By Wuzhi, Shandong Province
In the spring of 2006, I was stripped of my position as leader and sent back home because I was considered a “yes-man” and had been disturbing and disrupting the work of the church. For the first few days after I got back, I languished in a constant state of pain, thinking: “I never imagined that after years of serving as a leader I would be replaced on account of being a ‘yes-man.’ This is the end for me; I will be held up as a bad example in the church. How will those who know me think of me? How can I face them?” The more I thought about it, the more negative I became, until I finally lost all faith to continue pursuing the truth. However, when I thought of all the sacrifices I had made in these past few years and of how much I’d expended myself, I couldn’t bring myself to quit, and I thought: “If I completely write myself off and abandon myself to vice, won’t all my suffering be for nothing? Won’t people then think even less of me? I can’t let that happen! I’ve got to stand up for myself and not let others look down their noses at me. Now, no matter how much I suffer, or how wronged I feel, I’ve got to buck up—I can’t quit halfway! As long as I remember the lessons of failure and focus on pursuing the truth, then maybe one day I can become a leader again.” With these thoughts in mind, suddenly all the negativity and sadness faded and I felt a renewed energy in my pursuit of the truth.
From that moment onward, I put in long hours every day, actively reading God’s word to equip myself with the truth, while examining and gaining insight into my past transgressions. I also wrote many articles. A while later, when I saw that two of my articles had been selected, I felt even more faith in my pursuit. I thought to myself: “I’ll just keep working and soon enough my dream will become a reality.” In that way, I worked hard in my pursuit and was satisfied that my condition had more or less returned to “normal.”
One day during spiritual devotion, I was drawn to a certain passage of God’s words: “If people are to understand themselves, they must understand their true states. The most important aspect of understanding one’s own state is to have a grasp on one’s own thoughts and ideas. In every time period, people’s thoughts have been controlled by one major thing. If you can gain control over your thoughts, you can gain control over the things that are behind them” (“People Who Always Have Requirements for God Are the Least Reasonable” in Records of Christ’s Talks). Thinking over God’s words, I couldn’t help but ask myself: What dominates my thoughts now? What lies hidden behind all my thoughts? I began to carefully reflect on my own state and, with God’s guidance, came to realize that ever since I had been replaced, my thoughts had been dominated and controlled by the desire that “I must wrest back my former reputation and status and stand up for myself. I can’t keep being looked down upon by others.” This was the reason why I hadn’t fallen or degenerated in this painful trial, and this thought had been like a spiritual pillar that had given me the drive to pursue the truth, and that had become a goal to fight for, thus I had strived “strongly” under the heavy burden of my disgrace. At this moment, I realized that my pursuit was completely tainted, full of desire and not in the least bit positive.
God had me replaced and exposed me to allow me to reflect on myself and understand my own satanic nature, so that I could be grounded and forthright in my pursuit of truth, cast off sin and attain the salvation of God. However, I certainly did not thank God for His salvation, nor did I hate myself for all the transgressions I committed, much less reproach myself or feel repentant for failing to live up to God’s high hopes. Rather, driven by my arrogant nature that “I must prevail at any cost and not accept failure,” I poured myself into the scheming of this plot, thinking only of the day when I would rise again, be reappointed as a leader, and regain the reputation that I had so thoroughly damaged. Effectively, I was hoping to rebuild my image for others to admire and worship. I had such ambitions; had I not disobeyed God’s orchestrations and arrangements? Had I not been setting myself up in opposition to God? Right then, I couldn’t help but feel afraid for how I’d been. I never would have imagined that such wild ambition lay behind my thoughts and ideas. No wonder God said, “If you can gain control over your thoughts, you can gain control over the things that are behind them.” This is true indeed. In the past, I viewed my thoughts and ideas as fleeting notions and never took the time to analyze and understand them. Only now do I understand that grasping one’s thoughts and ideas and focusing on analyzing the things held deep within one’s heart is so important to understanding one’s own nature and essence!
Thank God for His enlightenment, which has awakened me. If not, I would still be hoodwinked by my own falseness—careening down the wrong road with blind ambition and heading step by step toward an abyss of death. How incredibly scary! In the process, I also realized that in replacing me, God was protecting me and granting me salvation. For someone with such arrogance, conceitedness and ambition, if I had not gone through God’s chastisement and judgment, hardships and trials, I would invariably have become an antichrist in opposition to God and would have brought on my own demise. With this realization, I prostrated before God and prayed: “O God, I vow to abandon this wrongful pursuit, forsake my arrogant nature and ambition and obey Your every arrangement. I will pursue the truth in earnest and with my feet planted firmly on the ground, fulfill my duty well and live out a genuine human likeness to comfort Your heart.”