Happiness and God. Where do I fit?

Do you ever wonder where you can find the things that will make you happy?

We often try to find happiness through the things in this world. But nothing in this world can make us fully content and satisfy our souls. This is because the things in this world are only temporary; they don’t last forever. If you were to get the best things in this world, you would never catch up to the latest technology, or trend. This world keeps on changing. You will never get everything you want.

Think of it this way: Our soul is like a hole…

But the problem is our soul is of eternal value. We want to try to make ourselves fully happy, content and satisfied. But if we find the source of happiness from this earth, full of things of temporary value, it will never fill our souls up, no matter how many things we have. The only thing that can fill your eternal soul up, is something else that is also of infinite value. And that is God. Nothing else can ever make us happier than God himself.

Blaise Pascal, a French philosopher and mathematician once said:

“There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator, made know through Jesus Christ.”

Blaise Pascal

The only thing that can truly fill this ‘vacuum‘ in our hearts is God. It cannot be satisfied with any other thing on earth, ONLY God, through Christ Jesus.

Happiness has become an important factor that defines our life in this post-modern age as teens. Yet, we don’t realise that there is something more that can satisfy our souls than just the things we can see in this world — it is only God that can make us truly happy.

Introducing Sin

Sin is rebellion against God. It all started with The Fall, and ever since mankind fell into sin, all the generations until now have had a sinful nature. As Romans 5:12 states, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people because all sinned.” (Read Genesis 3 for the story!)

According to 1 John 3:4, “Everyone who sins breaks the law; sin is lawlessness.”

God’s ultimate design is meant to be for us to find our satisfaction and enjoyment in Him alone. But in sin we turn away from God, and as a result, we seek happiness without God.

The Curse of Sin

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). The wages of sin is death, both physical and spiritual death. Because of our sins, we are all spiritually dead meaning we are separated from God. Because of the curse of sin, we are never truly satisfied when we try to find happiness because we are separated from Him, our only true source of happiness.

This spiritual death leads to our physical death where then we will be eternally dead — eternally and completely separated from God.

Reconciliation and True Happiness

The good news is, Jesus painfully died on the cross just for us — sinful and wicked beings, so that we can be reunited with Him and have a relationship with Him. He did something that we don’t deserve, yet His love for us is more than our sin and iniquities.

As Colossians 1:20 states: “and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”

How can God make us happy?

So we now know that God is our only source of true happiness, but the question remains:

How does God give us full satisfaction?

This is what the Bible says about this. Here are three things how God is our ultimate happiness.

Joy in Having a Relationship with God

Psalm 16:8-9,11

“I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence, there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

If we truly have God in our hearts, Psalm 19 states that we will receive happiness and find joy in the Lord. We become happy in the enjoyment of God, having hope in Him. This is what makes us happy: having a relationship with God. Having a relationship with God is the greatest gift you can ever receive because in Him, you find truth, protection and hope. This is something that the world cannot offer. Friends can hurt you, what you put your hope in won’t always happen. But this free gift that God offers to us assures true hope and joy in the Lord that will never fail us.

Joy in our suffering

Romans 5:1-4

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

This joy that God gives to us, doesn’t mean that we, as Christians will never experience any struggles or suffering because suffering is the result of sin. But, we learn to rejoice through suffering. The reason God gives us suffering is to strengthen our

faith and draw us closer to Himself — this shows us the significance of having a relationship with God.

Locked-in Happiness

John 16: 22

“So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”

John 16:22 says that your heart will rejoice, and no man can take that joy from you. All the things in this world can be taken away by man or the world. Having the assurance that our joy in God is locked in forever once we’ve received it and that no man or anything can take that away from us, proves to us that this is a promising kind of happiness that definitely cannot be found anywhere in this world no matter how much we try. It’s an unbreakable happiness between you and God. This kind of joy is more than worth it because it is inseparable.

Where’s Your True Happiness?

God’s love for us and the happiness He gives us could never compare to the world’s happiness and satisfaction. All of the worldly desires will never be enough to fully satisfy our souls. Where is your true happiness? Have you confessed your sins, believed in what Jesus has done and place your happiness in God? The happiness the world offers is fleeting, it’s only temporary. The happiness God offers us is eternal and everlasting. In God is where you find true joy.

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2

Erin Kurnia (14) is one of the writers for RE Generation-Z. She hopes that by God’s grace, she can write to spread the Truth and happiness to others, that they too may be children of God living in the light. You will find that she really enjoys playing piano, baking, sewing and designing.

Loving Rebuke

What comes to mind when the word rebuke comes up? Some may instantly think of parents, friends, past experiences, and so on. We might even think it’s very annoying. But have we ever thought of what could happen if rebuke didn’t exist?

One of the greatest acts of love we can give each other is a rebuke. Rebuke limits and restricts us from our destructive behaviour. Without rebuke, we would probably be way more sinful and wicked than we are right now. Even though we find it hard to accept rebuke, we must remember that the correct type of rebuke is meant to be an act of love for us. It is very simple just to let rebukes pass by, and ignore them, but actually listening to each rebuke may have eternal implications.

God put people like family, friends, and mentors in our life to rebuke and correct us. Many times rebuke can be poorly delivered; maybe at the wrong times, with anger, or the motivation for the rebuke is not quite right. However, we want to make every one of the rebukes count for us, letting God deal with the rest. The important thing is that you make an effort to accept that rebuke humbly and give thanks to God for those people in your life who love you so much that they can tell you something hard and difficult.

2 Timothy 3:16-17; 4:2:

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.”

2 Timothy notes that Scripture can be a source of rebuke, correction, and training for us. Through the Bible, we can learn many things that we might not know until we pay great attention, and even tell us something we’re doing wrong that’s worth fixing. The Bible confronts us, and leads us to the right path, not the destructive, even though it may be harder. “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

When talking about rebuke, there are mainly two types of people.

The first is the one who embraces rebuke; who is wise and walks in the path of righteousnesses. These people listen to rebuke, fix their ways, and accept rebuke in humility, love and understanding. 

However, the second type of person decides to despise rebuke, and not accept rebuke; they are selfish and on their way to the path of destruction, which may lead them to great danger. To be honest, we all sometimes act like the second person, me included. When parents rebuke us, we may realise that we grumble and complain, doing not-so-obvious acts like rolling our eyes or making gestures. We may find ourselves doing that a lot of the time when people rebuke us. Nonetheless, we all must remember that God has put these people in our lives to correct us and rebuke us lovingly, and may we accept it in humility, and pray that it may affect us positively.

Apart from receiving rebukes from other people, we must also learn to give. For rebuke to succeed, it takes two people, one being the giver, and the other being the one who receives. Before we rebuke others though, there are a few things to consider.

First, before rebuking others, take a look inside yourself first and see if your heart is in the right place. Matthew 7:5 clearly states “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” This verse basically means, that before you rebuke (take a speck out of) someone, you must deal with your own problems (the log in your eye) first, only then will you be able to successfully warn and rebuke others. In other words, we must evaluate or self-examine ourselves first to see if we have the same problem first before we start evaluating and correcting others. 

Secondly, you must approach someone with rebuke the way you want to be approached. As humans, we have a spirit of criticism which definitely does not help in the process of rebuking others. We have to make sure that we’re rebuking them humbly, and consider the timing, the tone and the motivation. Say it not as criticism, but as a brotherly correction. (Matthew 7:12)

Thirdly, pray for the person, before and maybe even after a rebuke. Pray that the person may be willing to accept the rebuke and that you may be able to get to the point, without criticising.

Finally, let me wrap up with this one verse. I hope this verse can bring realisation about the importance of rebuke, and how we may see it differently from now on.

Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness;

    let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head;

    let my head not refuse it.

Yet my prayer is continually against their evil deeds.”

Psalm 141:5

Erin Kurnia (14) is one of the writers for RE Generation-Z. She hopes that by God’s grace, she can write to spread the Truth and happiness to others, that they too may be children of God living in the light. You will find that she really enjoys playing piano, baking, sewing and designing.

“Fitting in” with Society

For most teens, one of the most important things in life is friends. 

Yet statistically speaking, approximately 90% of teenagers living right now are experiencing peer pressure. Peer pressure is extremely common in teen years, whether they are Christians or not. As Christians, even though we are willing to serve God and follow Him, the world thinks otherwise. 

 A classic example is when your friends plan a hangout on a Sunday, and all your friends are going to be there. You know that you have church every Sunday. But if you say no, you are afraid of the consequences: Your friends might think of you as ‘too churchy’ or even question you about why you value all these Christian things so much. You know it’s wrong, yet, you still question yourself about it. This is because, as teens living in this society right now, we try to seek acceptance from friends since it’s a very important component of our teen lives. We want to have friends and be accepted by others, even if it may mean risking some things in life and doing what we might not want to do. As John Piper, a theologian, states: “You desperately want to be liked, but deep down you know this is slavery.”

Saying ‘no’ to your friends

So we know that there are many side effects to saying ‘no’ to your friends, whether it’s good or bad. We might think that there are more negative effects than positive. Losing friends, acceptance, reputation… etc. They are all negative effects. 

But we were created to be different from the world. We were made to be set apart from the world – to be loved and owned by God forever. Hence, we have to know when to say ‘no’ when something goes out of the boundaries of what’s right, even if it may mean losing friends and being rejected by them. 

“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:19.

What’s more worth it: Friends, or God?

When debating on whether you should value your friendship or God more, due to our state as sinful humans, we would probably choose friends. However, there is something big we all are missing. That is, we often forget, or even do not realize, that friends will not last forever. Friends will eventually go away. As it is written in Colossians 3:1-2, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” As humans on this earth, we must set our eyes not upon the stuff on earth, because all these earthly things will eventually pass away, but rather, set our eyes on something of eternal value – your everlasting God.

“Nah, I won’t get influenced.”

This is a very common phrase that we say. We think we’re strong enough to hang out with our friends without being influenced. Yet often when we say such things, it turns out we’re very weak, and we don’t have the strength to pull back from the wrong things our friends do. There are only two options when talking about influencing each one another: Either you influence the person, or you get influenced by the person.

Proverbs13:20 clearly says: 

 “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

Having the freedom and privilege of choosing your own friends can be nice, but it becomes riskier for us as we can choose the wrong friends to hang out with – that is, the ones that may become a bad influence on us.

Whoever you choose to hang out with, they can definitely influence you. That’s why it’s important to choose friends who truly value God and are true followers of Christ.

The Importance of a Christian Community.

Having a Christian community is very important. You might not find friends at school who actually value Christ. We all need a Christian community where we can all be comfortable with each other and share whatever it is that’s in our hearts, that we might not be able to do with our school friends or other friends.

A Christian community can support, help, and pray for you when you are facing troubles. And together as a community, we tend to be stronger in faith than when we are facing them alone. It’s important to know people that you can trust that to support you, and may even be having the same problems as you, so you can face them together, as a community.

So what now?

We must remember that as Christians, we will never fit in. We must expect that already, and as a result, we cannot “be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” 
Instead of trying to fit in, we can “set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” as 1 Timothy 4:12 says. And you never know, by doing the right thing, maybe you might become a good influence on those around you!

Erin Kurnia (14) is one of the writers for RE Generation-Z. She hopes that by God’s grace, she can write to spread the Truth and happiness to others, that they too may be children of God living in the light. You will find that she really enjoys playing piano, baking, sewing and designing.

Footsteps to Forgiveness

Do you know that one person that you dislike? They might have done something wrong to you or hurt your feelings in some way. We think that what this person has done is unforgivable. Be honest – I’m sure at least one person has done something wrong to you, whether it’s friends, families, siblings, or even teachers. You might be feeling like I’m forcing you to forgive this person and making another big deal out of this. But it’s way more than that. You’ll find, at the end of the article, that there’s something bigger we all could be missing.

Did you know we did something way worse than what that person has done to you. The truth is, each of us has sinned many times before God. We’ve done terrible things, yet, he still forgives us. 

“If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,

Lord, who could stand?

But with you there is forgiveness,

so that we can, with reverence, serve you.”

Psalm 130:3-4

How many times should we forgive?

Even though we’ve done countless sins that break God’s heart, He is still merciful to us and keeps forgiving us. And he would like us to do the same to others, even if it means forgiving them over and over again. A passage in the Bible shows how much God would like us to forgive others who have done wrong to us. 

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

 Matthew 18:21-22

Jesus didn’t want us to forgive 7 times, but 70 times 7 times (this doesn’t mean literally 70 times 7 times, but He meant to keep on forgiving however much it may be.)

God’s mercy and forgiveness to us

We now know how forgiving God is to us. He is merciful and full of love. Whether you like it or not, we don’t deserve ANY mercy from God.

“Who is a God like you,

who pardons sin and forgives the transgression

of the remnant of his inheritance?

You do not stay angry forever

but delight to show mercy.”

Micah 7:18

We, as sinners, don’t deserve ANY of the forgiveness – this doesn’t mean God is cruel; since the fall, we have continuously been sinning before God while He is still patient and merciful to us. But we continue to choose to do the wrong things. Jesus has experienced rejections and people doing wrong to him, no kidding. Jesus was whipped, spat on, rejected, and crucified. And just for our own wickedness.

“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:7-8

So now what?

Now you would realize that what the person has done to you, is no worse than what you have done to God.

So if God forgives you, and even died for you, why can’t you forgive your friend, sibling, or whoever hurt you. Every time someone does something wrong to you, try to forgive that person, and remember that God has already forgiven you.

So now you know why it’s important to forgive. In the end, it’s your decision to make, whether you choose to forgive, or not.

I know it will be hard to forgive. I know the feeling because I, too, find it hard to forgive. Take Jesus’ example of forgiving and let yourself do the same to others. Do you choose to forgive today?

Here are some Bible verses to encourage you to forgive (in case you still find it hard):

  • “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25
  • “The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him.” Daniel 9:9
  • Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.Colossians 3:13
  •  “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.Luke 6:37
  • Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.Ephesians 4:31-32
  • “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, you Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15

Erin Kurnia (14) is one of the writers for RE Generation-Z. She hopes that by God’s grace, she can write to spread the Truth and happiness to others, that they too may be children of God living in the light. You will find that she really enjoys playing piano, baking, sewing and designing.

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