By Xiaoxiao, Jiangsu Province
Due to the needs of the church’s work, I was transferred to another church, which was in a frail state, to fulfill my duty. At the time, the gospel work at that place was at a low ebb, and the states of brothers and sisters were generally not very good. But because I was touched by the Holy Spirit, I still took on everything that I was entrusted with, full of confidence. I would get up early and stay up late every day, busying myself in the church so that I could do my work well. After a period of time, the church’s work was taking a turn for the better. Seeing this, I couldn’t help but become quite self-satisfied. I felt that I was all right, that I really took on a burden in fulfilling my duty, and that I was full of the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. I felt that I was full of courage and resolve in my work. I believed myself able to perform the job well. I was living mired in self-satisfaction and self-admiration.
Right when I was brimming with smugness and was preparing to really set to more work, I met a brother who was in charge of the work. He asked me about the situation regarding my work, and I answered his questions one by one while thinking: “He will surely admire my abilities in my work and my unique insights.” But never did I expect that after listening to my responses, not only did he not even nod in appreciation, but he said that my work was inadequate, that personnel had not really been mobilized properly, that I hadn’t achieved any results, and so forth. Seeing his dissatisfied expression and listening to his assessment of my work, my heart suddenly felt cold. I thought: “He says my work is inadequate? If this isn’t achieving any results, then what extent will I have to go to for it to count as achieving results? It should be good enough that I haven’t resented coming to this frail church and worked enthusiastically, and yet he says I haven’t done a good job.” I was very defiant in my heart and felt so wronged that tears nearly started falling. Those defiant, dissatisfied and rebellious things inside me shot straight to the surface: This is all I can achieve with my caliber; I’ve done my best anyway, so if I’m inadequate then they might as well find someone else. I was extremely upset, and so I was unable to hear a word the brother said after that. Over the next few days, my state plummeted and I even felt depressed and disheartened. I was full of grievances. Amid the darkness, I remembered God’s words: “Peter sought to live out the image of one who loves God, to be someone who obeyed God, to be someone who accepted dealing and pruning …” (“Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). It’s true. Peter sought to love and satisfy God, and he could obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements. He accepted being pruned and dealt with. And me? All someone did was say that my work was not good enough, and I felt upset and wanted to throw in the towel. How could that be a person who is willing to accept being dealt with and pruned? Is this seeking to love God like Peter? The disposition I had expressed was nauseating and disgusting to God, but I didn’t realize that at all. I was continually living within my own notions and imaginings, seeing myself as really great, really lofty. When someone else said that I hadn’t done something well I couldn’t accept it. I was internally resistant, and I argued and reasoned with him in my heart. I saw that I am really too arrogant and superficial!
In that moment, my heart brightened a bit, so I opened up the book of God’s words and saw this passage: “It would be best for you to dedicate more effort to the truth of knowing the self. Why have you not found favor with God? Why is your disposition abominable to Him? Why does your speech arouse His loathing? As soon as you have demonstrated a bit of loyalty, you sing your own praises, and you demand a reward for a small contribution; you look down upon others when you have shown a modicum of obedience, and become contemptuous of God upon accomplishing a petty task. … A humanity such as yours is positively offensive to speak or hear of. Is there anything praiseworthy in your words and actions? … Do you not find this laughable? Knowing full well that you believe in God, you nevertheless cannot be compatible with God. Knowing full well your own unworthiness, you persist in boasting all the same. Do you not feel your sense has deteriorated to the point that you no longer have self-control? With sense like this, how are you fit to associate with God? Are you not afraid for yourselves at this juncture? Your disposition has already deteriorated to the point where you cannot be compatible with God. This being so, is your faith not laughable? Is your faith not preposterous? How are you going to deal with your future? How are you going to choose the path on which you are to walk?” (“Those Who Are Incompatible With Christ Are Surely Opponents of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words really got to the heart of my own essence and left me speechless. I really felt ashamed, that I had nowhere to hide. I thought back on what I had revealed about myself while performing my duty: As soon as I had achieved some results in my work I didn’t think of how I could refine my work to achieve the best possible outcome and satisfy God. Instead, I was complacent with things as they were and full of myself, thinking that I was very capable in my work, and I took credit for the fruit of the Holy Spirit’s work. I saw that I really did not know myself. God’s words say: “Knowing full well your own unworthiness, you persist in boasting all the same. Do you not feel your sense has deteriorated to the point that you no longer have self-control? With sense like this, how are you fit to associate with God?” That is true. All work is done by God Himself; I am just cooperating with it. If the Holy Spirit weren’t working I wouldn’t be able to achieve anything on my own. Bearing fruit in my work is entirely the result of the Holy Spirit’s work, and there is nothing for me to brag about. However, not only did I fail to know the Holy Spirit’s work, but I failed to know myself. I showed off because of some little thing I had accomplished in my work, shamelessly trying to wrest away God’s glory and gain people’s praise and admiration. When I was dealt with I still didn’t reflect on myself, but instead felt wronged and was not convinced. I even threw a fit and wouldn’t work. I’m really lacking all humanity and reason! At that moment I finally clearly saw my true colors, and that my disposition was as arrogant as the archangel’s. After doing a bit of work I didn’t even know who I was anymore and tried to rob God of His glory, to hold a high-ranking position and have others look up to me and adore me. Having this kind of disposition and pursuit, wasn’t I walking on the path of an enemy to God? Then I couldn’t help but tremble with fear. Apparently my conditions had already gotten to a dangerous point, but I had no awareness of that. I was still charging ahead struggling and reasoning for my own purposes and brooding when others didn’t praise me. I really was so superficial and foolish. If I had continued on like that, I certainly would have resisted God and been punished by Him.
Thank God for His revelation and salvation for me. If not for His wonderful orchestrations and arrangements, if not for the brother He sent to deal with me, I would have already forgotten who I was and stepped onto the wrong path, lacking all awareness, trying to rob God of His glory while being self-righteous. That’s so shameful! All thanks to God exposing me, I finally saw my true colors, and the pitiful fact that I lacked the reality of the truth. God’s deeds are so wonderful! At that moment I couldn’t help but pray out to God in my heart: “Oh God! I no longer want to be negative, and I no longer want to live for those lowly things. My only wish is, through Your chastisement and judgment, Your strikes and discipline, to know You, to seek to satisfy You, and moreover to fulfill my duty amidst being dealt with and pruned by You so I can repay You!”