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  Preface to “The Path for New Life Growth”  

                                                                                                                     Wang En

I want to give thanks to God for making it possible for us to launch the English website of the New Life lessons. Before discussing the main focus of the lessons, I’d like to tell you briefly how God’s grace and mercy had led me onto this path of growing my new life.

I was brought up in a very pious and God-fearing home, and received a solid Christian education at a very young age. Although I lived a life that had all the appearances of a devout Christian and I thought I was a “good” Christian, I did not really know God, Jesus Christ or the concept of eternal life.

Therefore, I was not saved then.

By God’s mercy and grace, in 1952 when I was 14, I was truly born again. Upon receiving this great treasure, I was joyful and happy. I began to seriously study books on the fundamental truths and theology of Christianity. I thank God that through these books and the help of my family and pastors, my faith was firmly grounded in fundamental Biblical truths.

After my conversion I had such a great passion to serve that I was involved in many different kinds of ministries, running here and there like an unbridled horse and doing things that suited my temperament or were to my liking. I thought this would make me a good Christian bearing many fruits. However, in my everyday life, there were tension and disharmony with both my family members and co-workers. I blamed these conflicts on others because I thought I had truth on my side. I complained both in their presence and behind their backs. On one hand, I felt that the tension was caused entirely by others; and as for me, I thought I had sacrificed so much for the Lord that the problems I was encountering were part of my persecution for the sake of Christ. On the other hand, the Holy Spirit kept revealing to me my own wicked sinful nature. So I was caught up in the struggle as described in Romans Chapter 7.

Many Christian spiritual books have helped me strengthen my personal relationship with God; and through the illumination of the Holy Spirit I realized that I was only focusing on overcoming my own shortcomings to achieve my inner peace. I neglected to nurture the relationships of my new life with my family, church, as well as the people around me. I also neglected to fulfill my responsibilities and duties to them. As a result, many disharmonious and tense situations arose. However, when conflicts surfaced or when I was criticized by others, I did not turn to God for help. On the contrary, if I felt that there was peace in my heart, I would assume it was someone else’s fault, or it was an attack from Satan and I was just being persecuted for Christ’s sake. Such was the state I was in: being so self-righteous, pitiful and ludicrous!

Under such disharmonious situations, I continued to pray and seek God’s mercy and grace. For years I have been searching for ways to live out a life that truly reflects my Christian faith. In other words, what is the right way to “hold out the word of life” (Philippians 2:16)? How I long to live out such a life as “doing everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.” (Philippians 2:14-15) My conviction is that after receiving the new life, God does not want us to seek only inner growth without external expression or manifestation. In fact, one who seeks the growth of this new life will not only care about his or her personal relationship with God, but also seek peace with one’s family, church, fellow Christians, and the society as a whole so long as the fundamental truth is not compromised.

In the midst of my many discords, I kept asking myself the following questions (Actually, it was the Holy Spirit working inside me.):

(1) At the wedding banquet of the Lamb, the saints will be given fine linen to wear, bright and clean, which stands for their righteous acts. I have been trying so hard to serve the Lord but have yet to live in peace and harmony. Were my actions righteous deeds?

(2) Before the throne of Christ we will be judged by the law that gives freedom. Such law governs both our words and our deeds! Do I speak and act according to the law if I only do what I like and do it my own way? What is this law that gives freedom after all?

(3) When Christ returns to take up his church, He will use fire to test the quality of each man’s work. Is the work I am doing today of silver and gold, or of wood and straw?

I have been searching for the way to attain “liberation and freedom.” I have cried out to God for I wished to enjoy the freedom that was promised by Jesus: “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” But what is the path to become truly free?

Thank God that “those who pray will be heard; those who seek will find; and those who knock the door will be open.” Jesus Christ has already told us the way of life: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) Through the mouth of the apostle Paul, the Holy Spirit also told us this: “As we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit…” (Galatians 5:25) and “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…” (Galatians 5:22-23). We can recognize the tree by its fruits. The fact that I did not bear the fruit of peace when dealing with others indicates that I must have not walked completely on the right path of following and obeying the Holy Spirit.

I give thanks to God that despite my many years of struggles, failures, and bitterness in trying to be a good servant for the Lord, He finally opened up my heart, and guided me onto the path of life. Now I realize that it is not that hard to have “righteous deeds,” to have works of “silver and gold,” and to speak and act by “the law that gives freedom.”

The lyrics of “Amazing Grace” accurately describe my situation:

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

As the Scriptures say, “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved… Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:8-13) The way of life is actually the way of calling on the Lord’s name; the way of “acknowledging He is the Lord, the Lord resurrected from the dead, the glorious King”; the way of “beginning with the Holy Spirit, living by the Holy Spirit, and keeping in step with the Holy Spirit”; the way of “bearing your cross to follow Christ”; and the way of “losing your life, in order to gain life.” When I started to learn to walk on this path, I really tasted the “true freedom of the Son,” and experienced that “his yoke is easy and his burden light.” My relationship with my co-workers, my husband, and my children started to change for the better.

This is why I am so eager to share this series of New Life lessons with my fellow Christians. I’m also willing to share with you some of the revelations I have received from God, even though they are still evolving.