Pride, The Original Sin

Pride. It’s the ‘original sin’. It’s been here since the world first fell into sin. But what is it and why does it cause such a big fuss in the Bible?

What is Pride?

First, it would be helpful to define what pride is and honestly, this is where I was stuck before I even began writing. What is pride? It took a bit of researching and looking through definitions, but I find that St. Augustine’s version is the most accurate for this article. According to him, pride is “the love of one’s own excellence”. St. Augustine was, of course, a prominent theologian but let’s see how this definition goes up against the Bible.

The Bible and Pride

Pride has quite a few appearances in the Bible, which gives it a lot of variety in meaning. Interestingly, the word in Hebrew for pride varies depending on its context. Pride in the Bible can mean two main things. The first is exaltation, majesty and excellence. This definition can refer to two main things. Firstly, the exaltation, majesty and/or excellence of nations, through their wealth, power and/or magnificence of their buildings. Isaiah 13:19 reads, “And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the splendour and pomp of the Chaldeans” The ‘splendour and pomp here’ in other translations has been replaced with excellency and pride.

On the other hand, it can also refer to God. Exodus 15:7 says, “In the greatness of your majesty you threw down those who opposed you. You unleashed your burning anger; it consumed them like stubble.” The term ‘of your majesty’ is replaced with ‘of your excellence’ in other translations.

Aside from this, pride can be used for the usual definition we know for it, “the love of one’s own excellence”. Proverbs 16:18 is a good example: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Pride itself goes a long, long way back. It is often referred to as the ‘original sin’. After all, everyone has faced it, starting from Adam and Eve. They exalted themselves over God’s wisdom, thinking they knew their own ‘excellence’ and loving it more than God’s holiness. They chose themselves over God and thought they knew best.

This same story is reminisced throughout the Bible. We can see this in 2 Chronicles 26, which talks about King Uzziah. Uzziah was sixteen years old when he began to reign in Judah. Uzziah was a good king, because ‘he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD” v. 4. But afterwards, the Bible writes that “when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction.” In the end, Uzziah fell short of the ‘perfect king’ that the Israelites had been hoping for.

Pride, the shape-shifting sin

Pride is a sin that can come in many shapes and forms. This is what makes it so hard to pinpoint where it is in our lives. I myself personally struggle with understanding it. Pride can range from how we behave towards others to how we behave to ourselves. Pride can come in the forms of perfectionism or insecurity, but it always revolves around thinking about what others think.

There are so many different ‘fruits’ and ‘shapes’ of pride that it would take a long time to write all about it. But, I would encourage you to look further into it. Ask close friends about what they think, but remember too to turn to the Bible, for there is much wisdom there. Yet in order for someone to become wise, humility is needed beforehand. In fact, Proverbs 11:2 says:

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.”

– Proverbs 11:2 (ESV) –

In contrast with pride, the Bible also talks about humility. Humility is pretty much the polar opposite of pride. Humility is meek obedience towards God. Humility is not saying “I’m not good at this, there are people who are better than me,” or refusing to accept compliments and always putting yourself down. No! God calls us to make use of the talents he has given us, rather than burying them away and not acknowledging them.

“Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honour.”

– Proverbs 18:12 (ESV) –

When I read this passage, I see a contrast from what we’ve read before. First, a haughty or prideful spirit goes before destruction (Proverbs 16:18). Secondly, before honour (or exaltation) comes humility. This exaltation is not from our own pride and our own way of exalting ourselves. This exaltation comes from God, as is confirmed in James 4:10,

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”

– James 4:10 (ESV) –

However, humility is not something that we can achieve on our own. Our sinful nature makes us always inclined to be the prideful one. Paul the Apostle knew this too, and so he directs us to look to Jesus as the ultimate example of humility.

“[Jesus] who thought he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

– Philippians 2:6-8 (ESV) –

There is no way that any of us can humble ourselves more than Jesus. If anything, Jesus had every reason to be the most prideful person on earth; he was literally equal to God! Yet instead of that, he died a shameful death on the cross to save us.

What does it mean to be humble? Why is being prideful such a big thing in the Bible? That’s because only when we’re humble can God lift us up to see more of His glory. A prideful heart would never want to accept God’s guidance. Let me leave you with some lyrics from a song I learnt a long time ago in Sunday School:

A Prayer for Humility – Mark Patterson

Mighty God and gentle Lamb, Lord of all creation

How we long to know you, how we strive to serve you

Help us now to love you even more

Give us humble hearts to praise you,

and listening ears to hear your voice,

willing hands to serve you,

thankful spirits to rejoice.

Lord of all, we adore you

and we bring this prayer before you.

Create in us, humble hearts

When our thoughts turn proud,

remind us of the grace your freely give

When we lose our way, Lord find us

draw us close to you again.


Ethan Chow (16) is one of the website managers for RE Generation-Z. Through RE Generation Z, he hopes that this generation can be truly ‘RE Generated’. He is an avid chess player, learner of new things, listener and player of music.

This article is inspired by Emily. Thanks for being a friend who I can have meaningful conversations with and for helping me see the log in my eye, my very own pride. Remember, the Lord sees not as man sees, your outward appearance doesn’t matter, for God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7)

Obedience: Absurd, Marvelous and Beautiful

Note: This is the final article in a mini trilogy of articles. The first one being ‘A Ticket to Heaven’ and the second was ‘Do You Really Love Jesus?’

In my past two articles, I’ve talked about what it means to have faith in Jesus and to love Jesus. But there’s still one last bit that I haven’t touched on yet and that is obedience. In my first article about faith, I mentioned that ‘faith is not without works’ (James 2:26) and in my second article about love, I wrote, ‘Love is told out by our thoughts and actions. To know whether we actually love God relies on our actions, our obedience.’.

Obedience is another important part of the original question I had 3 months ago, that is, ‘Are you saved?’ So, what is obedience? Obedience is following what another person or thing says. This can vary from obeying laws, your own self, social norms or people above you in authority. But in the case of this article, we’ll talk about obeying God. Obeying God means that when we hear God’s Word, we act upon it. We obey God out of love which is why we follow God’s Will. One might ask, what is God’s Will? Why should I follow it? Well, the Bible says in Romans 8:28,

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

– Romans 8:28 (ESV) –

God is good and knows what is best for us. Even more wonderful than this is that God created us and loves us so much that he died on the cross for us. This is also something that is so amazing – that God’s love for us is so deep and wonderous.

Now that we know what obedience to God is, let’s focus on how absurd it is. Now, you might be wondering, what do you mean by absurd? I already obey God… I read the Bible, go to church, I don’t do bad stuff!

Well, first of all, if you really think you’re super perfect, you’re wrong. Romans 3:23 states that:

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

– Romans 3:23 (ESV) –

No person is perfect and without sin. Yet, sin is the opposite of God. God is holy and cannot be with sin. After all, opposites are not supposed to be like each other. If we’re sinful, then, how can God expect us to follow His Will?? Following God’s will is everything we don’t want to do naturally. Our very nature is to disobey God! It’s absurd. How can we be expected to follow God’s Will perfectly to go to heaven? No one can do that!

Now, you might be thinking, no, I actually want to obey God! Now, there are two possibilities that can stem from this. One is that you aren’t actually obeying God out of love. You think that obeying God is like a law or rule you have to abide by, because otherwise, you go to hell. This is the wrong motivation to obey God.

Saul was the first king of God’s chosen people, Israel. Before waging war against an enemy, God commanded Saul to not leave any living thing behind; to ‘devote them to destruction’. But Saul decided that his way was better than God’s and left the king of the people and many animals that could be used for sacrifice. Sacrifice was the Israelites’ symbol of obedience and devotion to God and his commandments. But here, despite his intentions, Saul disobeys God’s commandment to destroy the enemy completely. The prophet Samuel confronted Saul in 1 Samuel 15:22,

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.”

– 1 Samuel 15:22 (ESV) –

Now, you might be thinking,  how do we know whether we have the right motivation then? How could God expect us to be obedient on our own? Well, if you’re thinking this, then you have every reason to give thanks to God! Why? Because he doesn’t expect you to follow his Will perfectly. In fact, he doesn’t expect you to follow His Will at all – that is, on your own. The most marvelous thing about being saved is that obedience comes as a response to our faith. Here’s how Jon Bloom from Desiring God ( puts it:

“Though they [faith, love and obedience] are distinct, they are inseparable. We cannot love Christ without trusting (exercising faith in) him (1 Peter 1:8)”

1 Peter 1:8 explains that we cannot love Christ without believing in Him beforehand. Faith strengthens us because even though we have not seen Jesus in person, we still believe in Him.

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.”

– 1 Peter 1:8 (ESV) –

“We cannot trust Christ without obeying Him (James 2:17)”

James 2:17 explains that we cannot have faith in Christ with no obedience. Faith will not sit still and do nothing, obedience is the believers response to faith.

“So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

– James 2:17 (ESV) –

“So, naturally, we cannot love Christ if we live in persistent, conscious disobedience to Him (1 John 1:6, Luke 6:46)

1 John 1:6 and Luke 6:46explains that it is impossible to be two opposites (light and darkness). We are either light or darkness and it is evident through our actions. What we do is a telltale sign of our love to Christ.

“If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”

– 1 John 1:6 (ESV) –

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?”

– Luke 6:46 (ESV) –

And my own addition:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever.”

– John 14:15-16 (ESV) –

Something I haven’t mentioned yet is the Helper that is referred to here. The Helper is the Holy Spirit and this is what is so beautiful about salvation. God isn’t going to leave us alone to figure it out for ourselves. Oftentimes, we don’t know what to do with our lives. But, we should always remember, we have a Helper that will be with us forever.

And with that, this trilogy has come to a close. My question to you now is, what will you do? Will you sit with this discovery and ignore it? Or, will you do something about it? Will you seek out true faith? Will you love Jesus as much as you can? Will you obey Him?

The answer to these questions, I hope, is that you will seek out God for yourself and pray that He would reveal Himself to you. But, whether you do that or not, my friend, is up to you.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you… Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

– Matthew 6:33, 7:7-11 (ESV) –

Ethan Chow (16) is one of the website managers for RE Generation-Z. Through RE Generation Z, he hopes that this generation can be truly ‘RE Generated’. He is an avid chess player, learner of new things, listener and player of music.

Do You Really Love Jesus?

Note: This is a follow up on the previous article ‘A Ticket To Heaven’

Previously, I talked about what it meant to be saved and how we know if we are saved. Well, in the last two months, I’ve been thinking about the question I left for the readers to think about: 

Do you truly love Jesus at all?

Looking back, I feel that I didn’t even know the answer to this question myself when I challenged people to think about it.I thought it would be helpful to unpack what love is so we can all understand what it means to truly love Jesus. 

First, it would help knowing what love is, right? So today, let’s find out what love actually is. C.S. Lewis, in his book ‘The Four Loves’ talks about the four types of loves:

1. Romantic love (eros) – a different, deeper love than friendship.

2. Friendship love (philia) – the love we feel towards our friends.

3. Affectionate love (storge) – this can range from our mother’s care or admiring cute animals. It’s a certain place, visual, smell or sound that reminds us of happy moments or a loved one.

4. Charity love (agape) – this is God’s unconditional love to us, so much that he gave His only Son to save us from our sins. Agape love stays through thick and thin and doesn’t fade in any circumstance.

God’s love towards us is agape love – sacrificial love that will never let us go. God’s love for us is incomprehensible. It’s unconditional and is something no human could ever achieve to fulfil for anyone, let alone for God.

Many people might stop here and ask: why does God love us? Does he lack something? Perhaps we think that God is lonely and created humans and the earth to satisfy Himself.

No! We are the ones lacking and, in God’s love, God is the one giving us His love so we can find ultimate satisfaction in Him. Our hearts are like a bottomless, infinite pit. How could we expect to fill it with finite things? Only something infinite could fill the void.

The ultimate goal of God’s love is that we can have ultimate satisfaction in Him so that the world is filled with people who treasure, enjoy and love Him.

The ultimate fulfilment of God’s love is found in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ died on the cross to save us from our sins; a sacrifice made out of His love for us, unworthy sinners.

So, what does this mean for us? What is our love to God like? How do we know if we truly love God? Here are some telltale signs:

Love is willing

When we love someone, we don’t need to be asked to spend time with them. We don’t feel forced to be with them and we even forget about time and what we were doing beforehand. When he or she asks us to do something, we don’t think twice – we’ll do it with all our heart’s desire. Our sole purpose, focus and desire is on that person at that moment!

This is the same when we love God. Our sole purpose, focus and desire in life is to do His will, to spend time in His Word and to talk with Him in prayer.

Love encompasses our whole life

Again, when we love something or someone, we spend most of our life with that thing or person. Even when that person or thing isn’t in our physical presence, they’re always on our mind. It influences how we think, feel and interact towards others. There is an aching and desire to be back with said thing and we feel satisfied when we are reunited. When we love someone who, for example, doesn’t like chewing gum (wild example, just so you get my point) we would make an effort to not chew gum in front of them.

When we love God, it shapes our thoughts and actions. We know that God is holy and cannot be around sin – thus, we would make every effort to keep away from sin and be more like God in His holiness.

Love is joyful

This one is pretty straight forward – when you love you feel joyful! There is really no such thing as love which isn’t joyous! 

When we truly love God, we would feel true joy. Joy is different from happiness. It is deeper than just a superficial emotion. True joy can only be found in knowing God and being in a relationship with Him. Sound familiar? This is what being in a relationship, whether romantic or friendship, feels like. We are joyful when we spend time with that person. We feel joyous when we get to know the person better and find out more about them through spending time with them. This same concept can be ‘transferred’ into our relationship with God. Spend more time with Him, get to know Him better through His Word and you’ll find the true joy there is in a relationship with your Creator.

Love gives all

The final main thing is that love gives it all. You wouldn’t hesitate or think twice about giving up time, money or effort to fulfil the wishes of your loved one! Even when you do this, you feel satisfied – you don’t feel you have lost anything. When we love God, we find ultimate satisfaction in God! Whether that be reading the Bible, going to church or serving in ministries – if we are truly on the hunt for ultimate satisfaction, there really shouldn’t be anything temperamental holding us back!


Obviously, love is much, much easier to envision and feel when we can see the person we love. But this is where faith comes into play. 1 Peter 1:8-9 writes that:

“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

– 1 Peter 1:8-9 (ESV) –

Though we don’t see Christ, we have both faith in Him and love for Him. In fact, we love Him because of our faith in Him!

Here’s a direct quote from a Desiring God article written by Jon Bloom that honestly sums it up better than I can:

How do we know if we love Jesus? By what we consistently (not perfectly) do and don’t do. All lovers of Jesus keenly know we don’t love him perfectly. “We all stumble in many ways” (James 3:2), and “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). But “if we say we have fellowship with [Jesus] while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6).

– (

Our thoughts and actions tell out our love. Knowing whether we actually love God relies on our actions and obedience. This, of course, is a whole ‘nother article, so stay tuned. 🙂

I know this article has been focused on our love for God. But, in conclusion, let me leave you with some lyrics from a hymn that talks of God’s love for us that I think really shows God’s agape love towards us.

It was Love, E.C. Heidelberg

Why did Jesus give up heaven’s glory

For this world of sin and misery?

Why did Jesus suffer in the garden,

Drain the bitter cup of agony?

Why did Jesus stand in Pilate’s judgement hall,

Wear that cruel crown of thorns so patiently?

Why did Jesus give His life to save me?

It was love, God’s wondrous love for me!

Why does Jesus lift me when I stumble

Take my hand whene’er I go astray?

Give me strength I need for each tomorrow,

Grace to face the trials of the day?

Why does Jesus share the load I cannot bear,

Fill my soul with peace and joy beyond degree?

And why does He watch o’er me and keep me?

It was love, God’s wondrous love for me!

Sources: (my previous article) (C.S. Lewis on the Four Types of Love) (Part of John Piper’s series ‘Ask Pastor John’) (Article by Jon Bloom that I quoted in my article)

Ethan Chow (16) is one of the website managers for RE Generation-Z. Through RE Generation Z, he hopes that this generation can be truly ‘RE Generated’. He is an avid chess player, learner of new things, listener and player of music.

The Ticket to Heaven

Disclaimer: this article is a reflection of what I have learnt from the book ‘Can I be sure I’m saved?’ by R.C. Sproul. I highly recommend this book if you would like to delve deeper into this topic. It’s a very short book but covers the topic clearly.

Are you saved?

A tough question for a Christian to answer with confidence. It’s a question that I wanted to explore because I and many around me weren’t quite sure. Even people who have been ‘Christian for all their lives’ fail to answer this simple three word question. But, our life and death depend on the answer to this question.

First, it’s important to understand what it means to be saved. To be saved means to be regenerated or born again. Regeneration is when we are ‘transferred’ from the Kingdom of Darkness (being away from God) to the Kingdom of Light (being with God). Those who have been regenerated are the only ones that can receive salvation. The famous Romans 8:28-30 explains more about it.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”

– Romans 8:28-30 (ESV) –

Here, Paul talks about a certain group or people. In other parts of the Bible, they are referred to as the elect. The elect are the people who God has called before the creation of the world to be regenerated and are the only people that can be regenerated or saved. If you are amongst the elect, you will be saved as God has sovereignly chosen you. Sovereignty is God’s divine will. So how do we know if we are amongst the elect?

The first step is to understand the different steps that lead to salvation. This is often called the Order of Salvation or ordo salutis. This is key to understanding what salvation actually is.

Often, we are told contradicting things about what we need to do to be saved. We are told we have to be good and just hope we’ve made it. Or sometimes, we think we just need to believe one time and that’s it; we’ve got the ‘ticket to heaven’. Maybe we think that everyone can be saved and it’s just unfortunate that some don’t believe in God.

Well, Romans 8:29 says that God foreknew [and] predestined. Foreknowledge is the knowledge that only God has about our future. God knows who we will be in the future because he knows all; he is omniscient. God knew that we were going to be the horrible sinners we are. Yet, in his love and grace, he still sovereignly chose us to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. This is called predestination. God predestined those whom he sovereignly chose to be with him forever as part of the elect. Predestination is determined by God’s sovereign will. God’s nature is sovereign, therefore he has the highest power and authority. We cannot challenge it, since we are only God’s creation.

After we are foreknown by God and predestined, in God’s time, the elect will be called and regenerated. This is no ordinary calling. The Holy Spirit calls us from within and opens our hearts to be able to bring about God’s purpose in our life. This is followed by regeneration. As I wrote beforehand, regeneration is being born again; being ‘transferred’ from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of Light. Regeneration happens when the Holy Spirit first works in our heart. Naturally, when we fell into sin, we were unable to trust God or love Him. We were cold and hostile towards him. However, when we are regenerated, the Holy Spirit enables our hearts to be able to trust and love God. We have the ability to have true faith. Faith is trusting in God and in His word. True faith is given to us when we are regenerated. Faith is a gift from God, as written in Ephesians 2:8. We can’t work to earn it; it’s only by God’s grace we can receive it.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God”

– Ephesians 2:8 (ESV) –

For some, it is obvious when they are regenerated and for others, it isn’t. It is important to note that some people don’t have a sudden ‘conversion experience’ where their world is turned upside down. For some, it’s a little less noticeable. But, this doesn’t affect the sincerity of the conversion. But, it is important to be able to decipher a ‘fuzzy experience of emotions’ from the Holy Spirit beginning to work in our lives. 

So, how can we know if we are truly regenerated and truly have faith? How do we know that we’ve received the true faith? James 2:26 says that:

“For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”

– James 2:26 (ESV) –

Therefore, if we have true faith, we will do something. True, sincere faith brings sincere obedience. Along with works, faith brings justification as well. Romans 5:1 says:

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

– Romans 5:1 (ESV) –

In other words, faith justifies us. Justification is when God makes us right with Him. Previously, we were unrighteous sinners in God’s sight, but now we have been made righteous in God’s sight.

After this, there is the ongoing process of sanctification. Sanctification is the process where a person becomes more Christ-like. Then, in heaven, the elect are glorified. This is the process of the elect:

Foreknown by God -> Predestined -> Called -> Regenerated -> Given faith -> Justified -> Sanctified -> Glorified

Understanding what salvation really is in our own life is vital to knowing whether we are truly saved. So, how do we know if we are saved?

R.C. Sproul, in his book, ‘Can I be sure I’m Saved’, talks about how many people have come to him asking him how they can get assurance on if they are saved or not. Sproul answers that we should analyse ourselves with these three questions:

  1. Do you love Jesus perfectly?

The answer to this question for all is no. We do not love Jesus perfectly. Jesus says in John 14:15:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

– John 14:15 (ESV) –

No human keeps God’s commandments perfectly. None, not even one.

  1. Do you love Him as much as you ought to?

The answer to this is also no. Since we don’t love Jesus perfectly, we don’t love Him as much as we ought to. We know it, but we are too sinful and helpless on our own.

  1. Do you love Jesus at all?

The love that R.C. Sproul describes here, is love for Jesus. But not just any Jesus we imagine. It is only the love we have for the real Jesus that appears in the Bible to save us. The big question now is: do we love the Jesus of the Bible or do we love something similar to Him? Oftentimes we only love the characteristics of Jesus and not the person of Jesus Himself. 

If we can truly answer yes to this question, then we should look back at what regeneration is. Regeneration enables a person to be able to truly, genuinely love Jesus. If you truly love Jesus, you are saved. If you love Him one bit, you are truly saved. Even though we do not love Jesus perfectly and as much as we ought to, the Holy Spirit has transformed our soul to have true love for Jesus Christ. Otherwise, we do not have the power ourselves to love Jesus Christ one bit!

False assurance of salvation is one of Satan’s greatest weapons. He can make the true believer who is saved doubt forever that they are saved, restricting them from growing to know God more. When people misunderstand what salvation truly is, it can give them false assurance of salvation. This is the reason I wrote this article. I know many that don’t have full, true assurance of their salvation. I hope that after reading this, you can have the full, true assurance of genuine salvation. Don’t think that you can never obtain it. 2 Peter 1:10-11 says: 

 “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practise these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

– 2 Peter 1:10-11 (ESV) –

After reading this article, do you still view going to heaven as just obtaining a ticket? Is there more to salvation than just believing Jesus exists?

I’ll pose the question again to you now. Are you saved? Do you truly love Jesus at all?

Ethan Chow (16) is one of the website managers for RE Generation-Z. Through RE Generation Z, he hopes that this generation can be truly ‘RE Generated’. He is an avid chess player, learner of new things, listener and player of music.

The Small Things in this Big World

There are some things in this world that we often don’t notice. Yet these things are the very proof of how amazing the creation is.

The creation, as described in Genesis 1, tells of how God created the whole earth.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

God’s attributes are proclaimed through His creation. Everything that God created was ‘good.’ Yet there are many facts on God’s creation that have been ignored and have gone unnoticed by humans. Did you know an alligator’s brain weighs the same amount as 5 Oreos? Yet it still has the ability to be a top predator! Let’s see some more examples of God’s attributes in nature.

  1. God is Loving

This may seem a little cliché, but in reality, this is a valuable truth. Without God’s love, we would be lost in sin and far from the people who we were supposed to be. God’s love is no ordinary love. God’s love is described in the New Testament as ‘agape’ love. Agape love is a sacrificial love, that looks to the benefits for people around them. A love that loves God. Just like in Mark 12:30-31, 

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.””

The most obvious but meaningful example of God’s agape love is when He Himself died on the cross to save us from our sins. 

In nature, an example of love can be shown when Giant Pacific octopuses sacrifice themselves for their eggs. The females guard their eggs for 4 years – a time where they don’t even get to eat! Another example is seen when dolphins identify humans by checking our skeleton structure using their sonar. They often help shipwreck victims fight sharks and stay afloat, all because they too are mammals. Dolphins are willing to help other mammals survive!

  1. God is Selfless

God is not selfish. Selflessness is difficult, as sin is all about the opposite – selfishness. But, if God was selfish, He would have every reason not to care about us anymore after we fell into sin. But He loves us and sent his Son down to save us. Jesus was selfless when he died on the cross. He obeyed His Father’s will over his own. Just as it says in Philippians 2:5-8,

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!”

In zoology (the study of animals), selfless animal behaviour is often referred to as altruism. In 2008, two whales beached on the shore and yet were successfully led to the deeper waters by dolphins. In 2013, a deformed dolphin was ‘adopted’ by a pod of whales. Elephants have been documented helping other baby elephants trapped in mud holes to escape! Acacia trees are able to send out warnings to other acacia trees surrounding them, alerting them of any imminent danger.

Proof that God exists is everywhere. Every intricate detail in this world reflects who God is. It’s up to us whether we want to observe, take note and believe. Or if we want to be ignorant and think that only other humans can solve our mysteries about our origin. 

Nature around us resounds that God is real and almighty. Are you listening to it?

The Untold Story of C.T. Studd – The Cricketer turned Missionary

I am no cricketer, but I do love a good story. Missionaries, apart from famous ones (like Jim Elliot and the Auca Five), are often unknown. But, their stories are inspirational and have affected so many people – even those we don’t know.

Charles Thomas (C.T. as he was often called) Studd (1860 – 1931) was a professional cricketer from England. During the 1880s, he was one of England’s greatest cricketers. He grew up in a wealthy family and was educated at prestigious schools.

Studd’s father, Edward Studd, became a Christian during a meeting held by D.L. Moody and Ira Sankey. The newly evangelised man deeply wanted to share the good news. As a result, the Studd Mansion turned into a centre of meetings and discussions with pastors and missionaries. Though his three sons tried to avoid the topic of Christianity, their determined father was not going to stop there.

Who do you really live for?

One afternoon, whilst on a break from college, Studd’s father invited a visiting preacher. The preacher confronted each of Edward’s sons, and they all came to faith in Christ that day. He asked them if they believed in God’s promises to give eternal life, quoting John 3:16. He questioned them on who they really lived for. This very challenge convinced C.T. Studd, and he became a Christian. From then on, his life was changed.

The Ashes

Even before his conversion, the Studd brothers were cricket enthusiasts. Not only did they admire the game, but they were also talented and soon shone out among other players. C.T. stood out, particularly on one occasion, when an Australian team visited their university. The Australian team was undefeated and in their first victory, C.T. was pronounced the best player. 

He then captained his university team, and soon a bigger opportunity arose. He and his brother George were selected to represent England at the Ashes.

The first ever victory of England in the 1882-83 Ashes Series was incredible to the people at the time. Cricket was growing in popularity at that time and the fact that England had won greatly excited the people.

But in 1884, George, his brother, fell gravely ill. The realisation that his brother’s achievements and cricket career meant nothing in comparison to eternity, made Studd rethink his actions and direction in life. Studd even questioned:

“What is all the fame and flattery worth … when a man comes to face eternity?”

He realised that everything in this world is nothing in comparison to heaven. This realisation called him to be a missionary.

“I know that cricket would not last, and honour would not last, and nothing in this world would last, but it was worthwhile living for the world to come.”

The Cambridge Seven

Through his brother’s illness and its effect on him, Studd felt called to pursue mission work. He joined the China Inland Mission, an organisation founded by Hudson Taylor. Studd encouraged other members of his university, Cambridge, to join. Together, they formed the Cambridge Seven and together they ventured to China.

The news of the departure of one of England’s best all round cricketers at the time came as a shock to the public. Leaving behind fame and fortune to pursue mission work in an unknown land didn’t make any sense. But, Studd was determined. Before his departure, he lead a series of ‘revival meetings’ to universities, impacting many. Then, in the February of 1885, less than three years after he had won the Ashes Series, C.T. Studd left for China.

China and India

During C.T. Studd’s time in China, many things happened. In China, he met his wife, Priscilla, an Irish missionary, and married her three years after setting foot in Shanghai. 

Also, when Studd was in China, his father, Edward Studd, died. Edward Studd left behind 29 000 pounds for Studd as his inheritance. Instead of using it all for himself, he gave away the money to various organisations such as the Moody Bible Institute, George Muller’s orphanage, a man working with the poor in England, as well as the Salvation Army. After serving in China for nine years and with deteriorating health, C.T. Studd returned home to England. But it wasn’t long before he felt a calling to India. He served there between 1900 and 1906.

Worldwide Evangelisation Crusade

However, during a return trip to England from India, he met Karl Kumm, a missionary in Africa. After visiting Sudan in 1910, he set his heart to Belgian Congo (now in modern day Democratic Republic of the Congo) in 1913. Here, he spent the rest of his life, serving God wholeheartedly until his death in 1931.


C.T. Studd began his life for the world and ended it for God. So, what can we learn from him?

  1. Devote yourself to God

Devoting yourself to God doesn’t necessarily mean to be a missionary and go to the middle of nowhere. In the case of C.T. Studd, it was. But even before his missionary work, he devoted his life to God through cricket. As he grew in spiritual life, he realised that his life was not of this world and that he should focus his life on God and for God’s Glory. As he wrote in his poem, “Only One Life, ‘Twill Soon Be Past”:

Only one life ’twill soon be past.

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Let us remember the words of this poem.

2. Use your talents for God

C.T. Studd pursued his talents in cricket for God’s glory. As he used these talents and answered his call to be a missionary, he also used his fame and fortunes for the same purpose. His fame allowed him to give his testimonies to many people and his fortune gave him the opportunity to support those who needed support.

Conclusion and Summary

C.T. Studd was a man of talent who gave his life to God. But the question now is not about Studd – it’s about you. Will you too give your life and use your gifts for God?

Ethan Chow (16) is one of the website managers for RE Generation-Z. Through RE Generation Z, he hopes that this generation can be truly ‘RE Generated’. He is an avid chess player, learner of new things, listener and player of music.

A Truly Devoted Life

What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘devoted’? The first things that come to my mind are breadwinners. They devote themselves to supporting their family until they are literally unable to.

Even from a young age, hearing stories about breadwinners who sometimes became successful people was inspiring. I thought that, one day, I would also be able to work hard and become a successful person. Following the breadwinner’s example, I would be able to help people and support them. But, growing up, I learnt that this was not the case. Some people didn’t work hard at all. They didn’t even work, nor devote any of their time to doing anything beneficial to others.

Ever since the fall of men, things have become this way. The world was turned upside down. The rich hardly worked whilst the poor worked so hard. The rich earning lots while the poor earned close to none. Sin has corrupted the nature of humans and is obvious in what we do and don’t do. Even if we mean good, misunderstandings and temptations render us powerless versus the devil.

“I know I’ve promised my parents that I will study hard and get a good grade in my next exam. But, come on, just a few minute Youtube video won’t hurt my grades. Even if it does, I’ll just get a better mark next time to make my parents proud. I’m sure they’ll understand.”

This little anecdote is probably (in one way or another) quite relevant when it comes to study. But what about this:

I know I told God I’d read my Bible everyday and pray. I’ll read my devotion, and well, it’s not my fault – I need to check out what my friends want to tell me. I’m sure God would understand. I really tried my best to concentrate…”

Well, to ‘devote’ ourselves is more than just studying or reading the Bible. If we investigate the origin of the word ‘devoted,’ we find it has a much deeper meaning.

The True Meaning:

The word ‘devoted’ comes from two Latin words. ‘De’ meaning ‘from’ and ‘vovēre’ meaning ‘to vow.’ Vowing is a more generally used term in the modern age. Originally, vowing was used when one promised something solemnly to God, setting yourself apart and promising to keep that promise. If we put this together, we get ‘devoted’. 

Again, in the modern age, ‘devoted’ can be used in any context. Devoted to supporting your family. Devoted to playing games. Devoted to studying. But really, ‘devoted’ means ‘set apart for God.’

So, a devoted life is not any old life; it’s a life devoted to God. But what does that mean? What does it mean to be set apart for God? Romans 12:2 says:

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

There’s our answer. We shouldn’t conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Conform[ing] to the pattern of this world simply means following what the world values and how it behaves. The world is different to those in Christ. So, resisting the temptation to be like the world is important to Christians. We need to be different from those around us. Different in behaviour, values, thoughts, and words. 

But that’s not all. We should also be transformed by the renewing of … our mind[s]. Our mind needs to be transformed in how it thinks, so that we will not conform to the pattern of this world but be able to test and approve what God’s will is. This doesn’t mean that we will always know what God’s will for us is, but God will reveal it to us through being transformed by the renewing of … our mind[s]

The Westminster Catechism also describes our life like this:

Question 1: What is the chief end of man?

Answer: Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.

This is another aspect of the ‘devoted life.’ Not only should we resist the temptation of this world and be transformed by God, but we must also glorify God and enjoy him forever. This is our purpose in life, and this purpose is reflected in a devoted life. Living for God is our purpose. Psalm 57:2 confirms this:

“I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.

But remember, being devoted is being devoted to God. Not anything else. Remember the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42? They both ‘devoted’ themselves to God but in different ways. Mary sat down and devoted herself to listening to Jesus. Martha tried to tend to the house, ‘devoting’ herself to making the house look clean for Jesus. Though they both ‘devoted’ themselves to Jesus, Jesus commended Mary for sitting down and listening. But to Martha, he told her to join her sister as she had ‘devoted herself to the wrong thing.’

Remember your motivation too. Are you devoting your life to God for God? Or is it just to impress others?


Though these verses contain lots of wisdom, it’s hard to understand what the Bible is trying to show us. How can we live a ‘devoted life’? How can we truly live a ‘devoted life’ according to the Bible and God’s Will? Here are some ways:

  1. Read the Bible and Pray (But not just for the sake of it)

Yes, this is a very big cliché. But it really is true. The Bible is not some sort of magical book where certain words will pop up and transform you. But, it is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Prayer is your way of communication with God. What kind of relationship involves not talking to the other person?

  1. Set yourself apart

This is probably something you’ve heard before if you’re a Christian. But in reality, it’s hard to put into practise. Remember, we are not to be conform[ed] to the pattern of this world. The Bible says this in 1 Peter 2:4-5: “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 

The world rejects God’s ways, but we are called to live this way. Who do you want to follow, the world or God? James 4:4 says, “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”. But remember, the world will reject the way you behave; John 15:18-19 says: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 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.”

  1. Use your talents for God’s Glory

Talents are gifts from God. One way to live a devoted life is to use these talents for God’s glory, rather than our own. Though some of us may be ‘more’ talented than others, there is an answer to that in the Bible. In Matthew 25:14-30, there is the ‘Parable of the Bags of Gold’ (in other translations, ‘Parable of the Talents’). These ‘bags of gold’ really represent our talents. Even if we have one talent or five, we can still use them for God’s Glory!

  1. Tell others (even if it’s awkward)

Yes, it’s awkward to get a conversation starting about this topic but, try. I, too, struggle with this so let’s all try together! There are people that we walk past each day who don’t know the Good News. It would be selfish of us to keep it to ourselves!

  1. Trust in God!

This is the most important and fundamental thing to do. Though sometimes it’s hard, always remember, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28. 

But pay close attention. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Do you love God? God called us according to His eternal purpose and sovereignty. We did nothing to be worthy of this calling. Are you answering his call?

We’ve talked about all of this ‘devoting our lives to God’. But in reality, God is the one more devoted to us than we ever will be to him. God is the one devoting himself to us. But, we must try our best to live a life devoted to him. Remember this famous verse? John 3:16

Conclusion & Summary:

If I lost you along the way, here’s a recap:

  • A devoted life means to be set apart for God.
  • Living a devoted life isn’t easy, because it means going against the flow, against the world.
  • Living a devoted life can be lived through everyday things.
  • If you want to devote yourself to God, make sure you devote yourself to God in the right way (remember Mary and Martha).
  • Remember your motivation – are you devoting yourself for God or for others?

In conclusion, God is calling us to live a Devoted Life. Again, I ask you, will you answer his call?

Want to know more?

This article was a brief touch on what living a Devoted Life means. If you would like to know more, come join us at the RE Gen Z Retreat, which is all about ‘The Devoted Life.’

Ethan Chow (16) is one of the website managers for RE Generation-Z. Through RE Generation Z, he hopes that this generation can be truly ‘RE Generated’. He is an avid chess player, learner of new things, listener and player of music.

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