Rely on God to Revise the Design Plan Successfully

By Tang Wei

cactus

Speaking of cactus, I cannot help but think of the environment where it grows. After experiencing the attack of the sweltering summer heat and the sandstorms, it can still stand straight in dry deserts; even when desperately short of water, it can still grow upward unaffectedly. Its firm and tenacious spirit wins my deep admiration. On second thought, it reminds me that in the past, I used to be fragile and incapable, always complaining about and even wanting to flinch from the hardship and suffering I encountered. But eventually, through the environment God arranged for me and the guidance of God’s words, I overcame the difficulty. Only after that did I have the resolve and perseverance to brave difficulties by relying on God, and the true experience of the word in the Bible, “I lay in Sion a stumbling stone and rock of offense: and whoever believes on him shall not be ashamed” (Romans 9:33).

It was Friday at noon, the president of Student Union phoned me for an appointment. After we met, she said to me, “Drop the work at hand and revise this design plan first.” When I heard her words, I was completely muddled, thinking: At ordinary times, I’m just in charge of carrying out some small projects of the design plans; I’m a gofer at most. But today, you want me to do the paperwork which I have never engaged in. Can I be competent at this work? No. No. I cannot make it. As I thought about this, I was about to duck out of it. But before I could speak to her, she encouraged me with some words, and hurried off to attend to something else. I braced myself to accept the task, feeling anxious as if my heart were on fire. I scratched my head and thought to myself, “Although this task has been assigned to me, I really do not have the absolute confidence to handle it. What should I do? …”

In the following period of time, outwardly I read over the plan and searched for information, but inwardly I was full of misgivings: Normally, it’s my seniors who revise plans. I just have seen them doing that, but I have never done it by myself. So how can I make it without any experience and caliber? What if I cannot finish the task on time? As I pondered this, I stared at the plan, but I still didn’t know how to revise it. I became as restless as a cat on a hot tin roof and wanted to quit: Shall I advise the president to give this plan to a senior? Each and every one of them is more experienced than me. Since they have revised such plans many times, they can certainly revise it better than I do. I’m really incapable of finishing it. Just when I was thinking about giving up, I suddenly realized: I’m a Christian; with this matter coming upon me, there must be God’s will in it. God is almighty. I should rely on Him and believe that He will guide and help me. Therefore, I told God the difficulty which I encountered, “Oh, God! Today the president gives me this task but I have never handled one like this before. As soon as I meet with such thing, I just want to escape and draw back, rather than brave them. Oh, God! I know I’m too cowardly. But I’m willing to put my difficulty in Your hands. May You give me faith and be my staunch support. I’m willing to rely on You and look to You for guidance.”

read over the plan and searched for information

After praying, my heart became much calm, and I thought of God’s words saying, “In any given minor matter, if God does not enlighten you, you will never have any inspiration, and without it, you will never be able to break through in this regard. If people simply rely on their human brains, intelligence, and calibers, there will be many things that humanity will be unable to break through in several hundred or even a thousand years. Why can’t they break through? It’s because until the time determined by God, and until God has commenced His work, it is useless, no matter how capable humans might be. You must see through this, right?” Yeah, we humans are so insignificant before God and there are many things that we are completely unable to do by relying on ourselves. For some things that we think we have learned and we can do, they will be easier for us to deal with. But for those things that we think we have never learned and we are incapable of or not good at, we are rather apt to escape dealing with them. This shows that the capacity of us humans is limited. God alone is the source of wisdom, and our wisdom and intelligence is from God. Under God’s enlightenment and guidance, all difficulties will be solved easily. But back to this matter, I have never revised such plans before. There are many seniors with caliber. If they revise it, they must do it better than I do. But the president has just chosen me to accomplish this task. Now that God knows there are some things we have never learned and are incapable of doing, why does He still have us deal with them? So what is God’s will in it?

Later on, I saw these words from God: “You must have faith that everything is in God’s hands, and that humans are merely coordinating with Him. If you are sincere, God will see it and He will open up all paths for you, making difficulties no longer difficult. You must be confident in this. Therefore, you needn’t worry about anything. As long as you use all your strength and use all your heart, God will not make things difficult for you or force you to do what you’re not capable of. What is fearful is that you say what you do not mean, saying something when you don’t feel it or intend to do it in your heart. If you do this, you will be finished.” God’s words, like a flash of light, lighted up my heart and I finally understood why God let me encounter such a difficulty. God knew that I was too fragile, had no perseverance or desire to improve myself, so that once some difficult things happened to me, I would draw back. Though I believed in God, I did not have God in my heart at all, so when I encountered difficulties, I always used lacking caliber or strength as excuses, still wanted to be dependent upon others, and admired those who were more qualified and highly cultivated. And my faith in God was too small. If these problems were not solved early, then I would always be an infant in swaddling clothes or a flower in a greenhouse which could not stand to be battered by the wind and rain. In order to let me soon become mature, God elaborately arranged these difficulties, so that I could learn to rely on God and look to God in my adversity, and depend on His words and wisdom to overcome every difficulty in my daily life. The more difficulties I surmounted, the more mature and steady I would be, the less flinch and irritability I would have, and the greater my capability of handling and managing matters would be. Then I would no longer be easily overwhelmed by difficulties. After I understood God’s will, my heart was greatly illuminated.

Later, I read more of God’s words, which say, “No matter how great or small their stature is or what their personal environment is like, something that they cannot be without is looking to God and relying on God in all things; this is the greatest wisdom. … Sometimes, looking to God doesn’t mean speaking clearly when people pray to God for something, or for God to guide them in some way, or for God to protect them; rather it is that, when they encounter some issue, they are able to call on Him sincerely. So, what is God doing there? When someone’s heart stirs, and they have this idea: ‘Oh God, I can’t do this myself, I don’t know how to do it, and I feel weak and negative,’ when these thoughts arise in them, does God not know about it? When these thoughts arise in man, are people’s hearts sincere? When they call on God sincerely in this way, does God assent to help them? Despite the fact that they may not have spoken a word, they show sincerity, and so God assents to help them.” God’s words showed me the way: When I have no idea how to do deal with difficulties, the first thing I should do is have true faith in God, sincerely rely on God and look up to God, speak what is in my heart to God honestly, and pray to God for His guidance and help. God is faithful, so when we genuinely call out to God, He will lead and guide us in accordance with what we need. Think of when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. With the Red Sea in front and the Egyptian Pharaoh’s soldiers behind, they were on the horns of a dilemma. But when Moses genuinely prayed to and relied on God, a miracle happened: The Red Sea opened up and a dry land appeared in it, and then the Israelites got rid of the Egyptian soldiers. Likewise, when Joshua led the people of Israel back to Canaan, along the way, they were stranded outside of Jericho. Conventionally, they were unable to pass through it. However, when they called out to God urgently and followed God’s instruction to walk around the city for seven days, the walls of Jericho fell down. Finally, they conquered Jericho without losing a soldier. All of these facts conveyed an important message to us: God’s almightiness is everywhere, and is not affected by any person, event, thing, or objective factor; as long as we rely on God sincerely, He will be our help at any time. Just as the Bible says, “Jehovah is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower” (Psalms 18:2). After understanding these things, I felt I had more faith in God, and my resolve to cooperate with God became much greater.

Afterward, I prayed to God, “Oh, God! Confronted with the present difficulty, I’m not willing to be dependent on others anymore; I’m only willing to have faith in You, to sincerely depend on You, actually cooperate with You, and spare no effort to revise this plan. May You lead me!” After that, I picked up the plan again, and repeatedly contemplated it. When I met some questions I did not understand, I silently called on God and look to God in my heart, and then practically cooperated with God to refer to some materials. Gradually, my thoughts were clear and I also had some specific directions to revise the plan. Under God’s guidance, I revised it in just half a day before I knew it. At the moment I finished it, I truly experienced the feeling of joy of relying on God and looking to God. In the future, I will no longer be afraid of hardship and suffering, since I have found the secret of resolving difficulties; it is what God teaches us­­, “The greatest wisdom is to look to God and rely on God in all things.

On that Saturday morning, I took the revised plan to the president. After she read it, she approved of me, saying that after my revision, there were highlights in it, and that my work efficiency was higher than my seniors’. Hearing her words, I silently thanked God in my heart. I knew that it was all because of God’s guidance that I could achieve such a result.

This experience caused me to see one fact clearly: If someone only chooses to draw back as long as he encounters difficulties, then such a person is too fragile; if someone takes this attitude of being passive, flinching, and turning away from difficulties, then such a person will accomplish nothing and will lose the testimony of a Christian. If we want to lead a free and liberated life and live confidently in righteousness, then we must magnify God in our heart, and have true faith in Him; and when we encounter matters, we should have a sober and steady heart, focus on relying on God to resolve problems. Meanwhile, I have truly experienced: Humans’ wisdom and inspiration is from God; it does not depend on whether or not we have caliber or a certain kind of aptitude. When we can rely on great faith to overcome the difficulty and do our utmost to cooperate with God, God will absolutely lead us through crisis after crisis.

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4 Principles for Christians’ Interacting With Others

By Hanxiao In this complex society, we have to deal with all kinds of people every day. Each person’s personality, hobbies, habits, temperament, etc. are all different, so in our interactions some conflicts and misunderstandings will inevitably arise. Getting along well with others is not easy—this brings great difficulties to our work and life, and can be physically or mentally damaging to various degrees. Though this is very distressing for many people, they also feel like their hands are tied, and there are quite a few Christians who are no exception. So what exactly should we do to achieve harmony in our interactions? Here we will share simple fellowship on four principles. If our practice is in line with these four principles below, these headache-inducing interpersonal issues will surely be resolved. The first principle of getting along with others is to love each other. The Lord Jesus taught us: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37–39). It is recorded in Matthew 18:21–22, “Then came Peter to Him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus said to him, I say not to you, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” From these verses we can see that the Lord requires us to love each other, have a forgiving heart, and be tolerant of others’ mistakes. Since we’re all of different ages, of different calibers, we have different hobbies and backgrounds, plus we all have some weaknesses and shortcomings, if the foundation of our interpersonal relationships is built upon mutual love and we consider things from others’ perspectives, we will encounter fewer conflicts and misunderstandings and will be able to get along well with others. Some people have love for others and a compassionate heart; they love to help others and are able to comfort those who are suffering and experiencing hardships. People like this please God and others are fond of them as well. However, those who lack love for others and always think of their own interests cannot possibly get along well with others. Even if they do have love for others, it is temporary and conditional, and they only help and are tolerant of those who are kind to them and have never hurt them. Once someone hurts them or infringes upon their interests, though they may appear tolerant on the outside, in their heart they are filled with dissatisfaction and hatred. They can’t practice the Lord’s way. They are detested by God and disliked by people. Therefore we should practice the Lord’s words in our interactions, and love others as we love ourselves, as the Lord requires; only then will we be able to interact harmoniously with others. But perhaps there will still be times we’re unable to willingly be tolerant of, patient with, and forgiving of others. What’s required of us in this sort of situation is to pray more to the Lord and ask Him to give us a heart of genuine tolerance and love for others. When we truly rely on the Lord to practice tolerance and patience, our prejudices and dissatisfactions with others in our hearts will gradually disappear. However, there are also principles for loving others as we love ourselves. God does not want us to love others blindly. It’s just like how the Lord Jesus was full of mercy and love toward His believers and followers, while He was full of condemnation and curses for those hypocritical Pharisees who opposed God. The Lord’s different attitudes toward these two kinds of people embody God’s righteous disposition. Therefore, we should treat brothers and sisters who truly believe in God and practice the Lord’s words with great sincerity; we should be loving and helpful. As for Satan’s forces that oppose and condemn God, we should draw clear boundaries and clearly distinguish between love and hate. The second principle of harmonious interactions is to have wisdom. In Matthew 10:16–17, the Lord Jesus said, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the middle of wolves: be you therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will whip you in their synagogues.” Being wise in interactions with others is an indispensable principle of practice for Christians. This is because among the people that we interact with, there are Christians who pursue the truth, and there are some who belong to enemy forces that oppose God and hate the truth. They are specially sent by Satan to interrupt and disturb God’s work. If they learn of the business of the church or the personal information of brothers and sisters, they will make use of these things to attack, judge and condemn us, or even report us to the police to have us arrested. Therefore, we should have discernment with people like this and employ wisdom with them. In addition, we will inevitably encounter many difficulties in our interactions with others; wisdom is also called for at these times. Being wise is not about saying things contrary to our convictions to deceive others, but is for the sake of benefiting others as well as doing no harm to others, ourselves, or the church. For example, if we are going to do or say something, we must first take the other person’s personality into consideration, and what kind of action or speech will be beneficial to them, and ensure we will not harm them. These are some of the practices of dealing with people with wisdom. Only by behaving this way can we achieve harmony in our interactions. The third principle is to treat others properly. The Lord Jesus said, “And why behold you the mote that is in your brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull out the mote out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of your own eye; and then shall you see clearly to cast out the mote out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3–5). When we are in conflict with others, we always feel that the other person is wrong or the problem is with them. In fact, at these times we are living within our satanic disposition of arrogance and self-righteousness; we’re being entirely self-centered and looking down on others. We’re unable to treat others objectively and fairly. This is why we should first resolve our own corrupt dispositions, reflect on and know our own shortcomings and deficiencies, and seek the truth that we should enter into; only then can we treat others properly. If we always fixate our gaze on others’ shortcomings, we will never be able to get along well with anyone. For example, we tend to see our family members’ shortcomings when we spend time with them; we feel like our spouse doesn’t know how to take care of others, they are inconsiderate, the food they make isn’t to our taste, our child is temperamental and hard to discipline, and so on; when we are with our colleagues and friends, we find that one of our colleagues is selfish, another one tends to judge others behind their backs, or some friend likes to take advantage of others, etc. This is often distressing for us because we do not know how to get along with them. In fact, regardless of whether others’ personality and behaviors are compatible with our preferences or not, we should not be prejudiced against them and just treat them however we like. We are all people who have been corrupted by Satan; we ourselves possess quite a few problems just as others do, so how are we qualified in any way to make demands of others? Additionally, God has bestowed different strengths and advantages upon every one of us in the hope that we can absorb the strengths of others to make up for our shortcomings. Only by doing so can we progress more quickly. Once we have this kind of understanding, when others do something that we do not like, we can deny ourselves, not ask too much of others, and not force what we think is right on others. Instead, we can consciously discover others’ strengths and absorb their positive qualities—this is how we can treat others properly. Furthermore, in our actions we should not only think of ourselves, but we should also be considerate toward others, learn to care for others more often, and let others benefit. Only then can we get along well with others. The fourth principle of harmonious interaction with others is to not focus on life philosophies, but instead, focus on establishing a proper relationship with God. In real life, we often use satanic philosophies of life to maintain our relationships with others, such as, “Think before you speak and then talk with reservation,” “One more friend means one more path; one more enemy means one more obstacle,” “Keeping silent on the faults of good friends makes for a long and good friendship,” and so on. When we base our interactions with others on these life philosophies, we curry favor and engage in flattery with others so that we can maintain a good relationship with them. We only talk about their good points and dare not point out their shortcomings; we protect our interpersonal relationships even if it means going against the principles of the truth. The Lord detests this kind of behavior, because what we exalt are Satan’s philosophies, not the Lord’s words. What the Lord requires of us is the ability to have a proper relationship with Him and do everything in accordance with His words, such as being honest people in line with His requirements, and not saying anything false in our interactions or ingratiating ourselves with others. He also requires that when we see brothers and sisters do things that are not in line with or violate the Lord’s teachings, we should help them out of love; we should not be afraid to offend them but instead point out their mistakes and help them resolve their problems. In short, all of our interactions should be established on the foundation of the Lord’s teachings. We should put into practice whatever the Lord requires of us. No matter who we are interacting with, we must be able to directly face the Lord and accept His scrutiny. Only with this kind of practice can we have a proper relationship with the Lord. Once we have a proper relationship with the Lord, our relationships with other people will become proper as well, and then we’ll get along harmoniously with others very naturally. Above are the four principles of practice regarding harmonious interactions with others that we as Christians should enter into. If we are able to frequently put these four principles into practice, many of our difficulties with others will be easily resolved, what we live out will gain the Lord’s praise, and we will become people who bring joy to the Lord. You may be interested in: 4 Principles by Which We Christians Easily Interact With Others How to Get Along With Others Easily 3 Tips for Church Leaders to Help and Support Brothers and Sisters

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