Using God’s Word as a Mirror
By Wu Xia, Shandong Province
After I accepted God’s work of the last days, I came to understand through readingthat, if one wants to achieve a changed disposition and enter onto the right track of salvation in one’s belief in God, then one first has to learn the lesson of self-knowledge. Only by accepting the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, by knowing oneself from within God’s words, and by achieving an understanding of one’s own various satanic dispositions and corrupt essence, can one hate oneself and forsake one’s flesh, and no longer do anything rebellious against God or that defies God. Only when one truly knows the truth of one’s own corruption can one sincerely thirst for the truth, pursue the truth, and take God’s words into one’s real life to experience and practice. Only in this way can one gradually enter into the truth and achieve a changed disposition, and that is why self-knowledge is so important. Consequently, while reading the word of God, I made sure to cross-check myself against the word by which God exposes man. Whatever happened to me, I could recognize my deficiencies and inadequacies. I felt that I was able to understand myself. Yet, it was through a revelation from God that I was able to see that I did not truly understand myself according to God’s word.
One day, I went somewhere with my leader to withdraw some of the church’s money. When the amount of money was confirmed and the receipt was written, I thought of several brothers and sisters in the church who had recently been arrested by the CCP police for spreading the gospel. The CCP government’s cruel oppression of religious belief was now becoming more and more severe, their surveillance of the church was more rigorous, and they were making every attempt to try to seize the church’s assets. So to be on the safe side, I suggested that all previous money receipts be destroyed. Unexpectedly, the leader said: “If we destroyed the receipts, then there would be no evidence. What if you happened to steal the money and spend it yourself?” I didn’t know what to feel after hearing this, but it certainly felt like a big insult to my integrity; it was very difficult for me to swallow. I thought: “Only a Judas could do such a thing. What kind of person do you think I am? I have followed God all these years and am a good person. How could I do something like that? Besides, I have done the church’s work for so many years and have never made a mistake with the church finances, so why would I steal the church’s money? In what way do I resemble Judas?” The more I thought about it, the angrier I became. The more I thought about it, the more I felt that she looked down on me and wronged me. I was so hurt that it nearly brought me to tears.
In my pain, I suddenly remembered God’s words, “Everything, from the surrounding environment to people, affairs, and things, all exist by permission of His throne” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 6). I then thought: Why would God create an environment where this sister would say such a thing? What is God teaching me? While pondering this, my heart began to calm down. My mind started to question the painful reactions I just had toward the sister’s comment: Was she wrong when she said “What if you happened to steal the money and spend it yourself?” God said that man is capable of forsaking justice and shunning God at any time and in any place. Not one person amongst corrupted mankind is truly trustworthy. Could I really be the exception to the rule? Besides, how much has my disposition changed? How much truth have I obtained? If I have not obtained truth nor changed much in disposition, why shouldn’t I allow others to see me that way, and on what basis should I see myself as noble and pure? And why should I be so confident that I would never embezzle the church’s money? God’s words say: “… God reminds all people that no matter how mature your life is, how deep your experiences, how great your confidence, regardless of where you were born and where you are going, your nature of betraying God is liable to reveal itself at any time and in any place. What God wants to tell each and every person is this: It is the inborn nature of each and every person to betray God” (Introduction to The Words of Christ As He Walked in the Churches in). “Man’s nature brims with the nature of Satan, they’re entirely self-centered, selfish, greedy, and extravagant” (“People Make Too Many Demands of God” in Records of Christ’s Talks). Are these words really only exposing others and not myself? Betrayal of God is human nature, and everyone is greedy by nature—am I the exception? Was what the sister said inconsistent with the facts? When I usually read God’s word, I seem to be able to consciously examine myself in the light of the revelations of God’s words. However, when the sister, without being emotional, viewed me and handled the matter according to the revelations of God’s words on the nature and essence of man, I became so angry. Didn’t that reveal that I don’t know myself according to God’s word? Did this not signify that I don’t have a true understanding of the nature of Satan within me? Not until then did I realize that my knowing myself by reading the word of God was nothing more than theoretical acknowledgment and spoken understanding. I was not basing my understanding of my nature and essence on the revelation of God’s word. Therefore, this situation had to happen to me: In fellowship, I talk about knowing myself in a clear and well-argued way, and I nod my head and agree when faced with the word by which God exposes man’s corrupt essence; but when faced with the facts, I would die before admitting to being the kind of person that God exposes. As I reflected, I realized that this also described my past behaviors: So many times I’ve declared that I lack humanity and reason, but when other people said I lacked humanity and reason based on my corruption, I immediately denied it vehemently and stubbornly defended myself; so many times my lips have uttered that I performed my duty perfunctorily, yet when other people pointed this out, I always thought of every possible way to vindicate myself and to justify myself so as to be exonerated; so many times I’ve declared before others that my caliber is poor and that I am slow to understand things, and yet when my leader said my caliber was poor, that I lacked capability to work and that I was not worth training, I would feel like I’d fallen into a deep freeze, I would become so downhearted and negative that I couldn’t cheer up and I would throw in the towel and slack off. It was fine for me to say anything about my own corruption, but when others said something about me, I couldn’t accept it, to the point where I even revolted against it. All these behaviors made me realize that I was a hypocrite who didn’t know myself and who didn’t accept the truth, and that all the knowledge I thought I had of myself was just me following the trend and shouting slogans, it was all doctrine and was all just me fooling both myself and others. Since I had never been able to really dissect and understand my own nature and essence through the revelation of God’s words, I had not yet truly entered into any understanding of myself, and my disposition had not changed.
At that time, I realized that although I had previously actively read God’s words, and was able to check myself against the words of God which exposes man, I had only been content to acknowledge that I possessed the corruptions revealed by God’s words, and I had no knowledge whatever about my nature or essence after being corrupted by Satan. By doing this, I had not truly accepted the judgment and chastisement of God’s words and I was unable to achieve dispositional change. I also reflected on my self-righteous mindset and found it to be really shameful. Being exposed by God truly convinced me and allowed me to clearly see that I do not truly know myself. From now on, I wish to know my corrupt essence through the word by which God exposes man, courageously face the fact that I have been deeply corrupted by Satan, accept God’s judgment and chastisement, and pruning and dealing, and pursue the truth hard, so that my disposition may soon be changed.