Why Am I So Afraid of Being Outdone?

September 28, 2022

By Yang Peiqi, China

After graduating in 2017, I began my duty in the church. Among the brothers and sisters around me, I was the youngest, and my time believing in God and doing my duty was the shortest, yet I was repeatedly promoted, so I always had a sense of superiority. In December, I was put in charge of the watering work of several groups. The church leader came to me to fellowship and encouraged me to do my duty well. I was so flattered. The leader was usually very busy with work, so this coming to give me fellowship made me think the leader was happy I was promoted. I thought she might mention me to the other brothers and sisters, after which they would definitely look up to me and compliment me for being promoted so quickly at a young age. The thought made me very happy. After a while, I noticed Sister Ai was making rapid progress in learning to water newcomers. The brothers and sisters spoke highly of her, and finally chose her to be the group leader. This should have been something to be happy about, but there was a flash of worry in my heart: “Sister Ai is so outstanding that she might be promoted soon.” I suddenly felt a sense of loss. Everyone was focused on her, and she was doing better than me at the start. If she was promoted again, the leader would definitely think highly of her, and might often talk about her with the brothers and sisters, and then no one would think highly of me anymore. My heart felt empty all of a sudden, and I was very sad. I didn’t want this to happen. I didn’t even want Sister Ai to continue to be the group leader.

Just over a month later, I noticed that the work Sister Ai supervised was much less effective. After investigating, I learned Sister Ai became complacent once she became group leader, showed off in front of others, and did her duty without seeking principles, which made her work much less effective. I thought, “Sister Ai didn’t follow the right path as group leader, which hindered the work. Is she not suitable to be the group leader?” Suddenly, my eyes lit up. If Sister Ai wasn’t the group leader, she wouldn’t be promoted. I quickly said to Sister Liu, my partner, “As group leader, she pursued prestige and status, and her work results declined. She is no longer fit to be the group leader.” To convince Sister Liu to agree with me, I also said, “Before, I worked with Sister Ai. Everyone said she had poor caliber, and she wouldn’t make a good group leader.” Sister Liu heard what I said and suggested I report it to the church leader. But after the leader read my letter, she wrote back and said that Sister Ai was just temporarily in a bad state, but she could still do some practical work, and she asked me to help Sister Ai more. After a while, I saw that Sister Ai’s state hadn’t improved. Not only did I not help her, I was starting to get sick of her. I even impatiently dealt with her, saying she didn’t pursue the truth, and that the poor results of her work were caused by her pursuit of prestige and status. After I dealt with her like this, Sister Ai became even more negative. She started to define herself, her state got worse and worse, and I was even more convinced that she couldn’t be group leader anymore. I reported it to the church leader again, but the leader wrote back that Sister Ai could accept the truth and needed some time to adjust her state. I didn’t like this at all. Sister Ai’s state was awful, so why did she have to be the group leader? This wouldn’t do. I had to think of church work. So, I wrote to another church leader and said, “When Sister Ai became the group leader, she pursued prestige and status, which has disrupted and disturbed our work. She can’t be the group leader anymore.” At the time, my words weren’t objective, and I deliberately misled the leader. As a result, the leader dismissed Sister Ai. I heard that afterward, she became very negative, and was defining herself. I felt a little guilty, but I didn’t think about it after the fact.

After some time passed, some brothers and sisters wrote to point out that we were too arrogant in dismissing Sister Ai. According to principles, she could do some practical work, and now that she was dismissed, we couldn’t find a suitable group leader to replace her, and so, the results of the work remained poor. After reading this letter, I was a little scared. I knew I had disrupted and disturbed the work of the church. One day, I read in God’s word, “Since antichrists pursue reputation and status, their speech and actions are surely meant to maintain their reputation and status. They put reputation and status above all else. If there is a person of good caliber who pursues the truth around an antichrist, someone who has some prestige among the brothers and sisters, who is chosen as group leader and meets with appreciation and praise from all the brothers and sisters, what will become of the antichrist? They will certainly be unhappy at heart, and they will become jealous. And if they are truly jealous of that person, what will they do? First, they will calculate to themselves thusly: ‘This person’s caliber isn’t bad. He knows a bit about the work—in fact, he’s better than I am. This would be advantageous to God’s house, but not to me. Is he going to rob me of my status? What if he actually replaced me? Wouldn’t I be in a pickle then? I have to make the first move. If one day he might spread his wings, then I won’t be able to handle him very easily anymore. Won’t it then be too late? I’d better make my move sooner rather than later; if I wait too long, he’ll have me at a disadvantage. Then, what should I do? Where exactly should I make my move? I need to find an excuse, an opportunity.’ If someone wants to make someone suffer, would you say that they would have an easy time finding an excuse or opportunity to do so? What is one of the tricks the devil uses? (He who has a mind to beat his dog will easily find his stick.) Right, he who has a mind to beat his dog will easily find his stick. This is the sort of logic and situation that exists in Satan’s world. There is certainly nothing of such things where God is, but an antichrist will do them. An antichrist thinks, ‘He who has a mind to beat his dog will easily find his stick. I’m going to level an accusation against you, find a chance to make you suffer, and knock you down a peg or two, so that the brothers and sisters stop thinking so highly of you and won’t vote you in as group leader next time. That way, I won’t be threatened anymore, right? If I weed out future trouble before it can grow and eliminate an opponent, then I’ll feel more secure, won’t I?’ With things churning so in their head, can they appear peaceful on the outside? Having an antichrist’s nature, are they capable of burying these thoughts and never acting on them? Absolutely not. They would definitely think of a way to act on them. This is what makes an antichrist vicious(The Word Appears in the Flesh, Vol. 3, Item Nine: They Do Their Duty Only to Distinguish Themselves and Feed Their Own Interests and Ambitions; They Never Consider the Interests of God’s House, and Even Sell Those Interests Out in Exchange for Personal Glory (Part Two)). God reveals that antichrists have vicious dispositions. They will resort to any means to suppress and punish those who threaten their status, even rumor, slander, and frame them. I realized that in Sister Ai’s dismissal, my behavior was the same as an antichrist. When I saw that Sister Ai was making faster progress than me, I worried she would be promoted, and then others would think highly of her instead of me, so I couldn’t wait for her to make a mistake and not be the group leader. When I saw that she was pursuing prestige and status, and her work wasn’t effective, I tried to use this as an excuse to dismiss her, and deliberately labeled her as having poor caliber, hoping to mislead the leader into thinking her problem was serious. When the leader asked me to help her, I didn’t, and I hoped her state would remain bad, so she would be dismissed as soon as possible. When I saw the leader wouldn’t dismiss her, I found another leader to handle her matter. Actually, I knew Sister Ai was just showing a corrupt disposition, that she was willing to reflect and repent, and if she got help and support, she could continue her duty once her state was adjusted. But to stop her from being promoted or being highly regarded by the leaders, brothers, and sisters, I seized on her corruption, scolded her, and blamed her for the ineffectiveness of her work, which made her even more negative. I didn’t stop until she was dismissed. Reflecting on what I did, I saw that my behavior was the same as an antichrist. I was so vicious and insidious! I remembered that when Sister Ai and I did our duty together, she really helped me when I was negative, but not only did I not help her when she was negative, I judged her behind her back, suppressed and punished her. How could I do such an inhuman thing? When I thought of how negative Sister Ai’s state was since she was dismissed, I felt a deep sense of remorse and self-blame. The work of the group Sister Ai supervised was ineffective for a long time, and this had a lot to do with me; it was I who disturbed the work of the church. Thinking of this, I felt even more remorse and self-blame. That night, I hid under my blanket and cried. I knew it was a transgression, an evil deed. During that time, I was very tormented. At the thought of my evil deed, I felt only remorse and self-blame. Crying, I prayed to God, “God, I will no longer dare to suppress talent. I wish to repent.”

Later, I wondered, how could I do such a thing without my conscience being troubled? In God’s word, I read, “The antichrists’ cherishment of their status and prestige goes beyond that of normal people, and is something within their disposition and essence; it is not a temporary interest, or the transient effect of their surroundings—it is something within their life, their bones, and so it is their essence. This is to say that in everything an antichrist does, their first consideration is their own status and prestige, nothing else. For an antichrist, status and prestige are their life, and their lifelong goal. In all they do, their first consideration is: ‘What will happen to my status? And to my prestige? Will doing this give me prestige? Will it elevate my status in people’s minds?’ That is the first thing they think about, which is ample proof that they have the disposition and essence of antichrists; they would not consider these problems otherwise. It can be said that for an antichrist, status and prestige are not some additional requirement, much less something extraneous that they could do without. They are part of the nature of antichrists, they are in their bones, in their blood, they are innate to them. Antichrists are not indifferent toward whether they possess status and prestige; this is not their attitude. Then, what is their attitude? Status and prestige are intimately connected to their daily lives, to their daily state, to what they strive for on a daily basis. And so for antichrists, status and prestige are their life. No matter how they live, no matter what environment they live in, no matter what work they do, no matter what they strive for, what their goals are, what their life’s direction is, it all revolves around having a good reputation and a high station. And this aim does not change; they can never put it aside. This is the true face of the antichrists, and their essence(The Word Appears in the Flesh, Vol. 3, Item Nine: They Do Their Duty Only to Distinguish Themselves and Feed Their Own Interests and Ambitions; They Never Consider the Interests of God’s House, and Even Sell Those Interests Out in Exchange for Personal Glory (Part Three)). God’s words revealed that antichrists live for prestige and status. They consider these things to be their life, so they fight with others for prestige and status, and even suppress and punish people. To them, any evil deed is justified. I reflected and saw I was just like an antichrist. I liked prestige and status, I liked to be admired and praised by others, and I pursued prestige and status as something positive. When I was promoted, I felt I was highly regarded by the leader. I even guessed the leader would mention me to the other brothers and sisters, and I would be the subject of everyone’s praise. When I saw that Sister Ai was progressing quickly and became a group leader, I feared she would be promoted and surpass me, so that no one would think highly of me. Before my interests were involved, I got along with Sister Ai normally, but as soon as my interests were involved, I immediately exposed my viciousness and used sneaky tactics to suppress her. To maintain my position in people’s hearts, I didn’t hesitate to distort the facts, and I wanted nothing but to have her dismissed. My desire for prestige and status was too strong. All I could think about was how to get status, and when I suppressed her, my conscience wasn’t even troubled in the slightest. The CCP only allows people to worship and follow itself, and when anyone threatens its dictatorship, it tries every means to smear, condemn, suppress, and persecute. To stabilize its position, it kills mercilessly and harms innocent people, to the point that Heaven and humanity both despise it, and this has caused various natural and man-made disasters. If I continued to pursue prestige and status, there was no saying what evil I might do, and in the end, I would definitely be punished by God for doing so much evil. I felt I was awful, and I didn’t want to live like this. I prayed often, asking God to lead me out from the bondage of prestige and status.

Later, I read two passages of God’s words and I understood a little more about the essence of the pursuit of prestige and status. God’s words say, “What does Satan use to keep man firmly within its control? (Fame and gain.) So, Satan uses fame and gain to control man’s thoughts, until all people can think of is fame and gain. They struggle for fame and gain, suffer hardships for fame and gain, endure humiliation for fame and gain, sacrifice everything they have for fame and gain, and they will make any judgment or decision for the sake of fame and gain. In this way, Satan binds people with invisible shackles, and they have neither the strength nor the courage to throw them off. They unknowingly bear these shackles and trudge ever onward with great difficulty. For the sake of this fame and gain, mankind shuns God and betrays Him and becomes increasingly wicked. In this way, therefore, one generation after another is destroyed in the midst of Satan’s fame and gain(The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique VI). “People think that once they have fame and gain, they can then capitalize on those things to enjoy high status and great wealth, and to enjoy life. They think fame and gain are a kind of capital that they can use to obtain a life of pleasure-seeking and wanton enjoyment of the flesh. For the sake of this fame and gain which mankind so covets, people willingly, albeit unknowingly, hand over their bodies, minds, all that they have, their futures and their destinies, to Satan. They do so without even a moment’s hesitation, ever ignorant of the need to recover all that they have handed over. Can people retain any control over themselves once they have taken refuge in Satan in this way and become loyal to it? Certainly not. They are completely and utterly controlled by Satan. They have completely and utterly sunk into a quagmire, and are unable to free themselves(The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique VI). Only after reading God’s words did I understand that fame and status are Satan’s means to corrupt people. If I wanted to escape the bondage of fame and status, I had to see clearly how Satan uses them to control and harm people. When I was growing up, school, society, and family all told me that I had to stand out from the crowd in the future, so that I could bring honor to myself and my parents, as well as receive praise from those around me. I agreed with views like “Stand out above the rest, and bring honor to your ancestors,” and “Fame in this life lasts for a hundred generations.” Especially when I saw famous and great people remembered and worshiped for generations, I felt such a life like that was worth living, and I really wanted to be such a person. After believing in God, when I was repeatedly promoted and highly regarded by others, I hoped my brothers and sisters would mention me to each other, so that I would have a place in their hearts. That would have made me very satisfied. Now, after reading God’s words, I knew this pursuit was especially evil. Only devils and Satan always want to occupy the hearts of people and leave a permanent impression on them. The CCP strives to establish itself, to make people worship and follow it like God, and it harbors the delusion of taking God’s place in people’s hearts, so that even after death, a statue will be erected to it and people will sing its praises forever. Wasn’t my disposition the same? Wherever I went, I wanted a place in people’s hearts, and I wanted to be praised and admired. My ambition was too great. This was a dead end! In the past, I always enjoyed being highly regarded by others, and I felt prestige and status could bring me happiness, but the fact is that the pursuit of status only brought me pain, and made me hurt my sister, do evil, and resist God. I thought of Paul, who often testified to himself and sought to be admired, so many believers have admired him for two thousand years, and even treated him as God. Paul brought people before himself and offended God’s disposition, so he was punished by God, and now he is still being burned in hell. This is a lesson for us!

Later, I searched for a path of practice in God’s words. God’s words say, “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. So what am I trying to emphasize? It is this: You must rid yourself of your desires and ambitions before they come to fruition and lead to great calamity. If you don’t address them while they are still in their infancy, you will miss a great opportunity; and once they have led to great calamity, it will be too late to solve them. If you lack even the will to renounce the flesh, it will be very difficult for you to set foot upon the path of pursuing the truth; if you encounter setbacks and failure in your pursuit of prestige, and you do not come to your senses, then this is dangerous: There is a possibility that you will be cast out. When those who love the truth encounter one or two failures and setbacks in terms of their reputation and status, they are able to utterly forsake status and reputation. They can see clearly that reputation and status have no value at all, and they are determined that even if they may never have status, they will still pursue the truth and perform their duty properly, and they will still speak of their experiences and testimony, thereby achieving testimony to God. Even when they are an ordinary follower, they are still capable of following to the very end, and all they want is to receive God’s praise. Only these are people who genuinely love the truth and have determination. After seeing the house of God cast out many antichrists and wicked people, some who pursue the truth behold the failure of the antichrists and reflect on the path taken by the antichrists. From this, they gain an understanding of God’s will, resolve to be ordinary followers, and focus on pursuing the truth and doing their duty well. Even if God says they are service-doers or degenerates, they are content to be someone who is lowly in God’s eyes, a small and insignificant follower, but one who is ultimately called an acceptable creature by God. Only this kind of person is good, and only this kind of person is someone God will praise(The Word Appears in the Flesh, Vol. 3, Item Nine: They Do Their Duty Only to Distinguish Themselves and Feed Their Own Interests and Ambitions; They Never Consider the Interests of God’s House, and Even Sell Those Interests Out in Exchange for Personal Glory (Part Three)). I thought of Peter. He didn’t pursue status or focus on whether people thought highly of him. Instead, he focused on pursuing love for God, and in all things, he required himself to practice the truth to satisfy God. Outwardly, he wasn’t as famous as Paul, but he took the path of success. God praised his pursuit, and in the end, God perfected Peter. Paul didn’t pursue the truth, and although he was worshiped by countless believers, he took the path of failure, and his disposition never changed. In the end, he was cast out and punished by God. I had believed in God for all these years, and although I was repeatedly promoted, I didn’t pursue the truth, and I didn’t cherish the chance to perform my duty. Instead, I always pursued fame and status, and I wasted the opportunities God gave me to gain the truth. All I received from performing my duty was regret and indebtedness. I saw that pursuing status in my belief in God isn’t the right way. What matters most is to pursue the truth and conduct ourselves by God’s requirements. Only then can we gain God’s approval and be saved by God. In addition, I found a path of practice in God’s words. When I want to compete with others for fame and status, I have to come before God, pray to God, forsake myself, and practice the truth. Only like this can I not follow my satanic disposition and do things that oppose God.

Later, we planned to train Sister Wang, and then promote her to work with us in her duty. But when I saw the others say she had good caliber and comprehension, I began to feel some hesitation. She was younger than me and had good caliber. If she was promoted, wouldn’t she surpass me soon? Would anyone still look up to me? Would it be better to not train her? I realized my desire for prestige and status was at work again, so I immediately prayed to God and forsook myself. I knew the work of the church requires the cooperation of all kinds of talent. Suppressing talent is ruining the work of the church and being hostile to God. So, I consciously forsook myself and trained Sister Wang, hoping she could work as soon as possible. When I practiced this way, I felt very peaceful and secure.

Through these experiences, I saw that the judgment and chastisement of God’s words is wonderful. I saw that without the judgment and revelation of God's words, I wouldn't be able to reflect on myself, I could only live in my corrupt dispositions, and I could do evil and resist God at any time. Now, I have a little bit of self-knowledge. This is the result of reading God’s word, and it is God’s salvation for me.

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