Transformed Through My Duty
By Jiang Ling, Spain
Last year, I took up graphic design duties, and was also responsible for the work of several others. At first, because I didn’t quite grasp the principles and details of all aspects, I studied hard, and if I didn’t know something, I asked my brothers and sisters for help. After a while, I mastered some principles and achieved some results in my duty. I started to settle for the status quo, and I thought doing things this way was acceptable. After that, I rarely proactively studied to improve my professional skills. At the time, to make even better images, church leaders suggested that we learn and innovate more. I agreed verbally, but in my mind, I thought, “Innovation is exhausting and laborious, and the images we make now already achieve some results. Why do we need to expend so much effort to innovate?” After that, I didn’t take it seriously.
One day, my partner said she discovered a new way of creating images that produced better results, and she recommended I learn it. I thought, “The results certainly are better, but I don’t know this technique, and even if I learn it, it will be time-consuming and troublesome. If we do things using our current techniques, not only do we save time and effort, we can also achieve some results, so why bother to learn the new one? What we do just has to be good enough.” So, I still created images step by step according to the old method. In following up on group work, I also started to think of ways to save trouble. At the start, I was the only person in charge of the group, so I was under a lot of pressure. Later, I was partnered with Sister Han, and I was very happy. I thought, “Sister Han is very thorough in her duties, and she is willing to pay a price. I can let her be responsible for more work in the future. That way, I’ll be under less stress, and won’t have to worry so much.” Later, because there was so much to do for Sister Han, she said she was under a lot of pressure and felt that there wasn’t enough time. Not only did I not reflect on myself, I excused it by saying this was her chance to practice and continued to give her more work. At the time, I felt a little guilty. I felt my sister was under too much pressure, and I gave her too much work, which was very unkind of me. But to stop myself from being tired, I kept doing it.
And so, I didn’t study, didn’t innovate, and pushed some work to Sister Han, leaving a lot of free time for myself. In my spare time, I did the things I enjoyed. During that period, I watched secular short films in the name of improving my sense of aesthetics. I watched one, and another right after. Even while reading God’s word and at meetings, those video clips constantly surfaced in my mind, so I couldn’t calm myself and contemplate God’s word. Day to day, I started focusing on fleshly enjoyment, how to cook delicious meals, and I often watched various news videos online. Sometimes I watched too many and feared others would say I was neglecting my duty, so when someone passed by my seat, I got nervous, quickly closed the video window, and opened the work interface, and pretended to be working. As this went on, I bore less and less of a burden in my duty. When I followed up on the duties of my brothers and sisters, I just went through the motions. If they said there was no difficulty, or no problem, that was best, and I didn’t want to work hard to find solutions when there were problems. I thought, “If I put effort into solving the problems everyone has in their duties, how much time and hard work would that take? I’ll just let them figure it out by themselves. I’ll just remind them to seek more with brothers and sisters who understand the technology.” And so, the rate at which I followed up on work gradually fell from asking once a week to once every half month. I actually sometimes felt guilty about it. I knew that God requires us to perform our duties with all our heart, mind, and strength, but I always avoided my duty like this to save time and satisfy my fleshly desires, which was not in line with God’s will. But from another angle, I hadn’t delayed image production, there was no obvious problem with my duty, and everything was going normally, so I didn’t think it was a big problem. Slowly, I could no longer feel God’s presence, prayers didn’t move me, and reading God’s word didn’t enlighten me, and I didn’t have any inspiration to create images. The results of my duty got worse and worse. In addition, because I didn’t seriously follow up the work of my brothers and sisters, and when they had difficulties, I didn’t care or seek the truth, they were lazy in their duties, didn’t seek to advance, were satisfied with the status quo, made no progress in their duties, and didn’t produce good results in their work. I only felt something wasn’t right at the time, and I was a little muddled. Even if someone reminded me, I didn’t care.
One day, a church leader suddenly came to see me, and she asked, “You have been creating images for a long time, so why is work less and not more effective? It’s unbelievable how bad your work has become!” She also exposed me for not doing practical work, being a useless “cadre,” and making my brothers and sisters sloppy, inefficient, without quality in their duties. She said doing my duties like this was muddling through, deceiving God, and harming God’s house, and that if I didn’t reflect and repent, it would be too late to fix it when I lost my duty. At that time, hearing the leader’s words was painful, but I didn’t think it was that serious, so I didn’t really reflect on myself. After that, I just perfunctorily followed up on the work and restrained myself from watching videos unrelated to my duty.
A month later, because of my long-term muddling through, slacking off, and simply getting by, I was dismissed, and two other sisters also lost their duties for failing to do real work. My leader exposed me for being neglectful in my duties, procrastinating, slacking off, and having hidden intentions, which is deceiving God, and said that I didn’t follow up on work or resolve brothers’ and sisters’ problems, so in essence, I was shielding and condoning their behavior, which is harming God’s house. I was surprised when I heard the leader expose my behavior. I was performing my duty so badly that others couldn’t bear to see it, but I didn’t realize it at all. I felt like I wasn’t hindering work at all. Why was I so numb? In those days, I thought repeatedly, “I did these things, and I did them with full awareness of what I was doing. I knew I should be loyal in my duty, but why could I still muddle through and behave with cunning like this? Just what kind of a person am I?” In my pain and confusion, I came before God to pray and asked God to guide me in knowing myself.
Then, one day, I read a passage of God’s words. “Noah had not heard some lofty preaching. He did not understand a great many truths, nor was he a learned scholar. He did not comprehend modern science or modern knowledge. He was an exceedingly ordinary man, an unremarkable member of the human race. Yet in one respect, he was unlike anyone else: He knew to listen to God’s words, he knew how to follow and abide by God’s words, he knew what man’s station was, and he was able to truly believe and obey God’s words—nothing more. These few simple tenets were sufficient to allow Noah to accomplish all that God had entrusted to him, and he persevered in this for not just a few months, nor several years, nor several decades, but for over a century. Isn’t this number astonishing? (It is.) Who could have done this but Noah? (No one.) And why not? Some people say it is due to not understanding the truth—but that is not in accordance with fact. Others say it is because of people’s corrupt dispositions—but did Noah not have a corrupt disposition? Why was Noah able to achieve this, but the people of today are not? (Because the people of today do not believe God’s words, they neither treat nor abide by them as the truth.) And why are they incapable of abiding by God’s words? Why are they unable to treat God’s words as the truth? (They have no fear of God.) Yes. So when people have no understanding of the truth, and have not heard many truths, how does the fear of God occur? In people’s humanity, two of the most precious things of all must be present: The first is conscience, and the second is a sense of normal humanity. The possession of conscience and sense of normal humanity is the minimum standard for being a person; it is the minimum, most basic standard for measuring a person. This is absent from the people of today, and so no matter how many truths they hear and understand, the fear of God is beyond them. So what is the difference in the essence of people today compared to Noah? (They have no humanity.) And what is the essence of this lack of humanity? (Beasts and demons.) ‘Beasts and demons’ doesn’t sound very nice, but this is in line with the facts; a more polite way to put it would be that they have no humanity. People without sense are not people, they are beneath even beasts. Noah was able to do this because he was a real person, a person possessed of the utmost sense; people with as much sense as Noah are very rare, it would be very hard to find another” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Excursus Two: How Noah and Abraham Listened to God’s Words and Obeyed God (Part One)). God’s words were piercing and painful to read. It was as if God was rebuking me face to face for not being loyal in my duty. I saw that I performed my duty poorly not due to low caliber and shallow understanding of truth, and not because I didn’t know how to treat duty, but because I had no conscience, reason, or humanity, and I didn’t treat God’s commission with any fear of God in my heart. As for Noah, although he had heard little of God’s word and understood little truth, he was earnest and diligent when he handled God’s commission. He remembered every detail and strove to achieve good results. Noah was considerate of God’s will. He persevered for 120 years to testify his loyalty and obedience to God. What about me? I read so much of God’s word, saw many truths and mysteries, and gained much more than those in the past, but still tried to be cunning and slacking off everywhere in my duty. I knew how to achieve good results and better testify God, but I found these things troublesome, so I avoided them and took advantage of my partner by giving her more work. When my brothers and sisters had difficulties, I tried to make things easy for myself and didn’t want to work hard to find solutions. I also just went through the motions when I followed up on work. My heart was not in my duties at all. As a result, they performed their duties without any sense of urgency or concern. I even watched secular videos in the name of doing my duty, being negligent in it, focusing only on how to eat better food and seek fleshly enjoyment, and out of fear of being discovered, I tried to hide things and acted deceitfully. In fact, when I did these things, although my conscience rebuked me, and I knew intellectually that doing so was not God’s will, I stubbornly insisted on doing it anyway. I saw just how poor my conscience and reason were. I couldn’t compare with Noah, nor with any brothers and sisters performing their duties loyally. Performing my duty like this was trying to fool and deceive God. I had no humanity and no loyalty to God at all. I was completely unworthy of God’s commission. Being dismissed was God’s righteous disposition coming down on me. I was really over the line.
At that time, I often thought about this problem. I wondered why I was so devoid of conscience and reason. Then one day, I heard a hymn of God’s word, “The Truth of the Aftermath of Man’s Corruption by Satan.” “For many years, the thoughts that people have relied upon for their survival have been corroding their hearts to the point that they have become treacherous, cowardly, and despicable. Not only do they lack willpower and resolve, but they have also become greedy, arrogant, and willful. They are utterly lacking any resolve that transcends the self, and even more, they don’t have a bit of courage to shake off the strictures of these dark influences. People’s thoughts and lives are so rotten that their perspectives on believing in God are still unbearably hideous, and even when people speak of their perspectives on belief in God it is simply unbearable to hear. People are all cowardly, incompetent, despicable, and fragile. They do not feel disgust for the forces of darkness, and they do not feel love for the light and the truth; instead, they do their utmost to expel them” (Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). After pondering God’s words, I understood. I often slacked off and tried to fool God in my duty because I lived by satanic philosophies, like “Life is short; enjoy it while you can,” “Drink today’s wine today,” and “Seize the day for pleasure, for life is short.” This nonsense corrupted and distorted my mind. I felt it was a wise choice to live a leisurely and comfortable life. Life is so short, so why push myself so hard? Toil is foolishness. People should be kind to themselves, treat themselves well, and enjoy as much as they can. Controlled by this kind of thinking, I became crafty and cut corners in everything. I became more and more cunning. I remember when I was in school, I had a part-time job. The job was easy. When the supervisor was gone, I used to sneak back to the bedroom to rest, and thought of ways to work less and not be discovered. I was discovered by my roommate once, and she said I was too lazy. She said, if I got a real job in the future, I would definitely try to save trouble. When I heard this, I felt embarrassed. But then I thought, “It’s fine, you can say what you like. Isn’t it stupid for people to work too hard? The saying goes ‘every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.’ Who doesn’t try to live for themselves? Isn’t it stupid not to think about yourself?” After I believed in God, I didn’t focus on seeking the truth and resolving my corrupt disposition. I still lived by these satanic life philosophies, and only thought about how to gain fleshly ease and pleasure, so in my duties, I did all I could to save trouble and did whatever necessary to avoid fleshly suffering. I lived by these satanic philosophies, so I always held back in my duty, never gave it my all, and never sincerely paid a price. I always got by on tricks, cunning, and deceit. Even when my leader exposed and dealt with me, I still didn’t wake up. I was numb to a certain degree and was completely controlled by these satanic philosophies. I performed my duty without thinking of progress, nor did I actually follow up on work, causing my brothers and sisters to also muddle through their duties and not make progress, and two other sisters were dismissed along with me. I was truly harming others doing my duty like this. I saw that I was corrupted by satanic philosophies and lost the bottom line of being a human. I had become someone who was lazy, selfish, cunning, and deceitful. I was living in a pitiful, shameful state. Once I realized this, I silently prayed to God. I said, “God! I really don’t want to live like this anymore. Please save me from the bondage of my satanic dispositions.”
Later, through reading God’s words, I found a path of practice. Almighty God says, “All that stems from God, and is what God asks, and relates to various aspects of labor and work that God demands—this all requires the cooperation of man, it is all the duty of man. The scope of duties is very broad. Duties are your responsibility, they are what you ought to do, and if you are always evasive about them, then there’s a problem. To put it mildly, you are too lazy, too deceitful, you are idle, you love leisure and loathe labor; to put it more seriously, you are unwilling to perform your duty, you have no commitment, no obedience. If you can’t even put the effort into this minor task, what can you do? What are you capable of doing properly? If a person is truly devoted, and has a sense of responsibility toward their duty, then as long as it is required by God, and as long as it is needed by the house of God, they will do anything they are asked, without selection; they will undertake and complete anything that they are able and ought to do. Is this one of the principles of performing one’s duty? (Yes.) Some who do physical labor disagree, and say, ‘You spend all day doing your duty in your room, sheltered from the wind and sun. There is no hardship to this at all. Your duty is much cushier than ours. Put yourself in our shoes, let’s see how you do after several hours working outside.’ In fact, every duty involves some hardship. Physical labor involves physical hardship, and mental labor involves mental hardship; each has its difficulties. Everything is easier said than done. When people really do act, in one regard, you must look at their character, and in another regard, you must look at whether they love the truth. Let us first speak of people’s character. If a person is of good character, they see the positive side of everything, and are able to accept and comprehend these things from a positive perspective and on the basis of the truth; that is, their heart, character, and temperament are righteous—this is from the perspective of character. The other aspect is how much they love the truth. What does this relate to? If, regardless of whether or not they comprehend God’s words, and whether or not they understand God’s will, they are still able to accept their duty from God, and are obedient and sincere, then this is enough, this qualifies them to perform their duty, it is the minimum requirement. If you are obedient and sincere, then when you carry out a task, you are not careless and perfunctory, and do not look for ways to slack off, but put all of your body and soul into it. Having the wrong state within produces negativity, which makes people lose their drive, and so they become careless and sloppy. People who, in their hearts, know full well that their state is not right, and yet still do not try to fix this by seeking the truth: such people have no love for the truth, and are only slightly willing to perform their duty; they are disinclined to make any effort or suffer hardship, and are always looking for ways to slack off. In fact, God has already seen all of this, and is just waiting for people to wake up, for them to expose and eliminate them. However, this person thinks, ‘Look how clever I am. We eat the same food, but after working they are completely exhausted—whereas look at me, I know how to enjoy myself. I’m the smart one; anyone who does real work is an idiot.’ Is it right for them to view honest people in this way? No. In fact, the people who do real work are the smart ones. What makes them smart? They say, ‘I don’t do anything that God doesn’t ask me to do, and I do everything He does ask me to. I do whatever He asks, and I put my heart into it, I put everything I can into it, I don’t play tricks at all. I’m not doing this for any person, I’m doing it for God.’ This is the right state of mind, and the result is that when the time comes for the church to be cleansed, those who are slippery in performing their duty shall all be eliminated, while those who are honest people and accept God’s scrutiny shall remain. These honest people’s state goes from strength to strength, and they are protected by God in all that befalls them. And what earns them this protection? Because in their heart, they are honest. They don’t fear hardship or exhaustion when they perform their duty, and are not picky about anything they are entrusted with; they do not ask why, they just do as they are told, they obey, without examining or analyzing, or taking anything else into consideration; they have no ulterior motives, but are capable of obedience in all things. Their inner state is always very normal; when faced with danger, God protects them; when illness or pestilence befalls them, God also protects them—they are greatly blessed” (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. They Despise the Truth, Publicly Flout Principles, and Ignore the Arrangements of God’s House (Part Four)). After I pondered God’s words, I understood. We should perform our duties with an honest heart and in a down-to-earth manner, not think about personal gains and losses, not play tricks, and when problems occur, we should solve them promptly and spare no effort in our duties. Only in this way can we be honest people before God and gain God’s protection and blessings. I thought of how I was selfish, despicable, considerate of the flesh, didn’t want to expend effort on my duties, and didn’t produce any good results with my images, and I felt very guilty. Later, I still performed the graphic design duty in my spare time, and I consciously tried to change. I began to learn new techniques, ask people questions, and tried to create in new ways. When I encountered difficulties, I prayed to God, and made repeated revisions based on others’ suggestions. Each time I thought of a new image, I considered it from every angle to see if there was any other way to break new ground. This way, after practicing in my duty for a while, I saw God’s blessing. I made some breakthroughs in my composition concept and technique, and my brothers and sisters said the images I made now were better than those before. I found the drive to perform my duty and managed to inspire my brothers and sisters in theirs. Everyone wanted to innovate, make breakthroughs, and do better.
When I actually worked hard at my duty, when I put my heart into it, I felt secure performing my duty. I had things to say when I prayed to God. I also gained some understanding of some problems and made some progress in my profession. I saw that God is indeed holy. God appears in places of holiness, but hides Himself in places of filth. I couldn’t help but feel reverence for God in my heart. And when I put all my effort into my duty, I really didn’t feel too tired. Although sometimes it took a little more thought, I felt contentment and joy. I saw that God never requires the impossible of people, that everything can be achieved with a little effort, and I felt especially grateful to God. After some time, I was transferred back to my duty with the brothers and sisters. At that time, I was very grateful, but I also felt unworthy of it, so I prayed to God. I said, “God! With humanity like mine, I am unworthy of performing a duty, and of this exaltation. I wish to do my best in this duty, and if I still treat Your commission as I did before, I ask that You punish and discipline me so that I can truly repent and loyally perform my duty to repay Your love!”
At that time, the leader arranged for me and three other brothers and sisters to create some new effects together. The production process required a lot of time and effort, and there was also a high demand for images at that time, so my duty was actually rather tiring. Especially when many things piled up and had to be dealt with, my head felt like it would burst. Once, because I didn’t finish the images in time, my partner asked me why I worked so slowly. At that time, I felt aggrieved, and thought, “You see how everyone only concentrates on creating images, unlike me, who has to learn new techniques and effects alongside creating images. It takes more time and effort for me. And if I made fewer images, what would my brothers and sisters think of me? Maybe I should talk to our leader and say I can’t handle all these new effects, so they should find someone else to do it.” When I thought like this, I knew I was being considerate of the flesh again, so I consciously ate and drank the relevant parts of God’s word. Almighty God says, “God likes honest people; He does not like sneaky people. There is nothing to fear in being a bit ignorant, but one must certainly be honest. Honest people take responsibility; they think not of themselves; they are pure of thought; and there is honesty and benevolence in their hearts, like bowls of clear water whose bottoms are visible at a glance. Though you are always posturing, screening and covering yourself, wrapping yourself up so tightly that others cannot see what is in your heart, God can yet scrutinize the things that are deepest in your heart. Should God see that you are not an honest person, but a sly thing, never giving over your heart to Him, always trying to play games with Him, He will not like you and will not want you. All who prosper among the unbelievers—people who are silver-tongued and quick-witted—what kind of people are these? Is this clear to you? What is their essence? It can be said that they are all extremely slippery and crafty individuals, they are all extraordinarily shrewd, they are cunning, they are the genuine devil Satan. Could God like such people? (No.) God hates demons most of all—whatever you do, you must not be this kind of person. They who are ever vigilant and consider all the angles in their speech, who see which way the wind blows and are guileful in handling their affairs—I tell you, God loathes such people the most. So, would God still begrace or enlighten such a person? No—He would not. God sees such people as those of an ilk with animals. They wear human skin, but their essence is that of the devil Satan. They are walking corpses whom God absolutely will not save. Would you say this sort of person is indeed smart, or are they foolish? They are the most foolish of people. They are sneaky. God does not want this sort of person. He condemns them. What hope is there in believing in God for such a person? Their belief is bereft of significance, and they are destined to gain nothing. If, throughout their faith in God, people do not pursue the truth, then it doesn’t matter how many years they have been a believer; in the end, they will gain nothing. If they wish to gain God, they must gain the truth. Only if they understand the truth, practice the truth, and enter the reality of the truth will they gain the truth, and be saved by God; and only then will they gain God’s approval and blessings; and only this is gaining God” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Identifying False Leaders (8)). After reading God’s word, I realized I still held some mistaken views. Before, I admired those who were cunning. I thought they only did things that made them look good, and they took the right shortcuts. I thought such people were smart and clever, and I aspired to become such a person. Only after reading God’s words did I understand that to God, this was cunning, not cleverness. To achieve their goals, they can use all kinds of despicable means. Such people are inscrutable and have a devil’s nature. God likes simple and honest people, people with no deceit in their hearts, people without so many devious motives who can take up the commissions God entrusts to them, and do things with all their heart and in a down-to-earth manner. God examines our hearts and minds and treats us differently according to our essence. God’s attitude toward the deceitful is disgust. He does not enlighten them with understanding of truth, and finally eliminates them, but He enlightens and blesses honest people. Then I thought about myself. In my duty, when I had to pay a price and endure fleshly suffering, I wanted to avoid my duty so that I wouldn’t be tired. This was selfish and deceitful, an expression of cunning. If I did this, God would loathe me and I wouldn’t receive the work of the Holy Spirit, and in such an environment, I would certainly never gain the truth. At this point, I suddenly realized this duty was God’s test of me to see if I had made progress, whether I had a sense of responsibility toward my duty, and whether I could choose correctly between duty and physical comfort. If I avoided my duty to protect my own interests, I would lose my testimony in this test. I thought back on the recent past. Although my flesh had suffered a little, my heart was full. I had more concerns and difficulties in my duty, but I had also been close to God to seek the truth and principles more. Every day in my duty I gained something, and it felt very meaningful. Before, I craved fleshly comfort, and though I wasn’t tired, I felt no enjoyment, and the Holy Spirit left me. That pain was worse than physical pain. I couldn’t rely on tricks and deceit anymore. After that, I evaluated the work at hand again, and when there was a real difficulty, I sought help from the sister in charge, expended the effort I could offer, and did what I was required as best I could. Doing this made me feel more at ease.
Thinking back on my previous attitude toward my duty, I feel deep remorse and shame. It was God who arranged environments time and again to cleanse and change me, freed me from craving fleshly comfort and living like an animal, taught me shame, and made me able to perform my duty in a down-to-earth way and live out a human likeness. This was truly God’s salvation for me! Thank God!
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