March 5, 2018, Monday, Cloudy
The exams are getting close again. In today’s class, the teacher handed the workbooks out to us, and everyone started to do the exercises carefully. After a short time, my deskmate Sophia asked me: “Mandy, do you know how to answer question eight on page 16?” Hearing her words, I began to hesitate in my heart: Her exam results were great last month. Should I tell her how to answer the question? If I tell her, then won’t she have the chance to surpass me in the next exam? No! I cannot tell her. If by any chance she knows more than I do, then won’t my status be so high? Subsequently, I hemmed and hawed: “Sophia, I am not clear about this question either.” Then she turned to ask others. When I saw that other classmates told her the solution, I was very upset and thought: “If only they didn’t tell the answer to her. Then she wouldn’t know how to answer it, nor would she have much chance of surpassing me. Recently, Sophia has been studying very hard. Whenever she meets the questions she doesn’t understand, she will humbly seek for others’ advice. If she keeps on like this, it won’t be long before she surpasses me in grades. Then will I stand out?” The more I thought about this, the more I felt uneasy. Thinking that my status would be threatened, I had no mind to listen in class. At the thought of this matter, I felt suffocated in my heart and thought that Sophia was annoying in particular.
March 13, 2018, Tuesday, Rainy
Today, I went to the school gleefully. But when I learned of Sophia applying for the same high school as me, I was very much out of sorts. During the class, when I saw once again that my classmates near me all went to ask for her advice whenever they had questions, I was extremely jealous of her and thought inside: “It’s because of her that the classmates don’t ask for my advice but surround her every day. She applied for the same high school as me and we will study the same subjects. If we both are still in the same class and her grades are better than mine, then won’t I fail to stand out but be outshone by her?” Thinking of this, I got extremely angry.
After school, I got home and sat on the sofa listlessly. I thought that every time I went to school from last month, I wasn’t in a good mood. It was just like a big stone pressing on my heart, making me feel depressed and miserable. Thinking that other classmates all asked Sophia questions and that my position in their hearts was going into a decline, I particularly disliked her. However, I suddenly realized that I am a Christian, and that disliking her was not in accordance with. So, I quickly came before God and prayed to Him: “God! Recently I’m so miserable inside, just like being out of breath. I always worry that Sophia will surpass me, and I even dislike her for this. I know that this doesn’t conform to Your intention but I still cannot control myself. May You be my guide. I no longer want to live so miserably.”
March 22, 2018, Thursday, Fine
In today’s gathering, I told my recent situation to a sister. She sent me two passages of: “You always worry that others will stand out more than you, that others will become greater than you. Is this not being jealous of worth and ability?” “When you see someone stand out, you are jealous, feel hatred, complain, and feel it is unfair. ‘Why can’t I stand out? Why is it never me? Why is it always he who gets to stand out and it’s never my turn?’ … Is not a person’s falling into these conditions a trap? This is the bondage of a satanically corrupted nature.”
Having read God’s words, I couldn’t help but think back on my state in this month. I realized that I had lived in jealousy. When I saw that Sophia’s grades improved, I started to feel jealous of her, worrying that one day she would surpass me. So when Sophia asked me questions, I didn’t tell her the solutions even if I knew them. When I saw that others all asked her questions rather than me, I became more jealous of her and even began to dislike her, complaining that she stole my glory. All this was caused because my ambition to seek fame and status was too intense. I also recalled that from childhood I had been imbued with Satan’s ideas and viewpoints, such as “One should make a distinguished name for himself and bringing honor and glory to his ancestors,” “People struggle to go upward, but water flows downward,” and so forth. Living by these satanic viewpoints, whatever I did, I always desired to be number one and sought to obtain the high praises of others; whichever group of people I stayed in, I was always wanting to be the leader, unwilling to be inferior to anyone. As a result, I became more and more arrogant, and once my desire was shattered I would live in pain and depression. Comparing myself with God’s words and reflecting on my actions, I saw that I was actually bound by satanic disposition so my heart could not be released.
I went on reading the following words, and then I saw God’s words say: “What must a person obtain before he can free himself of the vexations of these things, loosen the bonds of these things, and be able truly to be free and liberated? On one hand, a person must see through things: These fame and fortune and positions are tools and methods for Satan to corrupt people, to entrap them, to harm them, and to cause their degeneration. You must first see clearly this aspect in theory. … and then you must learn to give up these things and set them aside. If you are always focusing on these things, always struggling for these things, if your heart is fully occupied and filled by these things, if you never want to put them aside and you always harbor them without putting them aside, then you are being controlled by and bound by these things. You have become a slave, and you cannot give them up. You must learn to give up and set aside these things, to yield, to recommend others, to allow them to stand out. Do not struggle furiously and rush to take advantage as soon as you encounter an opportunity to stand out or obtain honor. … The more you give up and set aside, the more peaceful your heart will be and the more space will open up within it, and the more your condition will improve. The more you struggle and compete, the darker will be your condition; try it if you don’t believe it. If you want to turn around this kind of condition, if you want not to be controlled by these things, then you must first set them aside and give them up.”
God’s words pointed out to me the path of practice: If I want to break away from the bondage of jealousy, I must first see through Satan’s scheme and the fact that seeking reputation and status is the tool for Satan to corrupt people; and then I must learn to give up, and set aside my desire. I thought: In these days, I was always comparing myself to Sophia, and anxious that her grades would surpass mine every day. As a result, I felt enormous stress and I lived a very tiring life indeed. I was also increasingly lacking in the likeness of a Christian: The love and help I should give to my classmates all disappeared; on the contrary, I was filled with jealousy and resentment against Sophia. In fact, the progress or decline of her grades had nothing to do with my study. It was because my ambition to toil for fame and fortune was so strong that I lived in misery. Doesn’t that mean struggling for fame and gain is just the method for Satan to corrupt man? From now on, no matter whether Sophia will surpass me or not, I should practice the truth in accordance with God’s words—setting fame and status aside. If she asks me questions, I should help her, being a person pleased by God. If I don’t put the truth into practice for my personal gain, I will only become more and more miserable in my heart, and will also be despised by God. If I can’t obtain God’s approval, even though I’m looked upon by all my classmates, what meaning does it have? If I don’t cast off my corrupt satanic disposition in the very end, I still will not be able to be saved by God. I should seek to become a person who is after God’s heart, and only this is valuable and meaningful. Now I understand God’s will and feel very relaxed and released. Thank God!
March 25, 2018, Sunday, Fine
Today, in mathematics class, Sophia asked me: “Mandy, do you know how to answer the second question on page 17?” Hearing this, I was hesitating in my heart: If I tell her, she can resolve one more question and her grades will be better than mine in the future. What shall I do then? But if I don’t tell her, I’m going against God’s requirement and I’m still controlled by my corrupt satanic disposition. As I was hesitating, a passage of God’s words that I had read a few days ago floated up into my mind: “You must learn to give up and set aside these things, to yield…. The more you give up and set aside, the more peaceful your heart will be and the more space will open up within it, and the more your condition will improve. The more you struggle and compete, the darker will be your condition; try it if you don’t believe it.” God’s words reminded me in time. “That’s right. If I still struggle for status, I will only live in suffering increasingly. I’m a Christian, so I should live out the likeness of a Christian: Encountering anything, I should stand on the side of truth. If I scheme against others for selfish interest like the unbelievers in the world, I’m humiliating God and God will despise me.” Thinking of this, I patiently told Sophia how to solve this question. After I practiced like this, I felt very happy and came to find that it was so peaceful and joyful to practice according to the words of God. Thanks for God’s guidance!
April 18, 2018, Wednesday, Fine
Over this period of time, when I acted in accordance with God’s words, I got along with Sophia better and better. Several days ago, I saw the words of God say: “Don’t be self-righteous; take the strengths of others and use them to offset your own deficiencies, … and see whether or not their lives, actions and speech are worth learning from.” Then I started to put myself aside and focused on observing the strengths of Sophia. Gradually, I really no longer dislike her but feel she has many strengths worthy for me to learn. For example, she does everything very carefully while I usually do things carelessly; she can seek humbly when she meets the questions she does not understand while I am especially vainglorious, so it is very difficult for me to put myself aside to ask for others’ help; and when I encounter the question I can’t solve, she will help me with patience. Her strengths exactly allow me to be able to see clearly my own deficiencies and shortcomings, prompting me to improve myself. I feel it is very helpful for me to get along with her. Before, I didn’t understand God’s will and was hoodwinked by fame and status, so that I was constantly jealous of her, unable to find her strengths, and very miserable to get along with her every day. Now, when I put aside my selfish desires, it becomes relaxing and happy to get along with my deskmate. Thank God for leading me to cast off the bondage of fame and status. All the glory be to Almighty God. Amen!
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