Reflections on Craving Status

February 7, 2023

By Jianchi, South Korea

This was in 2019, when I was selected as a church leader. At the time, I was mainly supervising video production. Learning from a couple team leaders, I gradually mastered some principles of production and developed my own perspective. During discussions, some points I raised would garner everyone’s approval. As the videos we produced got better and better, brothers and sisters from other churches would come to learn from us. I felt a great sense of accomplishment, thinking: “Not only can I handle church work, I can also identify problems in video production. If something stumps people in the church, they often seek my advice. Overall, I think I’m a qualified leader.”

Later, the brother I partnered with couldn’t handle the work and was reassigned, and Sister Lisa became my new partner. I started making calculations: Lisa gave more insightful fellowship than me, but I had been working on video production longer and had more experience. She couldn’t match my skills and was a bit laid back in her words and actions. Overall, I still had the advantage, and I would mainly guide the way in our work. But as Lisa gradually became more familiar with the church’s work, she became more effective in her fellowship and in resolving issues. The brothers and sisters started going to her with all their questions, and I was no longer the only standout in the church. When I saw that Lisa was diligent and responsible in her work and gave more practical fellowship of God’s words than me, I unconsciously began to feel threatened. And especially when I noticed that the team leaders often approved of her ideas, I became even more jealous. If things kept going that way, she would steal the limelight from me sooner or later, and I would become more and more insignificant. That wouldn’t do, I thought. I had to find a way to outdo her.

After that, when we discussed work with the team leaders, I’d make sure to be the first to share my ideas. One time, when we were discussing an issue with a video, I offered my advice, but the others didn’t think it was an issue of principle and so they shot down my idea and changed the subject. I felt a bit humiliated. I had a good idea, so why couldn’t I get my point across? I choked at the most crucial moment. I showed I wasn’t at Lisa’s level by outsmarting myself. As Lisa offered her fellowship, I felt like I had completely lost all face, and I became even more jealous. One time, after a discussion, a team leader came to me privately and said: “You seem a bit flustered these days. You’ve been rushing to get the first word before understanding what’s being discussed, and it’s been disrupting our thought process. Then we have to explain everything for you again, and that delays our work progress. You need to reflect on this.” I was incredibly disheartened to hear this. In the past, most of my ideas were approved in discussions with team leaders. But ever since Lisa arrived, my status among the others had gradually diminished, no one cared about what I had to say and I had even been disrupting church work. How could I even show my face? Not only did I not reflect, I put all the blame on Lisa. For several days, I sulked about it and felt more and more depressed, and I was less and less effective in my work. One time, an upper leader came to tell me that part of the work I used to supervise would be reassigned to Lisa. I was not happy about it, but I didn’t say anything. I thought: “After this reassignment, Lisa clearly will be supervising the majority of the church’s work and I’ll be an assistant. Will the others think the work was reassigned because I couldn’t handle it? I used to preside over and be a part of all the church’s work, but now Lisa has stolen all of my limelight. As long as she’s here, I’ll continue to be sidelined.” The more I thought about it, the worse I felt and I left the office feeling heavy-hearted. After returning to the dorm, I lay slack on my bed, unable to accept this new reality. Lisa’s caliber and work ability were no better than mine. I had also supervised video work for a long time and had experience, so why was she getting the best of me? I couldn’t be suppressed like that. I had to wrest back my reputation and status no matter what! From then onward, I kept waiting for Lisa to mess up so I could fight my way back in. One time, Lisa didn’t contact me when she went to discuss work with team leaders, and work was initiated without my knowing. I seized the opportunity to launch a passive-aggressive attack on her arbitrary actions, venting all of my pent-up frustration. I said I was a mere figurehead and no longer had any say in the team leaders’ work. As I spoke, Lisa became visibly red in the face. Despite using the opportunity to vent my frustrations, I still felt very dark and depressed inside. Our leader launched a project around then, but for several reasons, little progress was made on it. In reality, I had plenty of time to help with the project, but I thought: “Lisa is the main supervisor for this project, so even if it is done well, I won’t get any credit for it. I might as well let Lisa do it. It will be even better if she fails—that way people will lose respect for her.” During that time I was constantly vying for reputation and personal gain. I didn’t bear any burden in the church’s work and just went through the motions. I couldn’t resolve issues in the work either, and more and more problems cropped up in my work. Faced with this, I didn’t reflect on myself and just became increasingly exasperated. I would often fixate on others’ faults and blow up on them, disrupting the work. When the upper leader found out, she fellowshiped with me and exposed my issue. But inwardly, I protested: “I’m not the only one responsible for the work failing to get results. Why am I being singled out?” I didn’t have any awareness of myself at the time, and placed all the blame on Lisa. I also blamed the team leaders for not acting on principle. After I failed to accept the leader’s repeated fellowship and wasn’t doing practical work, she dismissed me. After being dismissed, I felt hollowed out inside, anguished and dejected. So I prayed to God, asking Him to guide me to learn from this situation.

Later on, I read two passages of God’s words that gave me some self-knowledge. Almighty God says, “And what is the antichrists’ trademark saying in any group? It is this: ‘I must compete! Compete! Compete!’ In fact, such people don’t necessarily want to gain the highest status or have a great degree of control over people, it’s just that inside, they have a certain disposition, a certain mentality, that instructs them to do so. What is this mentality? It is ‘I must compete! Compete! Compete!’ Why three ‘competes,’ why not a single ‘compete’? (Competition has become their life, it is what they live by.) This is their disposition. They were born with a disposition that is wildly arrogant and difficult to contain. They see themselves as second to none and they are extremely conceited. No one can curtail this incredibly arrogant disposition of theirs; they themselves cannot control it. So their life is all about fighting and competing. What do they fight and compete for? Naturally, they compete for prestige, status, respect, and their own interests. No matter what methods they have to use, so long as everyone submits to them, and so long as they obtain benefits and status for themselves, they have achieved their goal. Their will to compete is not a temporary amusement; it is a kind of disposition that comes from a satanic nature. It is like the disposition of the great red dragon that fights with Heaven, fights with the earth, and fights with people. Now, when antichrists fight and compete with others in the church, what do they want? Without a doubt, they are competing for prestige and status. But if they gain status, what use is it to them? What good is it to them if others listen to, admire, and worship them? Antichrists themselves cannot even explain this. In reality, they like to enjoy prestige and status, to have everyone smile at them, and to be greeted with flattering and fawning. So, every time an antichrist goes to a church, they do one thing: fight and compete with others. Even if they win power and status, they are not done. To protect their status and secure their power, they continue to fight and compete with others. They will do this until they die. So, the philosophy of antichrists is, ‘As long as you are alive, do not stop fighting.’ If an evil person like this exists within the church, will it disturb the brothers and sisters? For example, if everyone is quietly eating and drinking the words of God and fellowshiping on the truth, the atmosphere will be peaceful and the mood pleasant. At this time, an antichrist will fly into a rage. They will become jealous of those fellowshiping on the truth and hate them. They will begin to attack and make judgments of them. Will this not disturb the peaceful atmosphere? They are an evil person who has come to disturb and disgust others. That is what antichrists are like. Sometimes, antichrists are not seeking to destroy or defeat those that they compete with and suppress; as long as they attain prestige, status, pride, and respect, and make people admire them, they have achieved their goal(The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Three)). “The more you struggle, the more darkness will surround you, and the more jealousy and hatred you will feel, and your desire to obtain will only grow stronger. The stronger your desire to obtain, the less capable you will be to do so, and as you can’t obtain, your hatred will increase. As your hatred increases, you will grow darker inside. The darker you are inside, the more poorly you will perform your duty; the more poorly you perform your duty, the less useful to the house of God you will be. This is an interlinked, vicious cycle. If you can never perform your duty well, then, gradually, you will be cast out(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Freedom and Liberation Can Be Gained Only by Casting Off One’s Corrupt Disposition). Thinking over God’s words, I saw that my vying for reputation and gain was just like the antichrist disposition that God has exposed. Ever since I saw that Lisa was getting better results than me and had gained the brothers’ and sisters’ respect, a silent urge simmered within me to prove she wasn’t better than me, that she wouldn’t outdo me. All I could think about was how to turn the tables on her. When discussing work, I’d cut in to express my views, just wanting to distinguish myself and outshine Lisa, without giving the slightest thought to whether this would impact our work. And when the upper leader reassigned some of my work to Lisa, I became even more jealous, thinking that she’d stolen the limelight from me. Then, my malicious intentions began to surface—I started looking for opportunities to seize on Lisa’s aberrations and oversights and vent my inner frustrations to achieve my goals, no matter how much harm I brought to her. When a certain project wasn’t progressing, despite clearly seeing where the problems lay and having time to help, I didn’t feel like bothering with them, knowing that Lisa was supervising. I even hoped that she’d fail and lose face. I saw that I had too much desire for reputation and status, was being unkind, and wasn’t protecting the church’s work at all. I was vying for reputation and gain, always trying to outdo others, and not putting any thought into my duty. The work I supervised had virtually ground to a halt and I’d descended into darkness. This “vying” had got me caught up in a vicious cycle. Just as God says, “If you can never perform your duty well, then, gradually, you will be cast out.” I plunged the church’s work into chaos and didn’t even think to reflect on myself. If I continued on like that, who knows what disruptive behavior I might be capable of. At worst, I might even be cast out. Thankfully, I was dismissed before I stooped to committing evil. This was God giving me a chance to self-reflect and know myself, and dealing with my desire for reputation and status. I realized that this was God’s salvation and His way of protecting me. I gave thanks to God and my state greatly improved. I made a personal resolution to do my duty practically and stop vying for reputation and gains.

After that, I was much more low-key in my duty. Even when I was assigned general work and had to do some unremarkable, odd jobs, I was willing to submit, knowing that since God gave me this chance to repent, I should do my duty practically. Soon after, a new video project was launched and to my surprise, everyone selected me to produce it. I cherished the opportunity and diligently researched and sought relevant principles. After some time, the video started coming together, and, seeing how it came out, I was feeling quite pleased with myself. My desire for name and status flared up again. I thought: “I might have been dismissed as leader, but a talented person’s day always comes. I’ve got to seize this opportunity to put my strengths to play and prove my talent.” I reasoned: “Lisa might be better than me at fellowshiping the truth and resolving issues, but I have the upper hand when it comes to professional skills. As long as I put in the time and produce this video well, everyone will see my improvement and I might be selected as leader again and outdo Lisa.”

One day, I heard that work progress was going slowly, and people had been pruned by the leader due to videos violating principle. Hearing this, I felt a bit of schadenfreude. “You see, video production work hasn’t improved since I was dismissed. It’s worse than before. Before, I could spot problems and provide ideas, so it’s better if they don’t make any progress. They can see that it wasn’t just me not doing my job well, but Lisa as well.” Later, I heard that Lisa had been in a bad state recently—her fellowship at gatherings lacked any light, and the others were wracked with issues and had become negative. I thought to myself: “If this keeps up, maybe a serious issue will come up in the video work and Lisa will be dismissed. Maybe then I’ll be selected as leader and can continue supervising this work.” So I kept working on the video, while also keeping close tabs on Lisa’s situation. When I heard that Lisa had learned from being dealt with and pruned, her state had improved, the brothers and sisters had grasped certain principles through failure and setbacks and were getting better results, I felt a bit disappointed and depressed. Especially when in a gathering, Lisa fellowshiped on what she’d gained and experienced through all this, and got everyone’s approval, I became even more displeased. Jealous and hateful thoughts welled up in me. I felt like there was no hope for my comeback. After that, I couldn’t get motivated and became absent-minded while producing the video. A few days later, the video was done. But to my surprise, my leader noticed a big problem with it during her review, assigned someone else to edit it and didn’t assign me any more duties. I was completely taken off guard. Without video production, the one thing I could show off had been taken away. While all the other brothers and sisters were busy with their duties, I had nothing to do, and stuck out like a sore thumb. I felt truly awful—I was lonely, depressed and agonized, and wracked by suffering. I tearfully prayed to God: “Dear God, I know it is through Your righteousness that I’m faced with this situation. After being dismissed, I didn’t truly self-reflect and know myself, instead just looking for ways to make a comeback and distinguish myself. I’ve been malicious and arrogant and have made You disgusted. Now I can’t perform any duty and have become a freeloader in the church. Oh God, I don’t want to vie for reputation and gain anymore. Please enlighten me and allow me to gain true knowledge of myself so that I may despise and forsake myself and stop going back to my old ways.”

After that, I came across another passage of God’s words: “The antichrists consider their own status and reputation as more important than anything else. These people are not only devious, conniving, and wicked, but also extremely vicious. What do they do when they detect that their status is at risk, or when they have lost their place in people’s hearts, when they lose these people’s endorsement and affection, when people no longer venerate and look up to them, and they have fallen into ignominy? They suddenly change. As soon as they lose their status, they become unwilling to perform any duty, everything they do is shoddy, and they have no interest in doing anything. But this isn’t the worst manifestation. What is the worst manifestation? As soon as these people lose their status, and no one looks up to them, and no one is inveigled by them, out comes the hate, jealousy, and revenge. They not only have no fear of God, but also lack any shred of obedience. In their hearts, furthermore, they are liable to hate God’s house, the church, and the leaders and workers; they long for the work of the church to run into problems or come to a standstill; they want to laugh at the church, and at the brothers and sisters. They also hate anyone who pursues the truth and fears God. They attack and mock anyone who is faithful in their duty and willing to pay a price. This is the disposition of the antichrists—and is it not vicious? These are clearly evil people; antichrists are in their essence evil people. Even when gatherings are held online, if they see that the signal is good, they quietly curse and say to themselves: ‘I hope the signal drops! I hope the signal drops! It is better if no one can hear the sermons!’ What are these people? (Devils.) They are devils! They are definitely not the people of God’s house(The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Two)). God exposes how an antichrist’s nature is vicious. As soon as they lose their status and others’ support, not only do they start going through the motions in their duties, they also become hateful, jealous and vindictive, longing for problems to arise in the church’s work so that they can laugh in spite at God’s house and the others. I saw that my own behaviors were just like what God revealed. After being dismissed and losing my status, I became jealous and vindictive. When I heard that issues arose in the work Lisa was supervising and she was dealt with, I secretly rejoiced, and couldn’t wait for a serious problem to arise that would get Lisa dismissed so that I could replace her. When I heard that Lisa’s state had improved, the others had learned something, and the church’s work had made a favorable turn, I became depressed. I was acting just like an antichrist. Only antichrists and the devil Satan hate God and the truth, hoping that church work will grind to a halt, everyone will become negative and lose God’s salvation, and ultimately descend into hell with them. Despite being a member of the church who had received so much of the sustenance of God’s words, I sought reputation and status instead of the truth, disrupted the church’s work and failed to repent. And because my lust for status hadn’t been satisfied, I hoped issues would arise in church work so Lisa wouldn’t look better than me. These were toxic and despicable thoughts. The people of God’s house should be of one heart with God. Seeing more people seek the truth, do their duties well and heed God’s will, they feel happy. When the church’s work is impeded, they take a stand to maintain the work. But as for me, I saw issues arise in video production and the others become passive, but I didn’t help them resolve their issues and even had a laugh at them in spite. When their states improved and video production work started picking up, I actually felt unhappy. My thoughts were truly toxic. I wasn’t protecting the church’s work at all and was not worthy of God’s house. How shameless was I to think I should be made leader?

Later, I read another passage of God’s words that helped me understand my satanic disposition. Almighty God says, “Let no person think of themselves as perfect, or distinguished and noble, or distinct from others; all this is brought about by man’s arrogant disposition and ignorance. Always to think oneself distinctive—this is caused by an arrogant disposition; never being able to accept their shortcomings, and never being able to confront their mistakes and failures—this is caused by an arrogant disposition; never permitting others to be higher than oneself, or to be better than oneself—this is caused by an arrogant disposition; never permitting others to be superior or stronger than them—this is caused by an arrogant disposition; never permitting others to have better thoughts, suggestions, and views than oneself, and, when they do, becoming negative, not wishing to speak, feeling distressed and dejected, and becoming upset—all of this is caused by an arrogant disposition. An arrogant disposition can make you protect your reputation, unable to accept others’ guidance, unable to confront your own shortcomings, and unable to accept your own failures and mistakes. More than that, when someone is better than you, it can cause hatred and jealousy to arise in your heart, and you can feel constrained, such that you do not wish to do your duty and become slipshod in performing it. An arrogant disposition can cause these behaviors and practices to arise in you(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Principles That Should Guide One’s Conduct). I reflected on myself in light of God’s words: The reason I was always trying to compete with Lisa was because I didn’t have a true understanding of my arrogant disposition, and didn’t know what I was really made of. All along, I had believed I was competent and had abundant experience. I was proud of this and felt I was stronger than Lisa in these areas. I thought these qualifications would be enough to do the work well, so when Lisa got better results than me in her duty, and the upper leader reassigned some of my duties to her, I got upset, thinking she wasn’t any better than me. I even wanted to make a comeback after being dismissed. Thinking back, I saw I was just a little bit more familiar with and experienced in the work, and could provide advice on video production, but that didn’t mean I was cut out to be a leader. A leader’s core job is to guide others in eating and drinking God’s words and entering into the truth, and resolve all problems that crop up in the church to ensure the normal flow of church work. But, as a leader, I didn’t resolve practical issues. When the team leaders were disagreeing, often argued and no one would back down, I didn’t know how to fellowship the truth to resolve the issue and restore harmony. Also, when some brothers and sisters became passive and needed fellowship on God’s words to support them, my experience was lacking, my fellowship lacked depth, and I didn’t resolve their issues. I wasn’t up to par in all aspects of church work. Lisa may have had some deficiencies in her work skills, but she could resolve all kinds of difficulties that arose in church work. The upper leader reassigned some work to her for the sake of the church, but I was too arrogant and didn’t have a good sense of my capabilities. I was clearly no match for Lisa, but I still thought I was and wouldn’t back down, always competing. I was just so unreasonably arrogant! After that, I saw this passage of God’s words: “God hates nothing more than when people pursue status, because the pursuit of status is a satanic disposition, it is a wrong path, it is born of the corruption of Satan, it is something condemned by God, and it is the very thing that God judges and cleanses. God despises nothing more than when people pursue status, and yet you still mulishly compete for status, you unfailingly cherish and protect it, always trying to take it for yourself. And in nature, is all of this not antagonistic to God? Status is not ordained for people by God; God provides people with the truth, the way, and the life, and ultimately makes them become an acceptable creature of God, a small and insignificant creature of God—not someone who has status and prestige and is revered by thousands of people. And so, no matter what perspective it is viewed from, the pursuit of status is a dead end. No matter how reasonable your excuse for pursuing status is, this path is still the wrong one, and is not praised by God. No matter how hard you try or how great the price you pay, if you desire status, God will not give it to you; if it’s not given by God, you will fail in fighting to obtain it, and if you keep fighting there will only be one outcome: You will be exposed and cast out, which is a dead end(The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Three)). After reading this, I felt horrified by my actions, especially after reading the section that said: “If you desire status, God will not give it to you; if it’s not given by God, you will fail in fighting to obtain it, and if you keep fighting there will only be one outcome: You will be exposed and cast out, which is a dead end.” Through God’s words, I saw how God’s righteous disposition is unoffendable. The church had given me the opportunity to do this duty, so that I would learn to seek the truth in my duty and ultimately become a qualified created being. But instead, I continually vied for status. Wasn’t I intentionally going against God’s demands? God despises nothing more than this. Despite having done this duty in the church for a long time, when asked to make a video, I couldn’t do it well. When we got good results in our videos while I was leader, that was all due to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and the efforts of our team, not my contributions. But I wore these achievements like a crown on my head and wouldn’t let others steal my glory, relentlessly vying for reputation and plunging the church work into chaos. Everything I did was evil and against God, and disgusting to Him. Just then, I recalled a sister I’d been partnered with a year ago. She had a strong desire for status and reputation, and clung to her authority. She would suppress and lash out against anyone that threatened her position, and even sabotaged the church’s work without batting an eye to protect her status. In turn, she was exposed as an antichrist for all her evildoing and was expelled. As for me, I clearly wasn’t doing practical work, but still wanted to compete, which disrupted and interrupted church work. If I didn’t repent but kept on like that, I would likely be cast out by God. Realizing this, I prayed to God: “Oh God, the church gave me the opportunity to train as a leader, but I didn’t attend to my duties and walk the right path, instead vying for name and gain. My thoughts and actions have all been evil, and if I’m punished, it will be completely deserved. Dear God, I don’t want to live so despicably anymore. I’m ready to repent and start afresh!”

Several days later, my leader sent me a message, saying that I had been assigned to play a part in a hymn video and asking me to learn the hymn first. I was so excited when I saw the message. I thanked God from the bottom of my heart for giving me another chance. The hymn I was to learn was called “God’s Pity on Mankind.” I read these words of God: “Although the city of Nineveh was filled with people just as corrupt, evil and violent as those of Sodom, their repentance caused God to have a change of heart and decide not to destroy them. Because the way they treated God’s words and instructions demonstrated an attitude that starkly contrasted with that of the citizens of Sodom, and because of their honest submission to God and honest repentance for their sins, as well as their true and heartfelt behavior in all regards, God once more expressed His own heartfelt pity and bestowed it upon them. What God bestows upon humanity and His pity for humanity are impossible for anyone to duplicate, and it is impossible for any person to possess God’s mercy, His tolerance, or His sincere feelings toward humanity(The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique II). Through God’s words, I saw His intention to save mankind. God became enraged and would destroy the people of Nineveh due to their corruption and evil, but when the Ninevites sincerely repented to God, He calmed His wrath and didn’t destroy them. Through this, I realized that God values people’s sincere repentance. Despite how I disrupted the church work and transgressed, God didn’t cast me out. He used my dismissal and dealing and pruning to compel me to reflect. This was all God’s salvation. I couldn’t continue living in regret and passivity. I had to repent to God, seek the truth and resolve my corrupt disposition to avoid doing any more evil and resisting God.

One time, during devotionals, I read a passage of God’s words that gave me a path of practice. Almighty God says, “Letting go of reputation and status isn’t easy—it depends on people pursuing the truth. Only by understanding the truth can one come to know oneself, see clearly the emptiness of seeking reputation and status, and recognize the truth of mankind’s corruption. Only then can one truly abandon status and reputation. It’s not easy to rid oneself of a corrupt disposition. Perhaps you have recognized that you lack the truth, are beset with deficiencies, and reveal too much corruption, yet you put no effort into pursuing the truth, and you hypocritically disguise yourself, leading people to believe that you can do anything. This is putting you in danger—it will catch up with you sooner or later. You must admit that you don’t have the truth, and be brave enough to face reality. You are weak, reveal corruption, and are beset with all manner of inadequacies. This is normal—you’re a regular person, you’re not superhuman or omnipotent, and you must recognize that. … When you have the constant urge and desire to compete for status, then you must realize what bad things this kind of state will lead to if left unsolved. So waste no time in searching for the truth, eliminate your desire to compete for status before it grows and matures, and replace it with practicing the truth. When you practice the truth, your desire to compete for status will be diminished, and you will not interfere with the work of the church. In this way, your actions will be remembered and praised by God(The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Three)). Through God’s words, I saw that to truly put aside desire for reputation and status, you must first have self-knowledge, be able to actively admit your faults and let others see your true situation. When the desire to compete comes back up, you must consciously pray to God, forsake yourself and cooperate with others. Only then can you do your duty well. I didn’t focus on reflection and self-knowledge. I became extremely jealous and wouldn’t actively share my state, and didn’t seek the truth for resolution. As a result, my fighting for name and gain disrupted the church’s work. I had to act according to God’s words going forward. After that, I consciously opened up about my state in my duty, and actively sought to learn from those that I partnered with. After a period of time, I noticed that the brothers and sisters all had certain strengths that I myself lacked. I felt even more ashamed of my arrogance and ignorance. I thought back on how I’d been competitive and vied for reputation, damaging the church’s work, and felt even more regretful. I quietly prayed to God: “Oh God, through being exposed and dismissed, I’ve gained some slight awareness. In the past, I vied for reputation and gain with no thought to the church’s interests. Not only did I disrupt church work, I also harmed my brothers and sisters. I’m not worthy of being called human! Going forward, I’m willing to practice according to Your words, learn from others’ strengths, and harmoniously partner with them in my duty.”

Later, some problems cropped up in a new video project, and the upper leader assigned me and Lisa to resolve them together. This time around, I didn’t compete with Lisa in our partnership. I actively discussed with and sought advice from her when problems arose, only moving forward once we were in agreement. Sometimes, when Lisa’s ideas were clearer and more insightful than mine, I’d unconsciously try to prove myself. But I’d immediately realize I was competing again and would pray to God and forsake myself, accept Lisa’s suggestions, and diligently ponder and seek on them. I realized that Lisa’s ideas really were better than mine and was able to accept them wholeheartedly. I felt really peaceful and at ease practicing in this way. God’s words taught me how to partner well and live out a semblance of humanity.

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