By Zhang Mengke
We each harbor our own ideals: Some want to be scientists; some want to be doctors; some want to be singers; some want to be stars and celebrities, and so on. With a passion, everyone has his lofty aspirations. Ideals seem to become fulcrum in our lives. We, with ideals, labor and pay the price. However, after experiencing vicissitudes, we find that these ideals are fine, but the truth hurts. For the majority of us who struggle for ideals, ideals are only wonderful dreams that we can never achieve.
Nevertheless, because of our ignorance, even if we have been seriously damaged after suffering many setbacks and failures, we still contend with fate and struggle for ideals year after year. For example, to get promotion and become a high-ranking official, someone racks his brains to ponder how to struggle with others and how to ingratiate himself with his superiors. In officialdom, he exhausts all his wits and fights with others for half his life, but his heart is charged with anxieties. He dreads that others might take their revenge on him in the same way so that he may hover between life and death. Some people’s ideal is to lead a life where they tower above others. Then they hope to attain their goal by starting business—doing business or establishing a company. For the reason, they are busy rushing around, struggling, and wining and dining people of all levels with a subservient manner all day. Some even work from dawn to night and only sleep three or four hours every day. Thus, at such a young age, they are in a state of exhaustion: Some suffer from various illnesses because of overwork, then living a weary life; some early die from overwork. Some people’s ideal is to be stars. For this dream, they are apprenticed to famous teachers and learn the skills very hard. In order to play a starring role, they fawn and even sell their body. Their supposedly glamorous life is full of sadness.
Ideals make us crazy, joyful or sad; ideals leave us persevering, as well as miserable, depressed or weather-beaten. At times, ideals bring us hopes for the future; at times, they cause us to hit rock bottom; at times, they make us grieved; at times, they rekindle our hope; … We are often tied down by ideals. Several years going by quickly, time leaves its mark on our faces; our foreheads are covered with wrinkles; our bright eyes become cloudy; our sunny faces are marked by vicissitudes; we no longer stand erect. … Thinking carefully, we devote our life to working hard for ideals, but what have we gained? I can’t help pondering: Why is our painstaking pursuit of ideals rewarded with pain and torment?
says: “During the process of man’s learning of knowledge, Satan will employ any method so people satisfy their own lusts and realize their own ideals. Are you clear on exactly what road Satan wants to lead you to? Putting it mildly, people think there is nothing wrong with learning knowledge, that it is the natural course. They think that to foster lofty ideals or to have ambitions is just called having aspirations, and that this should be the right road for people to follow in life. If people can realize their own ideals, or make a go of a career in life—is it not more glorious to live that way? To not only honor one’s ancestors in that way but to also leave one’s mark on history—is this not a good thing? This is a good and proper thing in the eyes of worldly people. Does Satan, however, with its sinister motives, take people to this kind of road and then decide it is done? Certainly not. In fact, no matter how lofty man’s ideals are, no matter how realistic man’s desires are or how proper they may be, all that man wants to achieve, all that man seeks for is inextricably linked with two words. These two words are vitally important to the life of every person, and these are things Satan intends to instill in man. Which two words are these? One is ‘fame’ and one is ‘gain’: They are fame and gain. Satan uses a very subtle kind of way, a way very much in concert with people’s notions; it is not any kind of radical way. In the midst of unawareness, people come to accept Satan’s way of living, its rules of living, establishing life goals and their direction in life, and in doing so they also unknowingly come to have ideals in life. No matter how high-sounding these ideals in life seem, they are just a pretext that is inextricably linked to fame and gain. Any great or famous person, all people in fact, anything they follow in life relates only to these two words: ‘fame’ and ‘gain.’ Is this not so? (Yes.) People think that once they have fame and gain, they can then capitalize on them to enjoy high status and great wealth, and to enjoy life. Once they have fame and gain, they can then capitalize on them in their pleasure-seeking and unscrupulous enjoyment of the flesh. People willingly, albeit unknowingly, take their bodies, minds, all that they have, their futures and their destinies and hand them all over to Satan in order to attain the fame and gain they desire. People do this without ever a moment’s hesitation, ever ignorant of the need to recover it all.”
As it turns out, ideals are a sort of ambition and desire that Satan instills into us in the course of our learning knowledge, unbeknownst to us. So that we think we should establish lofty ideals and have ambitions and aspirations in life. It seems as if by having ideals, we could have a brilliant life and not waste our lives. Therefore, we all have our own ideals: Some want to be a scientist; some want to be a writer; some want to be a businessman and a member among nabobs; some want to make an official’s career and possess a high office with decent wages; some want to be a star, and so on. No matter what we desire to become, in fact, we are influenced by these satanic rules of living, “standing out from others and putting ourselves above others,” and “Men should always strive to be better than their contemporaries.” So we want to go ahead, rank higher than others, be in the limelight and get others’ admiration, which is all searching for fame and gain.
To fulfill our wish, we strive, fight and struggle; even someone stops at nothing and uses various plots and schemes solely to make his ideals come true. Without realizing when acting so, we’re opposing God’s sovereignty based on our arrogant and conceited nature. In this way, how can we receive His blessings? We can only live in Satan’s deceit and be harmed. Just as many people spend most of their lives in working, and later, they turn grey and lose their health but get nothing in the end. As a result, because their ideals come to naught, their hearts feel unbearable pain. And they complain about Heaven and earth all day, feel disheartened, and even become mired in defeat and despondent. Someone even escapes from reality through suicide. Now I see clearly that Satan turns out to use ideals to let us satisfy our ambitions and desires, oppose God’s rule and disobey God’s orders.
Maybe someone of us thinks: I work hard for half my life. Although I suffer hardships and fatigue, I obtain the life that I want—driving a luxury car, living in a big house, and being looked up to and admired by others. But dwelling on it, we can find: No matter what material enjoyments we have, what can we do? That is merely temporary, and it can even be said that the more we get, the emptier our heart is, and the more boring our life is. Some people, so as to shake off boredom and emptiness, begin to hanker after excitement—taking drugs, gambling, and finding a mistress, then living a debauched and rotten life. Unwittingly, we face a greater disaster: Some people die of their addiction to drugs; due to having mistresses, some contract all kinds of venereal diseases and even AIDS, which causes their death. Come to think of it, aren’t our ideals the means of Satan unboundedly devastating and torturing us? Despite whether we fulfill our ideals or not, we are in pain.
Since nice ideals and great ambitions bring us such sufferings, then what is our goal of pursuit in life we should have?
With the question, I continued to read God’s word: “When you repeatedly investigate and carefully dissect the various goals of life that people pursue and their various different ways of living, you will find that not one of them fits the Creator’s original intention when He created humanity. All of them draw people away from the Creator’s sovereignty and care; they are all pits into which humanity falls, and which lead them to hell. After you recognize this, your task is to lay aside your old view of life, stay far from various traps, let God take charge of your life and make arrangements for you, try only to submit to God’s orchestrations and guidance, to have no choice, and to become a person who worships God.”
“That is, no matter what kind of family you are born into, and no matter what your quality, mind, thinking or any other aspect is like in society or amongst other people, your destiny, your all, is held within God’s orchestrations and is not up to you. The path you should choose is to understand how God arranges and leads everything about you, and how God will lead you in the future. You should seek to understand God’s intention and His will, and then live your life, go live in accordance with the direction of the destiny that the Creator orchestrates and rules for you. Living in this way is right and proper; it is not to vie, to rob, to seize, to oppose or to scrutinize the Creator’s intention, or to scrutinize and oppose everything that God arranges for you. You are not to scrutinize or oppose these things. Is it not right and proper for people to live this way?”
Our future can’t be planned by us, our fates aren’t in our hands, and ideals can’t come true based on our own efforts. Our whole lives are all in God’s hands. People’s families, rich or poor, the high-ranking officials’ or ordinary people’s, are all within God’s rule and arrangements, and no one can change. God created us humans and He loves us, so He is responsible for our lives. God is our only reliance. As a matter of fact, that each of us sets foot on the earth is arranged by God and each of us carries our own mission. If we live for accomplishing our missions and accept the Creator’s ordination for us, such a life is meaningful and valuable.
is not to deprive us of our ideals, much less make us live in pain, but hope that we can live happily in His eyes and feel true peace. Under God’s guidance, we no longer hold up our heads and beat our brains out to seek fortune and fame and chase the so-called ideals. All we need to do is to steadfastly live before God, accept and obey His sovereignty and arrangements, and pursue to be a man who worships God. Only thus can we break away from bitterness and sufferings, live happily under God’s care and protection, and gain freedom and release in our souls. In the case of Job, he tried to get to know God all his life and became a person fearing God and shunning evil. Therefore, he could obey all of God’s arrangements. Poor or rich, he could accept and submit to God’s arrangements. Even though he lost enormous possessions and all his sons and daughters, and suffered the attacks and judgment from his family and friends, he still, with no complaints, blessed God’s holy name and followed the way of fearing God and shunning evil; ultimately, he stood firm in his testimony, received God’s praises, and lived a valuable and significant life.
If we set aside the loads of ideals, learn to accept reality and obey God’s sovereignty and arrangements, then we will discover how beautiful life can be.
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