Following God’s Footprints

Spiritual Journey of Forsaking the False Gods and Embracing the True One

Before, we enshrined many “gods” in my home such as the fortune god, the earth god, the door god, etc. In the beginning, I just went through the motions when enshrining them, and never took them seriously. Later, my husband criticized me for it, saying that it wouldn’t be efficacious if I didn’t worship them piously enough. Upon hearing what he said, I thought: Will these “gods” really bless us with more money, fleshly peace, and good health if we worship them? Now that my husband said so, I would do it devoutly. So whenever we had any trouble, we would unhesitatingly bow down to those “gods” for protection. We did it quite devoutly, in the hope that we could receive more blessings. Later on, I began to worship them by often offering fruits to them. Especially on festivals or special days, I was busier with the worship: I had to buy fruits and five sacrifices (pork, chicken, duck, fish, and egg) and burn a lot of joss paper to worship them. No matter how far away I went that day, I had to come back home and worship them, because I feared that I would offend those “gods” and thus receive no blessings from them if I didn’t do so. At the beginning of a year, we prayed for blessings and made many vows to those “gods.” And we had to redeem our vows to them by buying and enshrining them a lot of votive offerings at the end of a year. The older generation often said that if one made a vow but didn’t redeem it, he might incur some unexpected disasters. So it seemed that I was busy with these things every day, all year long. The enshrined sacrifice always had an awful smell and tasted bad, and I wanted to throw them away but felt it was such a waste. As my husband seldom had meals at home, I alone had to eat all of them. So, every time I forced myself to eat them all. But shortly afterwards, the next festival arrived. Things repeated like that, and I had to eat the strange-tasting food once again. Besides, every Kalends and fifteen in old style, we women needed to keep certain prohibitions. For example, we couldn’t wash our hair on those days, even though it was very dirty and stinky, otherwise, bad luck would follow. And in a few certain months of each year, we could only enjoy vegetarian meals and were not allowed to enjoy any meat dishes. Yet for the peace of my family, I tolerated all of the sufferings. However, though I had worshiped these “gods” year after year, things in my family didn’t go well: Both of my daughters-in-law were unable to have children; I myself suffered from gynecological diseases, which couldn’t be healed though I saw doctors everywhere; my husband got coronary heart disease and was likely to die at any time. This series of misfortunes plunged me deep into thought: “My husband’s family, regardless of how poor their financial condition is, have constantly been enshrining those ‘gods’ for generations and dare not neglect them in the least. Why are there still so many troubles in our family?” I began to suspect that those “gods” I worshiped were false gods. I didn’t want to enshrine them any more. But at the thought of the word “It’s easier to invite the ‘devil’ in than to send him away,” I continued enshrining them very reluctantly. Then I slid into confusion and agony unconsciously.

It lasted until one day when God’s end-time salvation came upon me. A sister preached the gospel to me and told me, “People believe in many gods, but there is only one true God. How should we discern the true God and the false?  God says: ‘Mankind is not guided by a particular religious head or leader; rather, the whole of mankind is led by the Creator, who created the heavens and earth and all things, and who also created mankind—this is a fact. Although the world has several major religions, regardless of how great they are, they all exist under the dominion of the Creator, and none of them can exceed the scope of this dominion. The development of mankind, social progress, the development of natural sciences—each is inseparable from the arrangements of the Creator, and this work is not something that can be done by any given religious head. … He who is incapable of creating the world will be incapable of bringing it to an end, whereas He who created the world will surely bring it to an end. Therefore, if one is unable to bring the age to an end and is merely able to help man cultivate his mind, then he will surely not be God, and will surely not be the Lord of mankind. He will be incapable of doing such great work; there is only one who can carry out such work, and all that are unable to do this work are surely enemies and not God. All evil religions are incompatible with God, and since they are incompatible with God, they are enemies of God. All work is done by this one true God, and the entire universe is commanded by this one God’ (The Word Appears in the Flesh). From  God’s words, we see that there is only one true God who created everything and rules over all things. He is Almighty God—the Creator who governs all things in the entire universe. Only the true God can lead and supply all mankind. The development of mankind, the change of society, and the progress of natural science are inseparable from the sovereignty and designs of the Creator. Although Satan and other evil spirits claim to be ‘gods’ and can perform some signs and wonders to deceive man, they don’t possess any of God’s substance, much less can they do the work the Creator does. So we should worship the only true God alone.” Only after the sister’s fellowship was I aware that what I had worshiped was not the true God but Satan and evil spirits. Afterwards, the sister continued, “In the past we regarded all those who could perform some wonders and signs as gods. Furthermore, we categorized them into different kinds according to our own imaginations, conceptions and preferences. So we worshiped and enshrined them blindly. However, no matter how we enshrine them, they can’t bring a single favorable turn to our fates or point out the bright way to us. It is because only the true God can govern our fates and can express the truths to show us the direction to go forward, bring us the way of the transformation of life disposition, and bestow a pleasant destination upon us. However, Satan and evil spirits are incapable of doing such works, so they can’t be called God. Sometimes it seems efficacious after man worships them, for they can perform some signs and wonders beyond our capability and bring us some temporary enjoyments of the flesh. Therefore, we place hope on and cling to them, mistake them for God, and totally forget the true God and enshrine them. We have worshiped them so devoutly, but what do we obtain in the end?” Then the sister showed me a passage of God’s words: “Meanwhile, those who worship idols or false gods live every day bound by Satan, restrained by all kinds of rules and taboos—today one thing is prohibited, tomorrow another—there is no freedom in their lives. They are like prisoners in shackles, living life with no joy to speak of. What does ‘prohibition’ represent? It represents constraints, bonds, and evil. As soon as a person worships an idol, they are worshiping a false god, an evil spirit. Prohibition comes along when such activities are engaged in. You cannot eat this or that, today you cannot go out, tomorrow you cannot cook, the next day you cannot move to a new house, certain days must be selected for weddings and funerals and even for giving birth to a child. What is this called? This is called prohibition; it is the bondage of mankind, and it is the shackles of Satan and evil spirits controlling people and restraining their hearts and bodies. Do these prohibitions exist with God? When speaking of the holiness of God, you should first think of this: With God there are no prohibitions. God has principles in His words and work, but there are no prohibitions, because God Himself is the truth, the way, and the life” (“God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words made me recall that since I worshiped false gods, I lived in Satan’s bondage and restriction without any freedom: This couldn’t be done, and that couldn’t be eaten; washing the hair was not allowed today; if I’d like to go out the next day, I needed to see beforehand whether it was an appropriate day to go out and which direction was unfavorable to me. Even when I planned to attend a wedding or funeral, I had to check whether it was incompatible with my own birth year…. These prohibitions and rules like intangible shackles, controlled my every word and deed, every act and move, so much so that I couldn’t have a normal human life. Although I kept these regulations cautiously and required myself strictly according to them, many unfortunate things still happened to my family. Even if I had done my utmost to enshrine them or worshiped more “gods,” it was of no use. Not until that day when I read God’s words did I suddenly become aware that Satan and evil spirits bind our hearts through those contemptible means and mislead us into thinking that they can bestow peace to us. As a result, we keep worshiping them and begging them in order to remove our pain. Consequently, we have no place for God in our heart, betray and stay far away from the true God, thus losing God’s care and keeping. Finally Satan and evil spirits achieve their purposes of controlling man, occupying man, fooling man, and devouring man. After I knew the truth, I felt remorse for my former ignorance and naivety: I had mistaken false gods for the true God to worship but overlooked the existence of the true God. The sister went on fellowshipping with me, “With God, there is not any bondage and prohibition. All things God created for mankind are good in God’s eyes and are all prepared for man to enjoy. In God is total freedom, total release, for He is the truth, the way, and the life. From the beginning to the end, no matter whether man believes in Him or not, He gives man free choices. God just tells us what kind of people will be saved, and what kind of people will be eliminated and punished. He silently supplies man, warns man, and exhorts man with His word but never forces man to do anything. Even though God has authority and power to require man to do everything according to His will, He doesn’t do so. God is very principled in His words and actions. Only Satan compels you to do this or that and makes you restricted without any release. All that God does is treasuring, caring for, and showing mercy for mankind so that we can live in the light and enjoy everything He bestows. However, mankind would rather live in the darkness than come to the light, and they don’t worship God but worship Satan—the enemies of mankind. Isn’t this the sorrow of mankind? …” After I listened to the sister’s fellowship, I had some discernment. So I made a resolution to forsake the false gods and follow the true God, because only if I worship the true God, can I break away from the bondage and restriction of Satan’s influence of darkness and become truly liberated and free.

Although I made the resolution to forsake those false gods and follow  God, I was still a bit concerned that Satan would not let me go and would bring greater and more disasters to my family if I stopped worshiping them. The sister seemed to read my mind and then read two passages of God’s words to me, “Although the skills and abilities of Satan are greater than those of man, although it can do things that are unattainable by man, regardless of whether you envy or aspire to what Satan does, regardless of whether you hate or are disgusted by these things, regardless of whether or not you are capable of seeing them, and regardless of how much Satan can achieve, or how many people it can deceive into worshiping and enshrining it, and regardless of how you define it, you cannot possibly say that it has the authority and power of God. You should know that God is God, there is only one God, and moreover, you should know that only God has authority, that only God has the power to control and rule all things. Just because Satan has the ability to deceive people and can impersonate God, imitate the signs and miracles made by God, and has done similar things as God, you mistakenly believe that God is not unique, that there are many Gods, that these different Gods merely have greater or lesser skills, and that there are differences in the breadth of the power that they wield. You rank their greatness in the order of their arrival and according to their age, and you wrongly believe that there are other deities apart from God, and think that the power and authority of God are not unique.” “Regardless of how ‘powerful’ Satan is, regardless of how audacious and ambitious it is, regardless of how great is its ability to inflict damage, regardless of how wide-ranging are the techniques with which it corrupts and lures man, regardless of how clever are the tricks and schemes with which it intimidates man, regardless of how changeable is the form in which it exists, it has never been able to create a single living thing, has never been able to set down laws or rules for the existence of all things, and has never been able to rule and control any object, whether animate or inanimate. Within the cosmos and the firmament, there is not a single person or object that was born from it, or exists because of it; there is not a single person or object that is ruled by it, or controlled by it. On the contrary, it not only has to live under the dominion of God, but, moreover, must obey all of God’s orders and commands. Without God’s permission, it is difficult for Satan to touch even a drop of water or grain of sand upon the land; without God’s permission, Satan is not even free to move the ants about upon the land, let alone mankind, who was created by God” (“God Himself, the Unique I” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). From God’s words, I had a clearer understanding that only God has the unique authority and has the power to rule over all things and set down laws or rules for their existence. Regardless of how “great” are the “skills and abilities” of Satan and false gods, and how clever and secret are the tricks and schemes with which they deceive and intimidate man, they have never been able to rule and control any object, whether animate or inanimate. Without God’s permission, it is difficult for Satan to touch any things created by God—let alone mankind, whom God wants to save. God’s words gave me faith and strength: In the past, blinded and fooled by Satan, I worshipped the false gods reluctantly even though I didn’t want to. Now, thanks to God’s great love and exaltation, I was fortunate to know the Creator in my lifetime. I should make a clean break with Satan and evil spirits and worship Almighty God in spirit and in truth. But I immediately thought, “Will my husband agree if I no longer worship Satan and false gods? For he is the most superstitious person. Will he abuse me? Or beat me? Or even….” I told the sister my misgivings, and she asked me to read a passage of God’s words, “Since the day man came into existence, God has ever worked thus, managing the universe, directing the rules of change for all things and the trajectory of their movement. Like all things, man is quietly and unknowingly nourished by the sweetness and rain and dew from God; like all things, man unknowingly lives beneath the orchestration of God’s hand. Man’s heart and spirit are held in the hand of God, everything of his life is beheld in the eyes of God. Regardless of whether or not you believe this, any and all things, whether living or dead, will shift, change, renew, and disappear in accordance with God’s thoughts. Such is the way in which God presides over all things” (The Word Appears in the Flesh). Then she said to me, “God is the Creator, the Ruler of the universe. All the objects, whether animate or inanimate, are in the orchestration and manipulation of God. The heart and spirit of man are also held in the hand of God. Everyone has to submit under God’s authority. We shall just obey God, look to God, and commit everything to God. I believe God will lead us.” Hearing the sister’s fellowship, I nodded in agreement: Yes, since I have believed in the true God now, I should rely on God!

From then on, I prayed to God every day, “O Almighty God, I’m willing to rely on You, and look up to You. May You protect my heart, so that I won’t be restricted by my husband and will stop worshiping these evil spirits and false gods but worship You wholeheartedly! Thank You, God! Amen!” At the beginning, I stopped burning joss sticks but still offered sacrifices there. Sometimes when my husband was at home and asked me whether I did worshiping, I would make some excuses and didn’t say more. This was God’s wondrous deeds! A period of time later, when I saw that nothing happened to my family even though I didn’t worship these false gods, I was very much released, not bound by the regulations of burning joss sticks any more. For example, I needn’t worship it on an empty stomach after getting up and grooming myself. Now I felt easy and steady, and had peace in my heart. I knew it was God who was by my side caring for and protecting me, and I thanked God from the bottom of my heart. Nevertheless, whenever festivals came, I was still anxious, for in the past I always worshiped the false gods together with my husband, and what should I do to avoid it now? So, when the festivals were approaching, I would pray to God ceaselessly, “O Almighty God! I thank and praise You. It’s You who gradually lead me to break away from the deceit and bondage of the false gods. Now I feel assured and peaceful in my heart, but I haven’t completely broken away from their bondage and still been restricted by my husband. Now the festival is drawing near. O God, I commit my difficulty into Your hand. May you make a way out for me so that I won’t need to worship those false gods any longer….” Every time after making such a prayer, I saw God’s wondrous deeds: Sometimes my husband was on business trips, so he asked me to do worshiping myself; sometimes when he was at home, he said that he was too tired to get up and asked me to do it alone; or sometimes when we were about to make the worship, he received a call and told me that there was something urgent to deal with and he had to go out, and that I would do it alone…. Just like that, I avoided doing worshiping again and again. I knew it was God who made a way out for me in these circumstances and fulfilled my resolution not to worship Satan. But later I thought: My husband, who is bound by Satan and false gods without release too, is also a victim; why don’t I preach God’s gospel to him, and let him forsake the false gods and follow the true One as well? Therefore, I often prayed to God, asking Him to give me proper words so that I could preach the gospel and testify God to my husband. One day, I finally mustered up my courage to testify about God’s work to him. My husband asked me to believe seriously and said that he would also believe if his business was not so busy. His answer was indeed beyond my expectation. It was absolutely God’s deed that my husband’s mind changed. Thereafter, with faith, I also told him that what we worshiped were false gods which deceived man and I wanted to “send” them away. To my surprise, he neither abused me nor got angry with me, but asked me calmly, “We have worshiped them for such a long time. It is said that ‘It is easier to invite the “devil” than to send him away.’ If we throw them away just like this, will it cause any misfortune?” I called to mind those passages of God’s words which the sister fellowshipped with me before, then I read them to him. Besides, I shared my experiences with him as to how I tasted God’s care and protection for man and God’s love for man after I believed in  God. He listened attentively. After my fellowship, he said with a smile, “Do whatever you like.” I thanked God in my heart persistently. I truly saw that everyone’s thoughts and ideas are within God’s control, and that they all move, change, renew, and disappear according to God’s thoughts. The next morning, I smashed all the false gods into pieces with a hammer, and dumped them into a garbage bin with the things used for worshiping the false gods.

From then on, I felt released and shook off the shackles which had oppressed me for decades, and there was no more prohibition to bind me. I couldn’t express my thanks to God in words. O God! Your deeds are truly amazing. In the universe, only You are the true Ruler, and only You can bring the light to mankind. In You is total release and total freedom, without any prohibition. It is You that bring the truth to man, show man the bright way, and bestow eternal life upon man. You are the only true God of eternal constancy.