A Transformation After Being Dealt With

November 30, 2022

By Yong Zhi, South Korea

Last March, I took charge of the church’s video work. I didn’t fully understand a lot of the principles because I was new to that duty, so I was on edge every single day, afraid I would overlook an important step in a project and it would delay our work. I was always praying and relying on God for my duty, and whenever I found some issue in the work, I’d discuss and resolve it with the brothers and sisters right away. After some time working hard like this, we became more productive and were able to diversify our videos. The other brothers and sisters said the quality and efficiency of our video production was improving. I was really happy to hear that. Even though I hadn’t been doing the work for long, we were getting good results, so I figured as long as we kept going like this every day, that should be fine. But my attitude toward my duty gradually changed. I didn’t feel the same sense of urgency as before, and before I knew it, I was living in a state of complacency. After a little while, my partner noticed that our production pace was slowing down and our videos lacked creativity, so she sought me out to discuss solutions to these problems. I thought she was making a big deal out of nothing and brushed her off, totally unconcerned. I remained as complacent as ever, doing my work half-heartedly.

A few days later when the leader looked into our work, she noticed that the quality and efficiency of our video production had slipped lately, so she fellowshiped with us. She asked us, “Are you concerned about your productivity? Where’s your devotion? You’re afraid of wearing yourselves out with a bit of work. Why don’t you put a bit more into it? You’re dragging your feet, being sluggish and undisciplined. Are you considering God’s will? Doing your duty this way is just rendering service and if you’re not devoted in your service, you may eventually be cast out.” I was taken aback by her criticism and felt wronged. It was true that our videos hadn’t been as effective lately, but they were still a lot better than before. How could she say we weren’t devoted? That it was just service? We weren’t intentionally trying to drag things out or be lazy. At the same time, I was aware that this pruning was being done with God’s permission, so I knew I needed to approach this with an obedient, seeking heart, even though I didn’t recognize my problem. I prayed to God, “God, I was criticized by the leader today, but I still don’t know where I’ve gone wrong. Please guide me to self-reflect and know myself, so I can know Your will and learn a lesson through this.” After praying I realized that no matter what objective excuses I had, it was true that our video production had slowed and lacked creativity. The leader wasn’t criticizing our outward behavior, she was talking about our incorrect states and our attitudes toward our duty, so I needed to take a good hard look at my state.

I read something in God’s words after that. “People who truly believe in God perform their duties willingly, without calculating their own gains and losses. No matter whether you are someone who pursues the truth, you must always rely on your conscience and reason and really work hard when you perform your duty. What does it mean to really work hard? If you are merely satisfied with making some token effort, and suffering a little physical hardship, but you do not take your duty seriously at all or seek the principles of the truth, then this is nothing more than being careless and perfunctory—it is not truly making an effort. Key to making an effort is putting your heart into it, fearing God in your heart, being mindful of God’s will, being terrified of disobeying God and hurting God, and suffering any hardship in order to perform your duty well and satisfy God: If you have a heart that loves God in this way, you will be able to perform your duty properly. If there is no fear of God in your heart, you will have no burden when you perform your duty, will have no interest in it, and will inevitably be careless and perfunctory, and go through the motions, without producing any real effect—which is not performing a duty. If you truly have a sense of burden, and feel like performing your duty is your personal responsibility, and that if you don’t, you are not fit to live, and are a beast, that only if you perform your duty properly are you worthy of being called a human being, and can face your own conscience—if you have this sense of burden when you perform your duty—then you will be able to do everything conscientiously, and will be able to seek the truth and do things according to the principles, and so will be able to do your duty properly and satisfy God. If you are worthy of the mission that God has given you, and of all that God has sacrificed for you and His expectations of you, then this is truly trying hard. Now do you understand? If you merely go through the motions in performing your duty and do not seek to achieve results, you are a hypocrite, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. You may trick people, but you cannot fool God. If there is no real price and no loyalty when you perform your duty, then it is not up to standard. If you do not truly devote yourself to your faith in God and performance of your duty; if you always go through the motions and are perfunctory in your actions, like an unbeliever working for their boss; if you just make a token effort, you don’t use your mind, you muddle through each day as it comes, not reporting problems when you see them, seeing a spill and not cleaning it up, and indiscriminately dismissing everything that is not to your own benefit—then is this not trouble? How could someone like this be a member of God’s household? Such people are unbelievers; they are not of the house of God. Not one of them is acknowledged by God. Whether you are being true and whether you have devoted yourself when you perform your duty, God keeps account, and you also know full well. So, have you ever truly devoted yourselves to performing your duty? Have you ever taken it seriously? Have you treated it as your responsibility, your obligation? Have you taken ownership of it? You must properly reflect on and know these matters, which will make it easy to address the problems that exist in performing your duty, and will be beneficial to your entry into life. If you are always irresponsible when performing your duty, and do not report problems to the leaders and workers when you discover them, nor seek the truth to solve them on your own, always thinking ‘the less trouble the better,’ always living by worldly philosophies, always being careless and perfunctory when you perform your duty, never having any devotion, and not accepting the truth at all when pruned and dealt with—if you perform your duty in this way, you are in danger; you are one of the service-doers. Service-doers are not members of God’s house, but employees, hired workers. When the work ends, they shall be cast out, and shall naturally be plunged into catastrophe. … The fact is that God wishes in His heart to treat you as members of His family, yet you do not accept the truth, and are always careless, perfunctory, and irresponsible in performing your duties. You do not repent, no matter how the truth is fellowshiped about to you. It is you who have placed yourselves outside of God’s house. God wishes to save you and turn you into members of His family, yet you do not accept it. You, then, are outside of His house; you are unbelievers. Whoever does not accept the least bit of the truth can only be handled as an unbeliever would. It is you who have established your own outcome and position. You have established it outside God’s house. Who beside you is to blame for that?” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. To Perform One’s Duty Well, One Must at Least Be Possessed of a Conscience and Reason). I felt ashamed after reading God’s words. God says that being content with suffering a little physical hardship doesn’t count as being devoted in our duty. What’s key is to have a genuine burden and sense of responsibility toward our duty, to treat every single thing we do as a part of our own responsibility, giving it everything we’ve got so that we can get good results in our duty. Someone with a true burden doesn’t need anyone pushing them, but has their own internal drive. When they finish their daily tasks, they think about what wasn’t done right, and how they could do it better. That’s how to consider God’s will and be worthy of being called a part of God’s house. But service-doers don’t put their heart into their duty. They’re content with superficial efforts, but don’t have a burden in their heart. They never reflect on how to do their duty well and don’t feel a sense of concern or urgency when problems appear in their work. They say they’re doing a duty, but they’re not thinking of God’s will at all. They’re just like unbelievers doing a job, expending some effort in exchange for a salary. That kind of person isn’t truly doing a duty, but rather doing service. This will not gain God’s approval. When I considered my behavior and attitude toward my duty, I realized I was just like a service-doer. Ever since we improved our video production, I’d been stuck in a state of complacency. I figured that we were keeping busy, after all, so as long as we kept on the same way and didn’t make any major mistakes, doing our duty that way was good enough. So when I saw that our videos weren’t very creative and had the same old format, I wasn’t worried at all. I appeared to be spending all my time on my duty, but I didn’t have a true burden in my heart. I thought that since we were a bit more efficient than before, that counted as progress, and counted as success in our duty. I started to feel pleased with myself and got stuck in a rut. I never thought about whether we could do a bit more, or improve our results a bit more, and if we could take our progress and efficiency up a notch. Also, I wasn’t reflecting on whether I was following the principles in my duty, or what oversights or mistakes there were. Doing my duty that way was, in essence, doing service. I read in God’s words that when people aren’t heartfelt in their duty, they’re muddling through and cheating God. Looking at all of my own behavior, I saw that I’d been cheating God, and that I really lacked humanity. Only after being dealt with did I see that being so sloppy and irresponsible in my duty, treating it like a service-doer would but still wanting God’s approval, was truly absurd! Approaching my duty that way not only held up the church’s work, but I myself also wasn’t able to make any progress. If that went on for too long, I’d certainly be cast out. Thinking about that was really distressing for me, so I came before God in prayer, ready to repent, to change this incorrect mindset and do my job well. While reflecting, I discovered another reason for this failure. I was too strong-willed. I was guided by my own will in my duty, rather than seeking the right principles. I read this in God’s words: “A duty is not your own private affair; you are not doing it for yourself, you are not running your own operation, it is not your own personal business. In God’s house, no matter what you do, you are not working on your own enterprise; it is the work of God’s house, it is God’s work. You must constantly bear this knowledge and awareness in mind and say, ‘This is not my own affair; I am doing my duty and fulfilling my responsibility. I am doing the church’s work. This is a task God entrusted to me and I am doing it for Him. This is my duty, not my own private affair.’ This is the first thing people should understand. If you treat a duty as your own personal business, and do not seek the principles of the truth when you act, and carry it out according to your own motives, views, and agenda, then you will very likely make mistakes” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. What Is the Adequate Performance of Duty?). I saw in God’s words that doing one’s duty isn’t a personal matter, but a commission from God. One’s duty should be done according to God’s requirements and the principles of truth. Only then is it in line with God’s will. If you treat your duty like a personal matter, doing whatever you want without seeking God’s will or seeking the principles of truth at all, that’s not actually doing your duty. No matter how hard-working you seem, how much you suffer and sacrifice, God won’t approve. I realized that was exactly how I’d been doing my duty. I seemed busy as a bee, but I always did things however I wanted, according to my own preferences. I wasn’t strictly following the principles. God’s house has told us over and over that in video production, we have to ensure efficiency while also improving quality. At first, I’d agreed to this, but when actual problems arose, I pushed these principles to the back of my mind and did things however I wanted. When my sister pointed out that our production had slowed and we were using the same tired old format, I thought little of it. Even when I was dealt with I still didn’t think I was at fault; I felt wronged. I was so numb and rigid, and didn’t know myself at all. I was satisfied just knowing what God’s house requires in theory, but when putting it into practice, I went against these principles and did things my own way, ultimately hindering the video work. That’s when I realized I had a serious problem. The leader’s criticism of me was entirely to uphold the church’s work and be considerate of God’s will. I deserved that criticism. It was because I was taking my duty lightly, doing whatever I wanted, and violating principles. The leader did this so that I could see my mistakes and do my duty in line with the principles going forward. Realizing this, I understood that being dealt with was in fact God’s love and protection.

After that, I discovered a path of practice in God’s words. Almighty God says, “Today, there are those who have begun to be assiduous in performing their duty, they have begun to think about how to properly carry out the duty of a created being in order to satisfy God’s heart. They are not negative and lazy, they do not passively wait for the Above to issue orders, but take some initiative. Judging by your performance of your duty, you are a little more effective than before, and although it is still below standard, there has been a little growth—which is good. But you must not be satisfied with the status quo, you must keep searching, keep growing—only then will you perform your duty better, and reach an acceptable standard. But when some people perform their duty, they never pull out all the stops and give it their all, they only give 50-60% of their effort, and just make do until what they are doing is done. They can never maintain a state of normalcy: When there’s no one to keep an eye on them or offer support, they slacken off and lose heart; when there’s someone to fellowship the truth, they perk up, but if the truth isn’t fellowshiped to them for a while, they become indifferent. What is the problem when they always go back and forth like this? This is how people are when they haven’t gained the truth, they all live by passion—a passion which is incredibly difficult to maintain: They must have someone preach and fellowship to them every day; once there is no one to water and provide for them, and no one to support them, their hearts go cold again, they slacken once more. And when their hearts slacken, they become less effective in their duty; if they work harder, effectiveness increases, their performance of their duty becomes more productive, and they gain more. … In fact, what God asks of people is all attainable by people; as long as you engage your conscience, and are able to follow your conscience in performing your duty, then it will be easy to accept the truth—and if you can accept the truth, you can perform your duty adequately. You must think in this way: ‘Believing in God during these years, eating and drinking God’s words during these years, I have gained a huge amount, and God has bestowed great graces and blessings upon me. I live in God’s hands, I live under God’s power, beneath His dominion, and He has given me this breath, so I should engage my mind, and strive to perform my duty with all my strength—this is what’s key.’ People must have a will; only those who have a will can truly strive for the truth, and only once they have understood the truth can they perform their duty properly, and satisfy God, and bring shame upon Satan. If you have this kind of sincerity, and do not plan for your own sake, but only to gain the truth and perform your duty properly, then your performance of your duty will become normal, and will remain constant throughout; no matter what circumstances you encounter, you will be able to persist in performing your duty. Regardless of who or what may come to mislead or disturb you, no matter whether your mood is good or bad, you will still be able to perform your duty normally. In this way, God can set His mind at rest about you, and the Holy Spirit will be able to enlighten you in understanding the principles of the truth, and guide you in entering the reality of the truth, and as a result, your performance of your duty will be sure to be up to standard. As long as you sincerely expend for God, do your duty in a down-to-earth way, and not act in a slippery way or play tricks, you will pass muster with God. God observes people’s minds, thoughts, and motives. If your heart longs for the truth and you can seek the truth, God will enlighten and illuminate you. In any matter, God will enlighten you so long as you seek the truth. He will make your heart open to the light and allow you a path of practice, and your performance of your duty will then bear fruit. God’s enlightenment is His grace and His blessing” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. In Believing in God, What Is Most Important Is to Practice and Experience His Words). I learned through God’s words that, at the very least, people should rely on their conscience in their duty, and when encountering a problem, proactively seek God’s will and look for principles, putting everything into following the requirements of God’s words so they can gain God’s guidance and achieve good results in their duty. Having the chance to oversee the video work was God’s grace. I should have done my utmost for my duty and continued advancing our progress and results. I shouldn’t have slacked off in my work, or been so careless. Realizing this, I came before God and prayed, “Oh God, I’ve seen that in my duty, I tend to just follow a set routine and not strive for progress. Please guide me so that no matter how many difficulties I face, I will try my best to do my duty. If I hold up our work’s progress again, please discipline me.” After that, the brothers and sisters and I discussed the ways we’d lagged and underperformed in our duty, and came up with a plan for every single video. We also tried to come up with well-thought-out ideas for production. With everyone’s cooperation, our video production became noticeably more successful than before, and we diversified our styles. I was really grateful to God for this outcome. Aside from being happy, I also felt guilt and self-reproach about my previous attitude toward my duty. Only then did I realize how serious my previous sloppiness in my duty was by comparison. I’d been unhurried, dragging my feet, just trying to get through the day, but believed I was devoted. I didn’t know myself at all. If I hadn’t been dealt with that time, but continued doing my duty with that casual, complacent attitude, who knows how much I would have delayed our work. I felt from the bottom of my heart that the leader’s criticism came just in time. I read this in God’s words at a later gathering: “Noah’s attitude toward the Creator’s command was obedience. He was not unconcerned with it, and there was no resistance in his heart, nor was there indifference. Instead, he diligently tried to understand the will of the Creator as he recorded every detail. When he comprehended God’s urgent will, he decided to pick up the pace, to complete what God had entrusted to him with all haste. What did this mean, ‘with all haste’? It meant completing, in as little time possible, work that would previously have taken a month, getting it done perhaps three or five days ahead of schedule, without dragging his feet at all or the least procrastination, but pushing ahead with the whole project as best he could. Naturally, while carrying out each job, he would try his hardest to minimize losses and errors, and not to do any work such that it would have to be repeated; he would also have completed every task and procedure on schedule and done them well, guaranteeing its quality. This was a true manifestation of not dragging one’s feet. So, what was the prerequisite for his being able not to drag his feet? (He had heard God’s command.) Yes, that was the prerequisite and context for his achievement. Now, why was Noah able not to drag his feet? Some people say Noah was possessed of true obedience. So, what did he possess that allowed him to achieve such true obedience? (He was mindful of God’s will.) That’s right! This is what it means to have heart! People with heart are able to be mindful of God’s will; those without heart are empty shells, buffoons, they do not know to be mindful of God’s will: ‘I don’t care how urgent this is for God, I’ll do what I want—in any case, I’m not being idle or lazy.’ This kind of attitude, this kind of negativity, the total lack of proactiveness—this is not someone who is mindful of God’s will, nor do they understand how to be mindful of God’s will. In which case, are they possessed of true faith? Definitely not. Noah was mindful of God’s will, he had true faith, and was thus able to complete God’s commission. And so, it is not enough to simply accept God’s commission and be willing to make some effort. You must also be mindful of God’s will, give your all, and be devoted—which requires people to have a conscience and sense; it is what people ought to have, and what was found in Noah” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Excursus Three: How Noah and Abraham Listened to God’s Words and Obeyed Him (Part Two)). I was also moved when I read this passage of God's words. Noah listened to God, understood His will, and didn't remotely neglect His commission. I saw that Noah wanted to be considerate of God’s will, and when God commanded him to build the ark, he sensed the urgency of God’s will, and pressed on with what God considered most urgent. For each and every task, he did everything in his power to avoid delay, making sure to do everything he could to move forward. And in all he did, he tried his best to minimize mistakes and losses. Noah’s attitude toward his duty showed genuine consideration for God’s will. Noah’s experience was really motivating for me. It also helped me understand God’s will and gave me a path of practice. I had to be like Noah and consider God’s burden, to make a list of all the details in my work, organize them appropriately, and do my utmost to complete every task well. When facing difficulties in my work, I had the faith to get through them and not get stuck in them, believing that with God, nothing is impossible. So I prayed and called out to God, asking Him to give me more of a burden, and guide me to do my duty well. After that, we frequently summed up our work, quickly corrected any mistakes or oversights, and cooperated in our duty. Our efficiency then improved quite a bit.

Once, we had to work on a type of project that we were completely unfamiliar with and needed to get it done within a really short period of time. I felt a little nervous. I didn’t know if we could do it this time. I didn’t say anything, but inside, I felt apprehensive. I realized I was considering my fleshly interests again, so I said a prayer: “God, my work used to be so sloppy. I wasn’t devoted to my duty and I held up our work progress. Now that our work requires that I suffer and pay a price, I can’t just think about my own comfort again. Please give me the resolve to suffer and get this work done well.” I felt quite a bit calmer after my prayer. I was ready to change my attitude and do my duty well. After that, I learned the necessary video production skills with the others, we discussed the project, and we kept our production schedule within the allotted time. Eventually, we finished the video. Thinking back over these experiences, I saw that too often I had been muddling through my duty and being slippery. I suffered a bit in my duty during that time, but I was at peace, and it felt wonderful. At our month-end gathering, everyone fellowshiped about their recent experiences and gains. Everyone really felt that without being dealt with, and without the revelation of God’s words, we wouldn’t have seen our faults and corruption, and we wouldn’t have made any progress no matter how long we worked. It’s incredibly beneficial to us, both in our duties and for our entry into life.

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