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How have you been recently? I was in distress lately because of some questions. So, I would like to seek how to figure them out. Thetaught us, “But let your communication be, Yes, yes; No, no: for whatever is more than these comes of evil” (Mat 5:37). I feel miserable and distressed that I cannot practice the Lord’s teachings. I know that the Lord Jesus loves the honest, and I ever resolved to become an honest man. However, in real life, I find that if anything touches on my personal interests, I often cannot but tell a lie or cheat, and even use various means to cover up the truth. I feel more regretful especially when I see the Lord Jesus’ words say, “And said, Truly I say to you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 18:3). I always ask myself: Why can’t I be simple and open? Why can’t I become an honest person? If this continues, how can I gain the praise of the Lord? How can I enter into the kingdom of heaven? Yanzi, I don’t know how to practice being an honest person. Could you fellowship with me?
Thank the Lord’s grace. I am good. After reading your letter, I have deep experience of your problem. I used to feel remorse and self-blame that I told a lie and could not practice the Lord’s teachings. I was also afraid that I could not enter the kingdom of heaven if I continued like this. Did I believe in the Lord in vain for life? About this question, I sought out several brothers and sisters. But I still had no path toward resolution. I merely committed sins and then made confession in a constant cycle. Afterward, by the Lord’s grace, I knew Sister Wen on Facebook and gained many benefits from her. Now I am glad to share with you.
Why Cannot We Become the Honest?
In the past, I was distressed that I could not become an honest person according to the requirements of God, and even wanted to give up being an honest person. However, I never knew why I could not practice being an honest person. Later, through Sister Wen’s fellowship, I came to know why I could tell a lie and be deceitful in spite of myself. Sister Hongxin, let us see two passages first, “Man’s corrupt disposition stems from his being poisoned and trampled upon by Satan, from the egregious harm that Satan has inflicted upon his thinking, morality, insight, and sense. It is precisely because these fundamental things of man have been corrupted by Satan, and are utterly unlike how God originally created them, that man opposes God and does not understand the truth” (“To Have an Unchanged Disposition Is to Be in Enmity to God”). “People often live in the corrupt satanic disposition, do not put the truth into practice, and betray the truth. They frequently live within a selfish and despicable corrupt satanic disposition, protect their own image, their own reputation, status, and interests. They have not gained the truth. So you are distressed, troubled, and bound too much…” (“The Key to Entering Into Life Must Start From Fulfilling Your Duty”).
From these words, we can see that the reason why we cannot become the honest is that we have been corrupted by Satan and our hearts are full of Satan’s various poisons and philosophies of life. For example, “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost,” “As a tree lives on its bark, a man lives on his face,” “Keeping silent on the faults of good friends makes a long and good friendship,” “Never slap others on their faces or scold them for their shortcomings,” “Speak good words in harmony with others’ feelings and reason, as being frank annoys others.” These erroneous thoughts and viewpoints have become our lives so that we always live by them when things happen to us. No matter what we said and did is to protect our own face, status and profits. We are directed and bound by Satan’s viewpoints, so it is difficult for us to practice being an honest person according to the Lord’s teachings.
Sometimes, when there occur deviations or flaws in our work, we will hide the truth in order to avoid being looked down on by our leaders and colleagues, or being subject to compensation, or being fired by the company, and so on. Sometimes, we speak against our will to curry favor with our leaders and colleagues before them for the sake of protecting our personal profits and interpersonal relationships. Sometimes, when seeing some pastors and elders’ words and actions are against the Lord’s teachings, we turn a blind eye for fear of offending them, without a sense of righteousness … Clearly, when we live by Satan’s poisons and life principles, there is no place for God in our hearts, so that we tell lies against our conscience and deceive those above and below us in spite of ourselves. We gradually become more sly and cunning and lose man’s original simplicity and honesty when God first created him. Though we know the Lord requires us to practice being an honest man, we are often against the Lord’s teachings and cannot put them into practice.
How Can We Practice Being an Honest Person?
Now we know why we cannot become the honest, then how can we pursue being an honest person? Let us read several passages together,
“Honesty means to give your heart to God; never to play Him false in anything; to be open with Him in all things, never hiding the truth; never to do that which deceives those above and deludes those below; and never to do that which merely ingratiates yourself with God. In short, to be honest is to refrain from impurity in your actions and words, and to deceive neither God nor man” (“Three Admonitions”).
“Behaving like a normal human being is to speak with coherence. Yes means yes, no means no. Be true to the facts and speak appropriately. Don’t cheat, don’t lie” (“Improving Caliber Is For Receiving God’s Salvation”).
“To be a believer in God means that all you do must be brought before Him and made subject to His observation. … All that you do, every action, every intent, and every reaction must be brought before God. Even your daily spiritual life—your prayers, your closeness with God, eating and drinking of God’s words, fellowship with your brothers and sisters, living the life of the church, and your service in partnership—must be brought before God and observed by Him. It is such practice that will help you mature in life. The process of accepting God’s observation is the process of purification. The more you accept God’s observation, the more you are purified, and the more you are in accord with God’s will, so that you will not hear the call of debauchery and dissipation, and your heart will live in His presence. The more you accept His observation, the more ashamed Satan is and the more you are able to forsake the flesh. So, the acceptance of God’s observation is a path people must practice. … Only if you bring all you do before God and accept God’s observation can you be someone who lives in the presence of God” (“God Perfects Those After His Own Heart”).
From these words, we can see that we should be innocent and open before God first. No matter what difficulties or secrets we have, we can conceal nothing from God. Even though we dare not say something to others, we must speak the truth to God when praying. We should confess our sins to God and repent after sinning, becoming a man who thinks and acts in the same way before God. Second, we should seek truth from facts, make our words fit the reality, and speak the undiluted truth. But when we get along with others, we often say something against our conscience to explain ourselves in order to protect our face, status and profits. So, we should always come before God and reflect on whether we have any hidden intentions or mixed up reasons. If there emerge those that are incorrect, we must pray to God hurriedly and turn our backs on them, not allowing us to be controlled by them. We should have the courage to face the facts, right our own problems and acknowledge our mistakes if we find we told lies. We are embarking on the path of being an honest person when our words correspond exactly to the facts. Third, we should give our hearts to God, with a heart that reveres God. We must accept God’s observation in everything and practice being an honest person according to His word. When we have the will to be an honest person that God likes, He will raise up the people, things, and matters around us to examine us, observing in secret our every word and action, how our thoughts change. If we often accept God’s observation, pray to Him, we will have a God-fearing heart. As a result, we will no longer do things that are loathed by and hurtful to God because of fearing Him. If we often practice in this way, we will empty out things inside of us and become an honest person under God’s guidance. Then we will feel a great release in our hearts, with the difficulties of being the honest solved.
Being an Honest Person Is Great
Sister Hongxin, I would like to share my recent experience with you. One day, I accidentally broke the fax machine when I worked in our company. At that time, I really wanted to tell the truth to my manager and take responsibility, but then I thought: I just came to this company; If I confessed to my manager, he would probably give me a talking-to and think that I was stupid; It would be difficult to stay in the company once I made a bad impression on my manager; I would lose face if my colleagues knew it was me that had broken the fax machine. Thinking it over and over, I finally decided not to tell the truth to my manager. To stop the truth from being exposed, I began to ponder in my heart: No one knew that thing, but if my manager asked about the fax machine, how should I shirk responsibility? When thinking like this, I felt uneasy in my heart and my conscience suffered blame. Nevertheless, I had indeed no courage to acknowledge this mistake. I felt extreme pain in my heart, so I poured out my bitterness to Sister Wen. Afterward, she sent me two passages, “You ought to know that God likes an honest man. God has the substance of faithfulness, and so His word can always be trusted. Furthermore, His actions are faultless and unquestionable. This is why God likes those who are absolutely honest with Him” (“Three Admonitions”). “You must be honest, and must pray in order to rid yourself of the craftiness in your heart. As you use prayer to purify yourself whenever needed, and use it to be touched by the Spirit of God, your disposition will gradually change” (“Concerning the Practice of Prayer”).
Pondering these words carefully, my heart was very enlightened. God’s substance is faithful. He hopes we can become the honest and deceive neither God nor man, and that we can usually come before God, praying to and relying on Him, behave and do things according to His will. Thinking of this, I prayed to God then, “God! I know You like the honest, and the ones who have courage to take responsibilities. But I will betray Your teachings for protecting my good image in other’s hearts. Oh God! I’m willing to repent and forsake my selfish desires, practice according to Your words, living out the likeness of an honest person to glorify You.”
After praying, I was at peace in my heart and knew how to practice being an honest man. Moreover, I had faith to betray my flesh and practice being an honest person. The next day, when seeing the manager, I was still timid and dared not face it as soon as I thought of whether the manager woud scold me and there were some other consequences. But then I thought: God observes everything. Since I have made a resolution before God, how can I cheat Him again? Telling a lie and deceiving are behaviors of the devil. Thinking about this, I prayed to God again, asking Him to give me faith and courage. Later, I told my manager the whole things about the fax machine and was willing to compensate him for it. To my surprise, the manager did not make it hard for me but instead comforted me, “The fax machine is old. If it can be repaired, you just pay its repair costs, and if not, just forget it. You don’t need to compensate.”
After hearing his words, I was very excited. And I was released and free in my spirit. It was great to be an honest person! Living like this is living in peace, straightforwardly and honestly. What’s more, my colleagues did not laugh at me after knowing that. On the contrary, they felt I was a sincere person. Thank God! It was all God’s blessings and grace.
Sister Hongxin, all the above are my experiences and knowledge about how to become an honest person, and I hope they will be beneficial to you. May God lead us to seek the truth together and practice according to His words so that we can become the honest praised by the Lord. All the glory be to God!
You may be interested in this article: 4 Tips to Be Honest, Not Hard to Enter the Kingdom of Heaven!
Keeping faith in God during hard times can be very difficult. But the inspiration from these 2 Bible stories in the article may help. Read here.
By Wuruo, United States Prayer is the bridge for us to have a spiritual communication with God. God is the Spirit; only when we use our heart and honesty to worship Him, can we enter into a genuine connection and establish a proper relationship with Him. After accepting God’s new work, I often had meetings and fellowshiped God’s words with my sisters, through which I gradually gained some knowledge about God’s work. Every time gathering with my sisters, I found their fellowships about God’s words were clear and their prayers fluent and genuine. Envious of them, I really hoped that I could pray like them. But there were many spiritual words which I was not familiar with in their prayers, and I couldn’t imitate it no matter how hard I tried. Gradually, I became intimidated when attending meetings, fearing that my sisters would ask me to make a prayer, and had less desire for the truth. Every time seeing my sisters pray confidently, I became so nervous that when I prayed I went blank with ears burning and face flushing red, and could only finish the prayer in a hurry. I thought: Luckily, we had the meeting online so that the sisters didn’t see my embarrassment. But considering my poor performance, I bet they would look down on me and laugh at me. During that time, I was afraid to make a prayer in meetings, worrying that I would be laughed at by my sisters if I couldn’t pray well, so much so that I kept pondering how to pray well when working in the daytime. However, I often forgot what I had prepared when I prayed in the meeting. So, every time before the meeting, I would write a draft lest I forget the prayer. Once before a meeting, I racked my brain to draft a prayer and checked it over and over again until I was satisfied with it. Feeling myself well-prepared, I couldn’t wait to impress my sisters with my prayer. When we had the meeting in the evening, the sister shared a passage of Preaching and Fellowship About Life Entry, “He (the Lord Jesus) has come incarnate as the Son of Man and begun to express the truth and do His work of judgment in the last days, so you accept. This means you have been raptured, you have been raptured up before God, you have been lifted up into the air to meet with the Lord. … This is why I congratulate you. This is the meaning of my congratulations. Do you understand?” Concerned about what I would say in my prayer, I didn’t pay attention to this passage of fellowship. When it was my turn, I prayed as I had prepared. At the end of the prayer, I said, “I hope that we will be raptured up before God as soon as possible and attend the wedding feast of the Lamb together.” After prayer, I felt happy and thought: This time, my sisters will definitely approve of my prayer. When I was getting pleased with myself, a sister said to me, “Sister, we have accepted the work of Almighty God in the last days, so we have been raptured before the throne of God.” Her words made me awaken suddenly. It’s right. Didn’t I read the fellowship regarding this subject just now? How could I still say “I hope that we will be raptured up before God as soon as possible”? How will my sisters think of me? At that time, I felt so ashamed to see anyone and couldn’t wait to find a place to hide away. Since then, I no longer relied on my own way to resolve my difficulty in prayer, because human means were useless and would only make things worse. Then I set aside my pride and sent the sister a message, in which I poured out my confusion to her. Soon I received her reply, “In fact, our purposes of praying are wrong. We always care about how others would think of us and live before others, so we don’t pay attention to communing with God and speaking words in heart to God when praying but just speak deep doctrines or copy others to make others think highly of us. We should learn to set aside our pride, practice living before God, and have a true communion with God. In this way, we will live freely and unrestrainedly.” Reading the sister’s message, I felt that her words pointed out my state: When hearing my sisters pray so confidently, I was really envious of them and hoped to pray as well as them. Then I began to copy their prayers, falling into the state of competing with them. As a result, I couldn’t open myself to commune truly with God in a released way. Now I understand that it is all because of my vanity. Then what should I do to break free from the bounds of vanity? At that time, the sister sent me a passage of God’s words: “Whenever you do anything, you must examine whether your motivations are right. If you are able to act according to the requirements of God, then your relationship with God is normal. This is the minimum criterion. If, when you examine your motivations, there emerge those that are incorrect, and if you are able to turn your back on them and act according to the words of God, then you will become someone who is right before God, which will show that your relationship with God is normal, and that all that you do is for the sake of God, and not for yourself. Whenever you do or say anything, you must put your heart right, be righteous, and not be led by your emotions, or act according to your own will. These are the principles by which believers in God conduct themselves.” Seeing the revelation of God’s words, I felt even more ashamed. Thinking of my thoughts and considerations, I found that I only cared what others thought of me and lived before men, but never focused on God’s requirements or practicing His words. God is righteous and holy, and looks into my thoughts and ideas. He arranged this situation to make me recognize my wrong intention so that I could change it. Aside from shame, I also appreciated God’s kind intention: He wants me to set aside my pride, pray according to His requirements, and accept His observation. All He did was to cleanse my corruption. Having realized that there was something impure which God didn’t love in my prayer, I resolved to change my wrong motive in praying. The sister continued to fellowship with me: “God arranges surroundings to change us and purify us. We should practice living before God and truly praying to Him. Only in this way can we establish a normal relationship with Him.” Since then, I began to practice praying to God every morning and evening, telling Him the things happening in my life. Thanks to God’s guidance, when I didn’t care about how others thought of me, I no longer felt nervous but released in my heart when praying. After a period of time, my prayer, however, became a ceremony rather than a true communication with God, because I just went through formalities, like making a call to seniors only for exchanging the usual pleasantries at New Year and on festival days. Compared with my sister’s prayer which had the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, my prayers were dry and banal. Then, I thought of the five types of substandard ways of praying: The first type is praying with insincerity, the second is praying during religious ceremonies, the third is deceitful prayer, the fourth is trying to reason with God or negotiate through prayer, and the last is a doubtful or testing prayer. Reflecting on myself, I found that I looked at prayer as a ceremony, praying at a specific time every day; though repenting verbally, I didn’t have any transformation within; when praying, I didn’t say the words in my heart to God but repeated the same words or said nice-sounding words to deceive God. Wasn’t I just fooling God? At these thoughts, I was ashamed and felt myself to be so hypocritical. Then I came before God and prayed to Him, “Oh, God! Now I realize that my prayer is a religious ceremony which neither meets Your requirements nor conforms to Your will. I am willing to change the way I practice praying. May You lead me to understand what true prayer is.” Later, I found the right way to practice praying in God’s words. God word says: “Whilst praying, your heart must be at peace before God, and it must be sincere. You are truly communing and praying with God; you must not deceive God using nice-sounding words. Prayer is centered around that which God wishes to complete today. Ask God to bring you greater enlightenment and illumination, and bring your actual state and troubles before God to pray, and make resolution before God. Prayer is not the following of procedure, but the seeking of God using your true heart. Ask that God protect your heart, making it able to often be at peace before God, making you able to know yourself, and despise yourself, and forsake yourself in the environment that God has set for you, thus allowing you to have a normal relationship with God and making you someone who truly loves God.” Reading God’s words, I was moved. God taught me how to pray just like a mother taught her child to talk. In fact, He doesn’t ask us to praise Him with nice-sounding words or give long-winded speeches. He doesn’t accept the prayer with insincerity. Then I was reminded of Luke 18:13, “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but smote on his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” Though the publican only prayed to God with one sentence, his prayer was accepted by God. Actually, it matters not how nice-sounding are the words of our prayers—what is key is whether or not we speak honestly. As long as we speak the words in heart, God will accept our prayer. I also understood that to enter into true prayer, we must first be quiet before God, speaking from the heart instead of deceiving Him with words of praise or cheating Him with falsehoods or empty word; besides, we should pray about actual things and difficulties in our life, not to go through the process but to come before God sincerely to seek the truth and the way of practice, through which we can gain the work of Holy Spirit and have deeper knowledge of our own corrupt disposition and better understanding of God’s will to save man. After understanding these things, I prayed to God, “Oh, God! Thanks for Your enlightenment and illumination. Now I understand that prayer is the bridge for us to communicate with You. If our intentions are wrong, we can’t have a true communication with You. I am willing to pray according to Your requirements in the future and establish a normal relationship with You.” Since then, I began to pray according to God’s word, paying attention to speaking words in my heart to God, bringing my actual difficulties before Him, and asking Him to help me act according to His will. After some time, I had more words to say to God when praying rather than just repeating the same old things. And I found when I sincerely entrusted my difficulty to Him in prayer, He would fulfill my prayers. Thank God! Now I finally know how to pray truly to God.