Shaking Off the Shackles of the Spirit
By Wu Wen
I was a weak person with a sensitive character. Before I believed in God, I would frequently feel down and distressed from things that came up in life. There were many of these times, and I always felt that my life was difficult; there was no joy, no happiness in my heart to speak of. This pain was just like shackles that always kept me tightly bound, making me utterly miserable. It was only after I believed inthat I found the root of the problem within and gradually gained freedom from this.
I read this in Almighty God’s words: “Because people love themselves too much, their whole lives are anguished and empty…” (“Chapter 46” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in). At that time, I realized the reason for my sorrow; it was because I was too enamored with myself, that I was always living just for myself. I would frequently feel distressed and in pain from a few unpleasant words or from a sidelong glance from another person. When I was dealt with and pruned, I felt sad and upset, because my dignity was injured and I felt I had lost face. I was worried about my future path in life. It was only after really delving into these manifestations of mine that I realized—all of this was because I cared too much about my own reputation, status, and vanity, and because I placed too much importance on my own personal benefit. Later, I read “Escape From the Influence of Darkness and You Will Be Gained by God” and saw these words from God: “Men who have not been released, who are always controlled by certain things and unable to give their hearts to God, are men who are under the bondage of Satan, and who are living under an aura of death.” This really hit the nail on the head. Isn’t this exactly my condition? I was often constrained by some trivial matters and I could not release myself from it. It turns out, all of that was the result of being controlled and bound by Satan; it was all an affliction of Satan. I read on, and God said: “To escape from the influence of darkness, you must first be loyal to God and have the eagerness to pursue the truth—only then will you have a correct state. Living in the correct state is the precondition for escaping from the influence of darkness. Not having the correct state means that you are not loyal to God and that you do not have the eagerness to seek the truth. Then, escaping from the influence of darkness is out of the question. Man’s escape from the influence of darkness is based on My words, and if man cannot practice in accordance with My words, they will not escape from the bondage of the influence of darkness. To live in the correct state is to live under the guidance of God’s words, to live in the state of being loyal to God, to live in the state of seeking the truth, to live in the reality of sincerely expending for God, to live in the state of genuinely loving God. Those who live in these states and within this reality will gradually transform as they enter more deeply into the truth, and they will transform with the deepening of the work, until eventually they will certainly be gained by God, and they will come to genuinely love God” (The Word Appears in the Flesh). After reading this, I felt my heart brightened. I was so frequently subjected to the constraints of fame, status, and fleshly benefit because I was distant from God, lacked God’s words and didn’t understand the truth, instead living under the domain of Satan. Satan was using all of these things, these satanic poisons, to afflict me so that I became mired in fleshly benefit, was entangled in all sorts of selfish desires and didn’t realize there is God. In spite of my faith, I was still struggling and running around for the sake of the flesh. I did not have the resolve to pursue, to seek the truth. I was not devoted to God. If I did not change course, I would continue to live under the domain of Satan and grow farther and farther from God. In the end, Satan would swallow me whole. I gave thanks for the enlightenment from God’s words; I saw my own dangerous state and I also found a path to throwing off the influence of darkness—having a heart of seeking the truth, truly relying on and looking up to God when encountering issues, reading God’s words more, seeking the principles of practice in the words of God, and always being loyal to God. When obtaining the work of the corruption within mankind can undergo a transformation alongside their entry into the truth. This is the way of . But I had ignored this aspect, only passively trying to deal with my corrupt disposition with my own perseverance, and by relying on human methods, not proactively relying on the words of God and the work of the Holy Spirit to cleanse and change myself. No wonder I had not resolved this condition from its root. Just as it says in God’s words: “The more that people are in the presence of God, the easier they are to be perfected by God. This is the path by which the Holy Spirit does His work. If you do not understand this, it will be impossible for you to enter onto the right track, and being perfected by God will be out of the question. … you will have only your own hard work and none of God’s work. Is this not a mistake in your experiencing?” (“On Experience” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). After understanding this, I began to consciously practice according to this path. When reading God’s words, I also focus on dealing with the satanic poisons of fame, status, and fleshly benefit. When I encounter an issue I consciously put the truth into practice and forsake my own incorrect motives and perspectives. When some incorrect ideas come to the fore, I quickly pray to God and seek the truth so that I am able to live in the right condition. Although my actions have not reached the requirements and standards of God’s words, I have felt the release and freedom of living in the light and I have enjoyed the work of the Holy Spirit. Not only have I been able to see my own corruption and deficiencies, but I have had the determination of longing to change soon and the motivation to practice the truth. My outlook has changed as well; I’m no longer gloomy, depressed, and lifeless, but there is vitality and vigor in my heart. I have also become more cheerful, and I feel very happy to be living in the church!
I know this aspect of corruption in me is too deep and it is not possible to entirely throw off Satan’s influence from putting these things into practice a few times. However, God has allowed me to have a taste of the sweetness of throwing off the influence of darkness, living in the light, which has given me motivation and hope in my pursuit. I believe that as long as I continue to persevere in cooperating with God and walk the path God has pointed out, seek the truth in all things, and live by God’s words, I will throw off the shackles of the spirit, throw off the influence of darkness, and be gained by God.
A Haughty Spirit Before a Fall
In the Bible, the Book of Proverbs says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). Just as I was diving head-first into my work with very high hopes, I felt that, in my heart, I was losing touch with God. Not only did my work fail to fall into place, but also the effectiveness of our gospel work went from soaring to taking a nosedive. I fell into an extremely painful position, but wasn’t sure what I did wrong.
I See the Path to Knowing God
Just when I was sad and disappointed over this and losing my confidence in God, His words enlightened me: “Knowing God must be done through reading God’s word and understanding God’s word. Some people say: ‘I haven’t seen God incarnate, so how can I know God?’ God’s word is actually an expression of God’s disposition. From God’s word you can see God’s love for mankind, His salvation of mankind, and the way He saves them … because God’s word is expressed by God as opposed to God using man to write it out” (“Knowledge of the Incarnation” in Records of Christ’s Talks).
An Arrogant Believer’s Process of Transformation
Through time after time of Almighty God’s judgment and chastisement, my arrogant disposition was gradually changed. I could become a low-key person, I could patiently listen to others speak, and I could take heed of others’ suggestions. I could solicit the opinions of my brothers and sisters on some issues, and I could collaborate harmoniously with them.
A Bit of Understanding of Being Saved
“Only Those Who Gain the Truth and Enter Into Reality Are Truly Saved”: “Being saved by God is not as simple as people imagine. We must rely on the judgment and chastisement as well as the trials and refinement from God’s word in every step of our experiences.”