s guidance. The brothers and sisters looked up to me to a certain degree, seeing my ability to make sacrifices and expend myself for God as well as resolve some practical problems. One time during a gathering I overheard my leader say that my approach to my duty bore fruit, and I was thrilled—this spurred me on even more. In meetings with coworkers I would talk up my work experience to the other brothers and sisters, and felt quite pleased with myself when I saw their looks of approval. I felt that I was an indispensable talent within the church.

As the gospel work expanded, the brothers and sisters recommended that I go to the southern region to support some newly-established churches there. It occurred to me that since those churches had just been set up there were sure to be quite a few difficulties and problems in the work, so it would be critical for me to focus more on practical work so as not to let down the hopes God had placed in me. Plus, I figured if I did a good job, I might even be cultivated for a more important position. Once I was there, even though there were plenty of challenges in my duty in aspects like dialects and lifestyles, as well as lots of time on the road and so on, I didn’t pull back. I was busy all day every day holding gatherings and arranging the churches’ work in an effort to do my duty well, even resenting the time “wasted” by eating—I’d just grab something I could eat on the bus on my way somewhere. After more than a year of this, there had been noticeable improvement in the areas of work I was responsible for, and Sister Zhang, who had come to the southern region for a duty at the same time as me, said to me admiringly, “You’re really getting some good results over there. My work can’t hold a candle to yours.” I consoled and encouraged her: “God is the Caretaker of His own work. As long as we put everything we’ve got into it, we’ll see progress in all aspects.” Those were the words on my lips, but I was secretly delighted. Since my responsibilities were coming along fairly well, Sister Xin, my leader, wrote to ask me to write out my work experience for the others to learn from. I became even more smug, feeling like I had already become a candidate to be trained for more important functions, and that I was one of the pillars of the churches. And then before long, Sister Xin asked us to elect another leader to work alongside her. I felt kind of excited to hear this, thinking that since I’d been working in the region for over a year and had been doing pretty well this whole time, I was a shoo-in for the post.

Then in a gathering half a month later, to my surprise, it was Sister Wang who was chosen as leader. When I heard the news, it was as if my heart sank into my stomach. I felt wronged, unwilling to concede, and was filled with complaints—these feelings all came to the fore. “How could it be Sister Wang?” I thought, “The results from her work have just been so-so. Why would she be the one chosen instead of me? Have I really not paid enough of a price? Or have I not taken enough initiative in my duty? I’ve worked into the dead of night on so many occasions to resolve difficulties and problems that arise in the church, and I’ve even gone into work sick countless times. I’ve not only taken care of my own responsibilities, but I’ve helped with the leader’s work. After suffering through all of this, if I can’t be chosen as leader, what sort of future do I have? Since this is the case, why bother continuing to kill myself to do my duty? Anyway, no matter how much hardship I suffer, how much of a price I pay, no one takes any notice …”

Sister Xin noticed I was looking pretty down after that gathering, and she asked me what I thought. I shared my state with her. Sister Xin very patiently said to me, “Well, the fact is that everyone can see how you throw yourself into your duty, but most brothers and sisters have reflected that you don’t focus on entry into life, and when something comes up, you hardly ever reflect on and know yourself to learn a lesson. Instead, you tend to elevate yourself and show off—this is your biggest problem. In God’s house, the truth and justice hold sway. When the brothers and sisters don’t choose us, that’s the righteousness of God and we should reflect upon ourselves. No matter what duty we’re performing, we must obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements; we must concentrate on seeking the truth within the environment that God has set up, reflect on our own corrupt dispositions, seek dispositional change, and do our duty well. Only this is in line with God’s will.” Sister Xin directly addressed my problem, but I was entirely devoid of self-knowledge. Though I didn’t say anything, I was silently in a huff. I acknowledged that I was lacking life entry and didn’t have great self-awareness, but I figured I was a lot better than those people who just talked about their understanding but didn’t throw themselves into their duty. I felt like they looked down on me, so no matter how hard I worked in my duty, what use would it be? I harbored this sort of contrary mentality from then on, and whenever Sister Xin asked me to help out with something, I’d just cherry-pick the relaxed, easier tasks to do, and fobbed off whatever was harder to accomplish, whatever required paying a price. I was no longer willing to take on that hardship. I gloated when I noticed Sister Xin encountering difficulties in her work, thinking, “Now you can see my value.” I wasn’t having any of it when Sister Wang, the newly-elected leader, came to hold gatherings with us. I even thought to myself, “Aren’t you a little older than me? Still, you’re no match for me in anything, from fellowship on the truth to resolving the church’s difficulties and problems.” With my desire for status unmet, I was overflowing with prejudice and discontent toward the leader; I was going through the motions in my duty, negative and resistant.

I was really numb and my heart was hardened at that time, and though the leader pruned and dealt with me, warned me, and offered me help, I never reflected upon myself. I carried on in that kind of negative state for about three months as the darkness in my spirit grew and grew. My fellowship was dull and dry in every gathering. I didn’t have any insight into others’ problems and couldn’t help resolve them. It was really awkward and the end of each gathering couldn’t come soon enough. I couldn’t help the people who were evangelizing with the issues they ran into, either, which meant progress in our gospel work slowed. It wasn’t long before I was faced with the discipline of ill health. One day I suddenly felt weak and limp all over and, unable to get a single breath, I fainted. The brothers and sisters sent me to the hospital for treatment. But I still stubbornly refused to reflect on myself and repent, and ultimately I was removed from my duty because I wasn’t doing any practical work. The leader arranged for me to go back to my hometown for devotionals and self-reflection. I sobbed bitterly when I got the news—I knew in my heart that I had lost the Holy Spirit’s work, and that losing my duty was God’s righteous disposition coming upon me, but thinking about how all the coworkers who had come to the south with me were all in important positions while I was being sent back home, I just felt humiliated.

Since I had been arrested a few years earlier and had a record there, it wasn’t safe for me to go back to my hometown, so the leader ended up sending me to the home of a brother who lived in a remote mountainous region. At night I would lie on a crude wooden bed thinking back on when I’d traveled south to perform my duty, overflowing with resolve, determined to do the church’s work well and be promoted to fill an important role. But instead, I had been removed from my duty for disrupting the church’s work. What would the brothers and sisters in my hometown think if they knew? Would they say I had been removed because I was derelict in my duty and couldn’t do practical work? The very thought of being looked down on by the others for losing my position threw me into turmoil, and I became more miserable the more I thought about it. Thoughts of death even came to me. I prayed, “God, I am really suffering. Losing my duty as a leader was like having my very life taken away from me. I know I shouldn’t pursue status, but I just can’t escape its shackles. Oh God! Please guide me so that I can know myself and understand Your will.” I read a couple of passages of God’s words after my prayer. Almighty God says, “As you walk the path of today, what is the most suitable kind of pursuit? In your pursuit, what kind of person should you see yourself as? It behooves you to get to know how you should approach all that befalls you today, be it trials or hardships, or merciless chastisement and cursing. Faced with all of these things, you should reflect carefully on them in every case. … You do not know how to adapt to your environment, and you are even less willing to try to do so, for you are unwilling to gain anything from this repeated—and, to you, cruel—chastisement. You make no attempt either to search or to explore, and, simply resigning yourself to your fate, go wherever it leads you. What may seem to you to be savage acts of chastening have not changed your heart, nor have they taken over your heart; instead, they stab you in the heart. You see this ‘cruel chastisement’ only as your enemy in this life, and so you have gained nothing. You are so self-righteous! Seldom do you believe that you suffer such trials on account of your own contemptibility; instead, you regard yourself as unfortunate, saying moreover that I am always finding fault with you. And now that things have arrived at this pass, how much do you really know about what I say and do? Do not think that you are a natural-born prodigy, only slightly lower than the heavens but infinitely higher than the earth. You are far from being smarter than anyone else—and, it could even be said that it is simply adorable how much sillier you are than any of the people on earth who are possessed of reason, for you think too highly of yourself, and have never had a sense of inferiority, as if you can see through My actions down to the tiniest detail. In point of fact, you are someone who is fundamentally lacking in reason, because you have no idea of what I intend to do, and you are even less aware of what I am doing now. And so I say that you are not even the equal of an old farmer toiling on the land, a farmer who has not the faintest perception of human life and yet puts all his reliance on the blessings of Heaven as he cultivates the land. You do not spare a second’s thought to your life, you know nothing of renown, and still less do you have any self-knowledge. You are so ‘above it all’!” (“Those Who Do Not Learn and Remain Ignorant: Are They Not Beasts?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “In your seeking, you have too many individual notions, hopes, and futures. The current work is in order to deal with your desire for status and your extravagant desires. Hopes, status, and notions are all classic representations of satanic disposition. … It is difficult for you to put aside your prospects and destiny. You are now followers, and you have gained some understanding of this stage of work. However, you have still not put aside your desire for status. When your status is high you seek well, but when your status is low you no longer seek. The blessings of status are always on your mind. Why is it that the majority of people cannot remove themselves from negativity? Is the answer not invariably because of bleak prospects? … The more you seek in this way, the less you will reap. The greater a person’s desire for status, the more seriously they will have to be dealt with and the more they will have to undergo great refinement. Such people are worthless! They must be dealt with and judged adequately in order for them to thoroughly let go of these things. If you pursue this way until the end, you will reap nothing. Those who do not pursue life cannot be transformed, and those who do not thirst for the truth cannot gain the truth. You do not focus on pursuing personal transformation and entry, but focus instead on extravagant desires and things that constrain your love for God and prevent you from drawing close to Him. Can those things transform you? Can they bring you into the kingdom?” (“Why Are You Unwilling to Be a Foil?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words of judgment went straight to the heart for me and exposed my personal state. I thought back on how, after I was elected to a leadership position and had some success in my work, I thought I was something special and one of the cornerstones of the church. I was constantly on the lookout for the day I’d have the chance to climb the ranks, to lead even more churches and be looked up to by even more brothers and sisters. When I didn’t get the name and position I wanted, I didn’t reflect upon myself, but was just overcome with discontent, lost in anger, feeling like all my efforts had come to naught. I was disciplined by a bout of ill health, but I remained unfeeling and hardened and didn’t turn toward God. I kept on brooding even after I was dismissed from my duty. I was simply dizzy with my ambition, my desire for status—it had stained my conscience and I had lost all proper reason, all humanity. Farmers who rely on Heaven as they cultivate the land know they are at the mercy of fate and they submit to the will of Heaven, but I was totally lacking self-awareness and couldn’t just obediently take my place and do my duty. Instead, I always wanted to step outside of the bounds that God had drawn for me and pursue greater status, to become a greater leader, and fulfill my ambition and desire to gain others’ admiration. Wasn’t that precisely the nature of the archangel? When the Lord Jesus came to the earth to work, He was humble and hidden, and never claimed the status that He could have. He dined with sinners and bent down to wash the disciples’ feet. And today God has once again become flesh and come to work on the earth, but He never calls Himself God or demands that people worship Him. Instead, He very quietly, unostentatiously expresses the truth and provides sustenance for people’s lives. But as for me, I was just dying to be admired by everyone because I had accomplished a bit in my work. I even boldly believed that I should be head and shoulders above the rest and that the leadership position was in the bag for me. I was thoroughly disgruntled when I wasn’t the one chosen; I became negative and contrary. I arrogantly lost all reason—I was so shameless! My behavior wasn’t me pitting myself against another human being, but it was going up against God. I was directly resisting God, and I had long since offended His disposition. Being dismissed was God’s righteous judgment of me, and it was in order to deal with my craving for status, or my unfeeling heart wouldn’t be roused.

Then I read another two passages of God’s words. “I will subject all those who provoked My anger to My punishment, I will rain down the entirety of My anger upon those beasts that once wished to stand beside Me as My equals yet did not worship or obey Me; the rod with which I strike man will fall upon those animals who once enjoyed My care and once enjoyed the mysteries that I spoke, and who once tried to take material enjoyments from Me. I will be forgiving of no person who tries to take My place; I will spare none of those who attempt to wrest food and clothes from Me. For now, you remain free from harm and continue to overreach in the demands you make of Me. When the day of wrath arrives, you will not make any more demands of Me; at that time, I will let you ‘enjoy’ yourselves to your heart’s content, I will force your face into the earth, and you will never be able to get up again!” (“To Have an Unchanged Disposition Is to Be in Enmity to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Having led a few churches, some people grow arrogant, they think that the house of God can’t do without them, that they should enjoy special treatment from God. People have the nature of Satan. The higher their status, the higher their demands of God. The more they understand of the doctrines, the more furtive and sneaky their demands are. Their mouths don’t say it, but it is hidden within their hearts, and is usually not easy to discover. In all likelihood, there will be a time when their complaints and resistance burst forth, and that’s even more troublesome. Why is it that the more people are religious leaders and figures, the more they are dangerous antichrists? Because the greater people’s status, the greater their ambition; the more they understand of the doctrines, the more arrogant their dispositions become. If, in your belief in God, you do not pursue the truth, and instead pursue status, then you’re in danger” (“People Make Too Many Demands of God” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). Reading these words from God showed me the essence and consequences of pursuing status, leaving me trembling with fear. When I achieved some things in my duty and was in charge of the work of a few churches, I forgot what my place was, audaciously coveting even greater prestige, hoping to manage more people and have more admire me and follow me. That, in essence, was me trying to wrest God’s chosen people away from Him and it was offensive to His disposition. This reminded me of the Age of Law, when the band of Korah and Dathan went against the leadership of Moses and tried to take his position; God split the earth asunder and they were entirely swallowed up. And there was the Age of Grace, when the Jewish Pharisees, chief priests, and scribes traveled all over the land and sea to make one proselyte, but when the Lord Jesus came to do the work of redemption, they protected their own positions with all of their might, resisting and condemning the Lord Jesus. Ultimately, they had Him nailed to the cross and suffered God’s damnation. Thinking through these things showed me that pursuing status is taking a path directly contrary to God—it is a path leading to hell and to annihilation. At that point I knelt down on the ground and wept bitterly as I prayed, “Oh God! I don’t want to make myself Your enemy any longer, but I only wish to reflect upon myself and be able to truly repent. No matter what sort of environment You arrange for me, all I want is to take the place of a created being and submit to You.”

After that I began to do my duty as best I could. The elderly brother hosting me took me to share the gospel with some of his relatives, and they asked lots and lots of questions throughout the course of my time with them, but I didn’t have a good understanding of the relevant truths. Seeing how much I was lacking was really embarrassing for me. I had gotten some work done and had some success in the past, so I’d started looking down on everyone, thinking that I would be trained for more important positions. But then I realized I couldn’t see myself clearly at all. The most important trait for a leader to possess is an understanding of the truth; leaders have to employ the truth to resolve problems, but I couldn’t even fellowship clearly on the most fundamental aspects of the truth for sharing the gospel. And yet I was constantly fighting for a leadership position—how absurd! When faced with brothers’ and sisters’ difficulties and problems, I used to just talk about the lofty theories and give them a bit of encouragement, but I never helped resolve their practical challenges in their life entry. I realized that if someone doesn’t possess the truth, they won’t be able to do practical work no matter how high they climb the ranks. They’ll just end up disrupting the work of the church and bringing harm to the lives of brothers and sisters. I also felt that God had placed me there to spread the gospel and guide newcomers so that I could become better equipped with the truth. This was a way to make up for my deficiencies. Once I understood God’s will, I became happy to submit and do my duty well within that environment, and to practice entering into the truth. After a period of hard work, I became equipped with all sorts of truths in the aspect of vision, and the local gospel work slowly became more and more vibrant. I was eating and drinking God’s words and singing hymns in praise of God with new believers every day. I felt really fulfilled and thanked God for His grace and mercy from the bottom of my heart.

Three years in that mountain region went by in the blink of an eye. Then one day, a torrential rain started as I was on my way home from a gathering—it was pouring, there was a fierce wind, and I could barely even push my bicycle along. Walking along that bumpy mountain road, it was raining so hard that I couldn’t even open my eyes, and it occurred to me that sharing the gospel in the mountains was really tough. I’d been doing my duty there for nearly three years and had learned some lessons, so why hadn’t I been transferred out? When other brothers and sisters were dismissed from a duty, once they had reflected on and come to know their corrupt dispositions, then repented and made some changes, they were given leadership positions again. I had been reflecting on myself all that time but I wasn’t even allowed to lead a small group. I had gained some understanding of myself, and with my attitude toward my duty and the truths I was equipped with, I figured I could lead a church at the very least. So why hadn’t I been transferred out? Was I just going to have to keep preaching the gospel in the mountains forever? This thought was somewhat deflating for me. When I got home, I realized that the whole way back I had been displaying personal grievances and misunderstandings, and I was once again adulating prestige within my heart. I called on God to protect my heart so that I could quiet myself before Him.

Shortly after that, I read these two passages of God’s words: “The biggest problem with man is that he thinks of nothing but his fate and prospects and idolizes these things. Man pursues God for the sake of his fate and prospects; he does not worship God because of his love for Him. And so, in the conquest of man, man’s selfishness, greed and the things that most obstruct his worship of God must all be dealt with and thereby eliminated. In doing so, the effects of man’s conquest will be achieved. As a result, in the first stages of the conquest of man it is necessary to purge the wild ambitions and most fatal weaknesses of man, and, through this, to reveal man’s love of God and change his knowledge of human life, his view of God, and the meaning of his existence. In this way, man’s love of God is cleansed, which is to say, man’s heart is conquered” (“Restoring the Normal Life of Man and Taking Him to a Wonderful Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “God creates an environment for you, forcing you to be refined there so that you can know your own corruption. Ultimately, you reach a point at which you would rather die and give up your schemes and desires, and submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangement. Therefore, if people do not have several years of refinement, if they do not endure a certain amount of suffering, they will not be able to rid themselves of the bondage of corruption of the flesh in their thoughts and in their hearts. In whichever aspects you are still subject to Satan’s bondage, and in whichever aspects you still have your own desires and your own demands, these are the aspects in which you should suffer. Only through suffering can lessons be learned, which means being able to gain truth, and understand God’s will” (“How One Should Satisfy God Amidst Trials” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). By reading God’s words, I saw that after being corrupted by Satan, everyone lives by its toxins, by things like “In all the universe, only I reign supreme,” “Man struggles upwards; water flows downwards,” “Man needs face just as a tree needs bark,” “A man must live boldly with backbone and resolve,” and so on. I had been living by those satanic poisons, chasing name and status. When I did gain brothers’ and sisters’ admiration, I was filled with motivation to do my work. But when I saw someone surpass me, when my status was compromised, I became jealous and recalcitrant. When I lost my position, I was negative and resistant and even stopped doing my duty. I didn’t give a second thought to the interests of God’s house. How was that having any sort of conscience or reason? That was Satan’s poison lodged deep within me. God saves people through judging, chastising, pruning, dealing with, testing, and refining them; this way, people’s erroneous thoughts, perspectives, and objects of pursuit can be changed, transforming their satanic dispositions. Then they no longer live by Satan’s poisons and become able to love and obey God, and can be gained by God. This is the goal of God’s work in mankind. God had placed me in that harsh mountain terrain where I didn’t have a chance to make a name for myself in order to expose and deal with my inner ambitiousness. It was to cleanse me of my satanic disposition and make me capable of living out a human likeness, so I could steadfastly do the duty of a created being, and truly worship and submit to God. This realization filled me with gratitude toward God and I resolved before Him to pursue the truth well, and to never again go after name and gain, utterly worthless things.

When things came up after that, I did still sometimes find myself thinking about name and gain, but I was able to seek the truth and turn my state around. I remember one time, the church assigned me to participate in the filming of a gospel video. I was really excited and felt really honored to have the chance to participate in the filming, and to serve as a witness for God’s work of the last days. But at the same time, my yearning to stand out from the crowd began stirring. I was thinking that the other brothers and sisters would definitely look up to me if they saw me acting in that gospel video. But when I went to the location, to my surprise, the leader there said to me, “Things are really hectic right now. Work with the brother who’s doing hosting duty to make the meals, and take care of the clean-up, too.” I felt really resistant to this. I thought that hosting duties were something any other brother or sister in the church could do—why me? Besides, I had served as a leader in both the north and the south. I couldn’t have any sort of leadership position, but shouldn’t I be given a duty that was fitting? I felt like, surprisingly, the others must think nothing of me to have me doing those sorts of odd jobs. Wasn’t that a waste of what I had to offer? This was really disappointing for me, but based on my previous experience, I knew that I should submit to it. I forced myself to accept the duty. Other brothers and sisters arrived there one after another for the filming, and I saw a number of them from my hometown were acting in it, while I was wearing an apron, cooking their meals and sweeping the floor. It felt humiliating. In one poignant moment, a younger brother saw me and said warmly, “When you were a leader you were in charge of our church’s work. I didn’t understand anything back then, but just liked going to gatherings. The gatherings you held for us were so helpful for me.” This perfectly casual statement from him was very grating on the ear for me—I felt like he was mocking me. My face started burning and I just wanted to find a hole to crawl into. There was another time when the brothers and sisters wrapped up filming really late, and the leader said filming would start again early the next morning. He told me to work overtime to get the rooms cleaned. Hearing this made me feel really uncomfortable and I thought, “All of you are tired and get to go rest, but I’m still cleaning in the middle of the night, as if I were some kind of servant.” I felt really wronged, seeing the others getting to take it easy after a day of hard work and already asleep, while I was there tidying up. I was really aggrieved, as if I were an unskilled laborer. I felt like I didn’t have a shred of dignity and I was better off sharing the gospel in the mountains, where at least new believers enjoyed my fellowship and my sense of pride could be satisfied. I didn’t have that there at all. After that, since I wasn’t in the proper state, I was making food in a daze, and every meal turned out either bitter and over-salted or bland and devoid of flavor. But no one said anything—they just ate it all the same. I felt really guilty—how could I make the food that way? How could they eat that? Just then a clear thought occurred to me: Wasn’t I just muddling through because my desire for status hadn’t been fulfilled, so my heart wasn’t in it? I pondered this and reflected on myself. I saw that that was it—I felt resistant and dissatisfied, because I felt like I had been devalued and didn’t have any prestige. I was still worshiping status.

At that time, I read two passages of God’s words. “In the past, Peter was crucified upside down for the sake of God; but you should satisfy God in the end, and exhaust all your energy for His sake. What can a created being do on behalf of God? You should therefore give yourself up to God, sooner rather than later, for Him to dispose of you as He wishes. As long as it makes God happy and pleased, then let Him do as He will with you. What right do men have to speak words of complaint?” (“Chapter 41” of Interpretations of the Mysteries of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “So, as I judge you thus today, what degree of understanding will you have in the end? You will say that although your status is not high, you have nonetheless enjoyed the elevation of God. Because you are of lowly birth you do not have status, but you gain status because God elevates you—this is something He bestowed upon you. … This is how you should pray: ‘Oh God! Whether I have status or not, I now understand myself. If my status is high it is because of Your elevation, and if it is low it is because of Your ordination. Everything is in Your hands. I have neither any choices, nor any complaints. You ordained that I would be born in this country and among this people, and all that I should do is to be completely obedient under Your dominion because everything is within what You have ordained. I do not give thought to status; after all, I am but a creature. If You place me in the bottomless pit, in the lake of fire and brimstone, I am nothing but a creature. If You use me, I am a creature. If You perfect me, I am yet a creature. If You do not perfect me, I will still love You because I am no more than a creature. I am nothing more than a minuscule creature created by the Lord of creation, just one among all created humans. It was You who created me, and now You have once again placed me in Your hands to do with me as You will. I am willing to be Your tool and Your foil because everything is what You have ordained. No one can change it. All things and all events are in Your hands.’ When the time comes that you will no longer give thought to status, then you will break free from it. Only then will you be able to confidently and boldly seek, and only then can your heart become free of any constraints. Once people have been extricated from these things, then they will have no more concerns” (“Why Are You Unwilling to Be a Foil?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). As I mulled over God’s words, a brightness came into my heart. Peter’s pursuit was to do the duty of a created being; he sought to love and satisfy God. His obedience toward God was absolute, and he followed God’s orchestrations. Ultimately, he was even crucified, serving as a resounding witness for God. As for me, God was doing so much work in me, and His will was to have me stay in my place and be an obedient created being, to pursue the truth, do my duty well, cast off my corrupt satanic disposition, and truly submit to God. This is what a created being should pursue.

The leader had arranged for me to take on these odd jobs because that was what needed to be done, so it was what I should do. It was just like having the children in a family make food and clean up—those are all household chores, and there’s no high or low status. But I looked down my nose at that duty, feeling like I was being downgraded, and my honor and prestige had been compromised. I was resentful and full of grievances, totally lacking obedience. I was so devoid of conscience and reason! These thoughts filled me with regret and disgust for myself. I prayed and confessed to God, willing to submit and do my duty well. Doing the cooking after that, I took the initiative to go to the kitchen to chop vegetables and wash dishes, pondering God’s words as I worked. I felt peace and joy within my soul. And when I was doing the cleaning, I no longer felt aggrieved, but felt even closer to God. I was able to be open and genuine with the brothers and sisters and share with them what I had learned from my duty. I felt from my heart that that was the only way to live with a bit of a human likeness.

Experiencing all of these things taught me on a very deep level that God’s judgment and chastisement of me is His salvation for me: It is all love. It was God’s judgment and chastisement that transformed my mistaken pursuits and perspectives and allowed me to be cleansed somewhat of my satanic disposition. The fact that I can steadfastly do my duty in the house of God today is entirely thanks to God’s judgment and chastisement of me. Thanks be to Almighty God!

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