The Battle

We are at war. 

We are soldiers at war. 

This war is not like the other wars happening over the world currently, not like the wars happening in Ukraine or Yemen. This war goes beyond our physical bodies; it is a deadly war on our souls. This war is not only between man, but it is God’s war against darkness and sin—against the very gates of hell. 

This is not a war to underestimate. It is a daily battle that we must fight at every moment until we die. 

Where we stand

Every single day, Satan schemes and tempts us in hopes of dragging us down with him into the depths of sin. We fight against our own desires, our tendency to sin. The war doesn’t stop, and so we must always be alert and awake. 

It is vital that we know the state of this war, so that we do not underestimate the seriousness of this war. Let us not be soldiers sleeping in the middle of the battlefield. 

Being a true Christian, a follower of Christ, is a fight. Just as Paul mentions a few times, we are split into our flesh and spirit—as he writes in Galatians 5:17, “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”. Let us not forget that this battle is internal, as well as external. 

A soldier’s daily bread

First things first, we need God’s mercy. Without His grace, without His mercy, we are dead. The fact we can even be aware of this spiritual warfare in the first place, is only because God has opened our eyes and revealed it to us. By His grace alone, we are where we are now. So why do we even imagine that we can go without His mercy and His word?

God is not obligated to show us mercy, and it is not certain that He will give us His grace.

We must beg for His mercy. We can read the Bible ten times over, but if God doesn’t show us mercy, we will still be dead. So, we must beg. 

Truly, we do not deserve it in any way. We don’t deserve to follow Christ. Yet He still lets us live another day, and He still lets us listen to His word. But do we take it seriously? 

Each day, as we begin our devotions and start our day, we must start in prayer, pleading for His mercy and for His guidance throughout the day to help us fight and kill sin. We will not be able to make it otherwise. 

Do not be prideful, thinking we will be fine without God’s grace. We desperately need His Word every day. We are made from both dust and God’s breath of life, from both flesh and spirit. We are bound to both, so we cannot simply neglect the needs of one. Just as we cannot survive without food, we are spiritually dead without God’s word. 

May we all ask for a heart that yearns for God, that we may realise—if we don’t find God’s Word, we will surely die. So the cry of our hearts will be like the Psalmist in Psalm 42, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.”. 

How do we fight?

We are given a new life in Christ, whicht means we leave our old ways of sin behind. Going onwards, we are called to live in obedience and self-denial. 

No longer do we set ourselves for what we want to do, but what God wants us to do. We are to set our mind on the spirit, “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6)

We must go against the world to obey God in everything we do, in all aspects of our lives. Obedience doesn’t just become relevant in big decisions, but it is obedience in everyday mundane things. He has called us to be faithful in the small things. Take each step with obedience; each little choice to be made in obedience to God. 

Putting out our sin, killing our sin, is part of our lifelong fight. As John Owen puts it, “Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you”. Let it slide, leave it be, and sin will be working out your destruction. Do not be tolerant of sin, for we are fighting against it. Do not underestimate the enemy. 

In Romans 8:12-13, it is written, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”. So clearly, we are told that the only end to following the flesh is death. We know the result of sin, so let us take heed in what we have been told. 

Prayer is a crucial part of this war. Satan does not mind us going to church, serving even, but He will strive to keep us from kneeling on our knees in prayer. 

We are prayer warriors. 

So always pray – learn to live in prayer and plead with God each new morning. 

By His strength

Of course, all this is impossible by ourselves. We fight not by our own strength but are dependant on His strength. As we fight, remember that God has already won this battle and that his victory is sure. Truly, in the end, He will be victorious and His name will be glorified among the nations. It is because Christ has died and risen from the dead, Satan has already lost. But he keeps scheming so do not stop fighting. 

We are fighting under, with and for Christ. He fights alongside us, and has promised never to leave us. If we are truly His people, nothing can separate us from God’s love. Romans 8:38-39 says, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

So do not be intimidated by the battle, do not stop, but keep fighting in Christ. Always. 

Stand tall my fellow man; rise up, rise up for Christ! March onwards, all ye Christ’s soldiers; follow on the banner of the cross!

Rise Up For Christ (Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong)

Samantha Wy (17) is a writer for RE Generation-Z. Through this ministry, she strives to spread the truth to many other teens. Besides playing musical instruments, she also loves to bake and make random things.

A Fork In The Road

We can only live one way or another. 

With, or without God. Two ways to live, and two different paths to walk. So which one do we find ourselves travelling on at this point in our lives? 

In the midst of a world that so strongly urges us to walk down Satan’s road, we must be aware and alert to which path we find ourselves walking down. This is no light matter and it is something I urge us all to think and examine ourselves about. 

The Two Paths

When compared to each other, these two paths ahead of us couldn’t be more different. Not only do theyappear completely different, but theylead to completely different ends. As a traveller, two paths stand before us. Which one do we take?

There is a clear distinction between these two paths. It is either good or evil, godly or ungodly, right or wrong. There is no third path where we walk ‘neutrally’, or a space between the two where we can dawdle in while we decide which path to take. We are constantly progressing on one path or another, always walking. 

Let’s take a quick look at Matthew 7:13-14, which is part of Christ’s sermon on the mount. There it is written, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Path No. 1

Let’s lookat one of the paths that we could walk down. It’s wide, and stands open and welcoming. Lots of people walk through it with all their belongings in hand. People carry everything that they want to and the road appears smooth and easy. It is a broad way with many smaller paths, giving you many choices within this choice. It’s ideal and simple. Surely it’s the path to choose?

This ‘ideal’ path is the path of sin. The deceiving path that leads to destruction and death. 

This path allows us to carry our lusts and idols through our lives. It lets us feed our natural wicked and sinful desires, forthere are many sinful ways within this path. This illusion is exactly what Satan uses to entice us in choosing his path of wickedness. We will walk alone, accompanied only by our flimsy idols and sinful lusts, and in the end, the only certain outcome is eternal suffering and death. 

This is the way of the world, and the way that majority of people walk down. It is, after all, the ‘easier’ path, and our sinful nature pulls us towards it. 

Path No. 2

Turning to the other path. It’s narrow and the gate is small. The road looks long and full of obstacles. There’s no space to bring along all your lusts and your idols. This, however, is the road to life. It’s God’s pathway for us. The journey is not easy; we must deny ourselves, resist temptations, and things must be done. Throughout this path, we must always be awake and walk with care, becausewe will walk through many tribulations. 

Yet, it is by God’s grace that we can choose this path, as it isonly through Him can we walk this path. This is the true and righteous path, the path that leads to true and eternal life. We cannot walk this path out of our own strength -only through total dependence on God will it be possible. To walk this path means to leave all our idols and lusts at the gate, and walk step by step relying wholly on God. 

Walking in the True Path

To walk in the true path is to follow God and His plan. No longer is it what we want to do, where we want to go, but rather, where God is leading us and what His plan for us is. 

So, where do our hearts stand at this moment?

Looking at the parable of the farmer sowing the seeds (in Matthew 13:3-23), we should examine ourselves and see what soil our hearts are. 

Are we like the seeds grown on the footpath, that are plucked away by evil before they can even start growing? Or maybe we are like the seeds on the rocky soil, who first receive the Word with joy, but fall away as struggles come along? Perhaps we are the seeds grown in soil full of weeds, that are killed under all the idols we keep? 

We must pray that God reveals our hearts to usso that we can see the true wickedness of our hearts. We cannot be ignorant of this matter. To follow God is to give your whole life, all your hopes for the future and all your idols (whatever they may be). 

We give everything, and hold nothing back. Just as William Borden once said, to live with “No reserves, no retreats, no regrets” for God, and God only. Have we truly given our all to God? Or have we been grasping onto something else deep in our hearts where nobody (maybe not even ourselves) can see?

The Calling is Now

Time will only continue to move forwards, and as we continue walking on our journey we will only face more responsibilities and more struggles that are bigger and more serious than those we face before. What five-year-old us saw as a big problem, would be completely different to what our current selves see as a big problem. As we grow, the road will not get any easier and we will find ourselves more and more in situations where we have little to no control over. 

But which way are we walking?

As time progresses, there is no such thing as standing in a ‘grey area’. If we are not currently walking with God, we are walking with Satan. Wickedness will progress – it is not some steady point we can mingle in. We’re surrounded by sin, and we witness it ourselves through the sufferings that our friends go through, along with all the wickedness in surrounding world events. The same sin that causes these things is the same sin dwelling in us. 

This calling to choose one or the other is not a choice for tomorrow. It is now. 

Our time is always ticking away. It is urgent that we turn from the wrong path now. The greatest danger is if we leave it all to ‘tomorrow’. Thinking that “I’ll fix it starting tomorrow” or “It’s fine until later”, will drag us down further into our sin. It cannot be messed around with. It is a war and it is critical. Left alone, sin will resultin such a wicked state we cannot even imagine it. 

It will bring us to a point where there is no return. 

Turn back while you can, while you can still walk this earth, while God gives you the grace to live and breathe. For there will come a day when there is no more grace, and we can no longer choose. 

Do not walk down Satan’s path. When God disciplines us, we must listen. Pray for a quiet and gentle spirit—a teachable heart. Take the warning in Hebrews 10:26-27, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,

but only a fearful expectation of judgement and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.”

Repent and turn back while you can. Do not keep cruising down the pathway leading to death. Let us examine ourselves truly, and pray that God may reveal to us the true state of our hearts that we may not deceive ourselves and lull ourselves into a dangerous spiritual slumber. 

We must wake up and be alert. We need to choose; which path will we take and who will we follow?

Let us plead for His mercy, that He may open our eyes and let us see just how hopeless we are without Him. So that we may turn from our foolish ways, and live for Him a devoted life. 

Samantha Wy (17) is a writer for RE Generation-Z. Through this ministry, she strives to spread the truth to many other teens. Besides playing musical instruments, she also loves to bake and make random things.

Keep in Step

What plans do you have for yourself? What do you want to do in university? What career do you want to get into? What do you see yourself doing in the next ten years?

Tragically, we are swept up in our self-righteousness — striving to take control of our lives. Have you stopped and asked yourself; is God’s plan for my life my plans?

Where are we walking in our life, and with whom are we walking? Are we insisting on taking the reins of our own lives? Don’t be too quick to deny this. Though we know in our heads that we must live a life dependent on God, trusting Him and following where He leads us, whether or not we really do this is another thing. 

When we don’t get our way when our plans fail, when God leads us down a different path, how will we respond? If God wants to redirect your life, showing that He has something else planned for you, His will shall be done. So, are you going to move in grumbling and complaining at every turn? Or, will you willingly follow Him and joyfully give up your own plans, for God’s plan that He has for you?

An Overthrow 

First thing’s first. If there is to be a place for Christ in our lives and firstly in our hearts, there must be an overthrow of someone else. 

In our hearts, there is one throne, with space for only one person. Now, the question is, in your heart, who is sitting on that throne?

If we sit stubbornly on our throne, we sit with our self-righteousness and pride. If Christ comes knocking at the door of our hearts, we may hear it but still foolishly insist on sitting at our own thrones. 

If this is you, you must know. If you want to follow God’s plan, you must be overthrown in your own heart first and foremost. Otherwise, there will be no room for Christ to enter, and there is no space for the righteousness of Christ. If you keep insisting on sitting at your throne, Christ will never be able to be King in your life? Why? Because you have unjustly crowned yourself as King of your heart. We all must question ourselves. Who sits at the throne of our hearts?

As sinful men, we have built high walls of pride and righteousness for ourselves. If God is to be king in our lives, these walls must first be crumbled and demolished. Our foundations must be completely and totally destroyed if Christ is to be our cornerstone. Note Isaiah 28:16, “So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation: the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.”

What is a cornerstone? A cornerstone is a crucial stone laid first to ensure the stability of the building. All other stones in the building are based and guided by that first cornerstone. So, if Christ is to be our cornerstone, then all foundations and previous plans must be completely destroyed. Buildings cannot have multiple plans. There is only one plan from where it is built — only one foundation.

You might question, why should I live for someone else when the things of this world satisfy enough? Why can’t I rule my own life? Because God has told us this, that only He can fully satisfy us, that a life we lead is a life walking to the path of destruction. We cannot fill our hearts with games, study, our reputation, material possessions. It will not work, and by the year, we will only feel emptier, seeking more and more extreme things to fill ourselves. The most satisfying and fulfilling life is a life for God, walking with Him and obeying Him. 

We cannot walk with God if we are insistent on walking ourselves. We might pray for it and say that we want to walk with God. We may even trick ourselves into thinking we want to walk with God, but we must check ourselves: do we genuinely yearn for this, or is it just empty words?

An Exchange

All glory in the past and hope in the future that we put in ourselves must be put aside. Exchanges must be made. 

We know that true joy and a truly fulfilling life first starts from a true overthrow — a true surrender. We know it is the best for us, yet we insist on keeping our own plans. Proverbs 3:5-6 — “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight” — reminds us not to trust on our own limited, feeble, understanding. Yet, we still do so. It is utterly foolish. 

God wants us to surrender. Surrender our hearts, lives and plans to Him so that when He reveals a path He wants us to go down, we can be willing and ready to do so — that we go wherever He leads, whether or not it is what we want. We hold tight onto our desires, but to experience the joy in walking with God, we must first let go. 

This isn’t something that comes naturally to our sinful nature, and even once we follow, we experience doubt. Due to our impeccably limited understanding, we can’t (and often don’t) understand everything that God chooses to do in our lives. God tells us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” (Isaiah 55:8). So, we have a choice to make. Either we depend on our limited understanding, forcing our own plans. Or, we follow God, walk with Him and pray that our wants for our lives can be transformed and synced with what God wants for our lives. 

Remember, what are we exchanging these things for? We exchange these things not worth keeping for God’s plan for us. God’s good plan will shape us and lead us to grow closer to Him. Only in obedience to Him will we be able to follow Him. God wants us to delight in Him, and in following Him, we will be given things far more valuable than anything our own plans could ever produce — things that are eternal, things that are good for the deepest parts of our souls. So why should we ever follow in grumbling, holding tight to rubbish?

So what NOW?

We can’t expect our whole life plan to be revealed to us in a few seconds. It’s not as simple as a ‘step by step’ plan on walking with God. Don’t forget that we walk in faith in a DAILY struggle. 

So, how can we follow God’s plan for our future when we don’t even know what it is? We follow God at the moment. NOW. It’s not something far off, reserved for our later studies or jobs. It is daily obedience to God NOW. God has specifically put us in our lives. God has purposely put us in our families, the country we live in, the opportunities we receive. So, we first follow God’s plan at the moment from what He has given us, and He will lead us to our future. 

Denying our own dreams isn’t a far off thing. It’s something we do every day, now. When we want to waste our time, then first think, what does God want us to do? How else could we use our time? Let us not be reluctant to follow God’s current calling for us. We see in Jonah’s story. He didn’t want to follow what God asked of Him, what He planned for Jonah. Jonah ran away, but in the end, God’s will was fulfilled. This applies to us. If God has a calling for us (whether that be something currently or something later on in life), in the end, His will shall be fulfilled. 

To know what God wants, we must first know God and saturate our souls with His will. We need discernment which comes with spiritual maturity. We cannot expect to know what God wants us to do if we do not know Him and if we do not read His word. Our calling won’t be unveiled to us in a second. It’s not something we don’t know in one moment and know in the next. We need to walk with God daily and slowly. By having a true relationship with Him, we will know what He wants us to do with our lives. 

In small situations, we must keep in step with the spirit, bearing fruits of the spirit while we are led by the spirit every day. Bear love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 3:22-23).

Keep in step, small steps, steps in the present. Bear our cross and deny the fleshly desires we have, that God may be the true King of our lives, that He may sit in the throne of our hearts, that He may truly be glorified and that His Kingdom comes, that His will be done in and through our lives.

God and Me

Who or what do you put your faith in? When your world turns upside down, what is it you cling to?

In seconds our life could be flipped upside down, and our time on earth could end at any given moment. In times like these, where do we turn to? Where do we seek comfort, strength and rest?

What is there to hold onto in an unstable, constantly changing, and wicked world?

What is it that you put your trust in and look to as your ray of hope?

Fears of Mine

In a world soaked with sin, we don’t need to look far to see sin’s effects on us and the people around us. As you read this sentence this very moment, hundreds and thousands of people are experiencing great, great hardship. People are constantly facing loss, poverty, persecution—the list is continuous. There are so many things that we may fear, things that can take over our minds and things that have us thinking of all the possible “what ifs”. 

However, it is too often that we worry about such worldly things. At times we fear so much, which traps us into a state of worry. We worry about our future, our grades, about disappointing our family and friends, about materialistic belongings. Fearing the wrong things can be like a trap that holds us so that we cannot move — and go anywhere. Our fears pile on top of each other, some bigger than others, some we’ve had for longer than others. 

These piled up fears only point to even bigger fears and lies we hold in our hearts. Without a personal relationship with God, our hearts are blackened and hardened. Only by God’s grace and mercy may God change our hearts to be meek, earnest and trusting in Him. Without going back again to God, to lay at His feet these fears, our hearts will only continue to rot. Covering these fears and lies by blocking them out, ignoring them or ‘fixing’ your heart with a replacement (e.g. friends, games) will not in any way solve the problem. By letting the problem stay, it will only continue to grow and grow until it will one day overcome us. 

When fear seizes us, life seems overwhelming, and God’s solid promises seem to falter before our eyes. In moments of panic and worry. It is crucial that we stop ourselves from diving deeper into the rabbit hole of “what ifs”, and pause to think—what is it I fear, and is it something that I should be fearful of? 

Godly fear and the Biblical response to fear

There was a time I had an experience where I faced uncertainty. During that time, my mind was all over the place. I was thinking about so many things, and I felt unsteady. Safe to say, I was overwhelmed with everything, and I felt lost in it all, so I went to kneel down in prayer. 

It was at that moment that a verse I read earlier that day came back into my mind. Psalm 46:10, He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

I started to think. Why am I so overwhelmed? what exactly am I afraid of? Is it the uncertainty? Fear of the future? Fear of loss? After reading the rest of Psalm 46, God had once again reminded me of His greatness and His goodness. “Though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging” (Psalm 46:2-3), we have nothing to fear, and we will not be afraid. 

The almighty and steadfast God is our God, and He is our refuge and our strength. What else is there to fear? He is present—God is with us—He remembers us and inclines His ear to us. He is gracious, providing us with all the grace we need to overcome any trials. He is sovereign, in control of every situation in our lives. He is trustworthy; He knows what is best for us and will work through everything for good to those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose, those whom He has predestined and called. 

Along with the devotion that morning (P. Tripp’s ‘New Morning Mercies’) where the Bible passage was Psalm 145, I was reminded how God could use everything for His glory. His Holy Name will be exalted, and His wonderful works will be made known. Every day, including our highest and lowest points, times of fear and times of assurity, God can use it all for His glory. He will be exalted among the nations, He will be exalted in the earth. God gave me peace, once I lay at His feet and placed my burdens on Him. 

So my question is, do we truly trust Him? Or are we uttering those words in emptiness? Where do we put our faith?

Once we know of God’s greatness and holiness, then why do we still fight to keep each day, keep our future, for ourselves? Why do we not trust God with each day? This by no way means carelessness or simply going with the flow of each day. No. Each day is a spiritual battle, a war. Our whole heart must be given to God and nothing less. Trust in Him wholeheartedly and nothing less.

The Fragility of Life and the Vanity of the World

As I said earlier, I wanted to remind each other that our lives can turn around in mere seconds. As teens, we usually think that we’ve certainly got plenty of time left on earth, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. 

We take His grace for granted. Each breath we take is only by His grace. Things that we have no control over can change our lives. Things we have absolutely no power over, not us or any other man on earth. We arrogantly think that we are strong and knowledgeable enough to lead our own lives. We have so little insight, so why do we still insist on choosing our own way? Why do we refuse to follow and submit to God?

Things like the pandemic have shown us just how weak we are, but even after seeing that, we still choose to follow our own self, pleasures and plans. It is foolish to lead our own life for our selfish desires, and our lives will be in vain. 

As written in Psalm 1 — those who follow their own counsel, those who are content with dwelling in sin and wickedness will blow away like chaff. Their lives lead to nothing, and they will not stand in judgement, as the only way that road leads to is complete destruction. When this world is gone, what will be left? If God were to call on you now and ask you about your life, what could you say? Do not frolic in your sins, but repent and beg God for His mercy. 

What will you do?

Fellow teens, plead to God that He may open your eyes to turn them to Him and that He may reveal to you a glimpse of His glory, that you may see His greatness and almighty power, that you can truly taste His goodness for yourself, PERSONALLY. God and me. God and you. 

So, will you follow Him? Will you give your whole heart and your whole life to Him? To not look back, to have no regrets and to walk with Him from now until forevermore.

Where is your heart right now? Pray, that God may reveal it to you and that you may know your heart and just how much we all need God. 

Cling to God as your one and only hope in this unsteady world. Put your faith in Him, and keep praying. Always. 

Soli Deo Gloria,

Your sister in Christ – Samantha

Samantha Wy (17) is a writer for RE Generation-Z. Through this ministry, she strives to spread the truth to many other teens. Besides playing musical instruments, she also loves to bake and make random things.

Pride: the Universal Disease

At one point or another, we’ve all struggled with pride — myself included. Pride is definitely still a struggle I face at times. From our achievements to our self-image, pride can be hard to spot, and it takes so many different forms. Whether we’d like to admit it or not, we have more pride in our lives than we realise. 

All man has fallen ill with sin and pride. Pride keeps away the humility, meekness, and reconciliation that we so desperately need. In the middle of COVID-19, we’ve seen the devastating destruction disease can cause. However, we ‘sleep’ on a disease that infects all mankind, from Adam and Eve to our generation; sin, precisely pride. 

Maybe we brush it off, or perhaps it may seem like an endless struggle. So what is pride, and where is its end?

The Disease

As mentioned earlier, pride takes many forms. It’s constantly shape-shifting. It can be seen in many subtle ways, and it varies for each of us. For example, it could be the desire to prove ourselves, receive pity, and have a specific reputation. 

With hearts naturally inclined towards sin, we naturally lean towards self-glorification and self-centred lives. The self-righteous pride that we have leads us to give ourselves credit for who we are and what we’ve achieved. By no means is this only restricted to outward appearances or actions. Especially now, where we live in a modern world that idealises self-satisfaction and self-praise, pride spreads and multiplies rapidly.

Once we’ve dipped our toes into this seemingly tiny pleasure, we forget that God is the only reason we are here in the first place. As written in Psalm 10:4, “In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God”. When we become prideful, we simply forget. Just like that, we’ve forgotten all the undeserved graces that God has already given us. 

Pride is so great, making it so dangerous to simply push aside. Satan was cast from heaven because of his pride. In Isaiah 14:12-15, we can see the pride that made him think he could replace God as the rightful ruler of the universe. We, too, think we’re worthy of controlling things, controlling our lives entirely independently. However, it is foolish to think that all we have and all we are is thanks to our own hard work. 
Pride imprisons us in foolishness, and not only that. In Proverbs 16:18, it is written, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall”. So not only will pride stunt our spiritual growth, but just like any other sin, it will bring us away from God and destroy us.

The Symptoms of Pride

Though it comes in many different shapes and sizes, pride always results in the same thing. It produces the same fruit, the same symptoms. Here are just a few:

Superficiality

When we live in our pride, we are far more concerned with earthly things rather than things of eternity that truly matter. We value how people perceive us more than the state of our hearts before God. This leads us to only ‘fix’ the visible sins and leave the ‘invisible’ ones to have an outward sense of ‘holiness’. Pride leads us to devalue true discipline and obedience, which also must happen when we aren’t ‘seen’ by people. 

Fault-seeking Ignorance

It’s exactly what it sounds like. After ignoring the evil in our own hearts, we go to blame and judge others. Not only is it ignoring our own evil, but seeing ourselves through pride-tinted glasses removes all the faults we see in our hearts. There is so much wickedness in our hearts that if we were to look at our hearts, we should be more focused on our own sins before we leap at others’ sins. 

Self-justification

Excuse after excuse after excuse. Of course, I’m not entirely in the wrong. There are so many reasons why I did what I did or why I am like I am! That is the way pride makes us think. Maybe it’s after not doing your homework or after not paying attention in the service. With pride, we are never in the wrong. We find a million-and-one excuses to justify ourselves and our sins. 

Attention Seeking

Whether it’s ‘subtly’ boasting about achievements, feeling the need to achieve, or saying “yes” to everyone, a symptom of pride is the need for attention and praise. In essence, this symptom occurs because our prideful selves seek earthly glory, validation and praise from man and not from God. 

These are just a few of the many symptoms of pride. It’s not easy to spot, and because of the nature of pride, it can be tough to spot pride in ourselves. But, unless God opens our eyes and shows us our hearts, we cannot see the pride intertwined within our lives. 

Curing Pride

Like most illnesses, we cannot be cured of pride half as quickly as we contract it. So what are the first steps to getting better?

We need to cling to the truth, remember how we are hopeless without Christ, and remember how God has saved us from our sins. We must turn back to Christ and have faith in Him. Faith is to look away from ourselves and to look towards God. This is exactly what we need to do amidst our pride, where we have looked away from good and instead looked to ourselves. We must turn our eyes to Christ and have faith in HIm.
Faith is God’s gift to us, “for by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Thus, faith is to call on God’s strength and not our own, which in itself is a great grace.

Grace Alone

On the topic of grace, we must remember that everything we are and all we have is simply by grace alone — Sola Gracia, one of the 5 Solas of the reformation. No one can boast because it is only by grace alone that we have been saved. So if we find pride in being ‘holier’ than others, remember, it is only by God’s grace that we have come to know Him. 

This brings me to the hymn “Grace Alone” by Scott Wesley Brown and Jeff Nelson. It reminds us that every promise and difference we make, every prayer and step of faith, is only by His grace. Each word we say, if we can be a blessing for others, it is only by His grace.

Grace alone, which God supplies,
Strength unknown, He will provide,
Christ in us, our cornerstone,
We will go forth in grace alone.”

By grace, and grace alone. 

We are not better or worthy of salvation than anyone else. We are just as blind and sick. We have nothing in ourselves to boast about because we’re all helpless. So, if we are to boast, it could only be about one thing; grace in God’s goodness and sovereignty.

The Path of Humility

So fellow teens, while we live in a spiritually diseased world, it does not mean that we too should follow this flow. Instead, we must fight against our sins, against our pride that (if left undealt with) will lead us to a sickly death. 

Learn instead to walk with God in the path of humility, just like Christ did when He was on this very earth. Treasure Him and keep His word deep in your heart. And most importantly pray, that God may guide you and provide His strength to help you overcome the sin that has plagued all of mankind. 

Samantha Wy (17) is a writer for RE Generation-Z. Through this ministry, she strives to spread the truth to many other teens. Besides playing musical instruments, she also loves to bake and make random things.

The Media We Breathe

We are the “tech-savvy” Gen-Z—the generation born and raised by the growing virtual world. Social media and technology have infiltrated every single aspect of our lives. We use technology for everything. It dominates our lives—whether we realise it or not.

Our phones keep us connected. Our TV’s entertain us. The internet gives us information on anything we want to know. A world without our devices seems comparable to the dark ages. Even listening to music would be completely different without the technology we have today. It’s a massive part of our lives, and more often than not, we don’t even realise it. 

As Gen-Z, we’ve grown up in a world where we have everything on demand. From TV shows to music to news, it’s all laid out for us. Without these, we’d be seeing plays instead of TV, listening to music only in concerts, and to learn we’d have to go to the library. Things are always instant for us, so we expect everything else to be instant when that is not the case in reality.

Our Screens in Lockdown

Now, when we may find ourselves in a long and dreary lockdown, it seems like the time we have to fill has doubled. Yet, even after studying and doing everything we need to do, it still seems like we have so much ‘extra time’. 

We all know that we shouldn’t waste our time, that we need to “make the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). Like me, maybe you started lockdown with determination and zeal to do so, but as lockdown extends time and time again, we notice that fire slowly dying. As the fire dies, we start to believe it’s okay to waste our time and eventually, we build up a tolerance for wasting our time. Consequently, social media has become more significant in our lives as we rely on it more and more to stay entertained. 

With online learning, we easily spend 5 hours in front of our laptops, plus the additional time we spend watching videos or scrolling through our feeds. The Australian Health Department recommends no more than 2 hours of screen time. Yet, we see our screen time on our laptops and phones nearing or even reaching double digits (really, you should have a look at your screen time. It might just surprise you!). 

A survey of over 1000 Australians showed that the average screen time on phones being 5.5 hours daily, with Gen-Z’s having a higher screen time than any other generation (an average of 7.3 hours). Even the average 5.5 hours would add up to 2.7 months every year, and with our 7.3-hour average, it would be 3.6 months every year spent solely on our phones. So if we use our phones for approximately 67 years of our (possibly) 80-year life, we would be on our phones for 20.3 years of our whole lives. Yes, as Gen-Z, we spend 20 years of our lives on our phones. 

A few hours on Youtube or Instagram is nothing today. But added up, you will unknowingly end up wasting so much priceless time. This is exactly how Satan wants it, that you just do it bit by bit and eventually lead you to problems, regrets and grave damage. 

The Truth of it All

But of course, social media is not all bad. God uses media to share His word to others, and it’s used as a source to connect and encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ from across the entire world!

Although amazing things are done with technology, the so-called ‘truth’ we see in the media is often twisted. Social media mixes so many worldviews where nothing is neutral; almost none are true or match up with what the Bible says. 

To tell right from wrong, we need to discern everything we hear and see on social media. As it says in Hebrews 5:14, “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil”. Discernment comes with growing spiritual maturity and a strong foundation on the truth. With lies everywhere in our lives, it is so important that we know the truth and keep it deep in our hearts. 

In the book ‘Lies Young Women Believe’ by Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth and Dannah Gresh, the impact of wrong worldviews is compared to an IV drip, slowly dripping poison into our bodies. The book also explains how we first fall into lies by just listening to them in the first place, and social media is an open book of lies that we constantly read. 

They write, “It all comes down to whether you’re going to let the world’s values, morals, and thinking drip day by day into your system, or you’re going to intentionally choose to be exposed to input that will help you become more wise and godly.” So, let’s learn to set our minds on things above. Things that we may not be able to see or touch or experience now, but things that are actually significant that we will carry for eternity. 

Matthew 6:19-21 says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Getting in Control

As much as we’d like to, at this point, we might not be able to say that we have control over our screen time. Addiction is real, and it’s something that must be overcome.

Ask yourself a few questions, test yourself.

  • Is the time I spend on my devices more than enjoyment? 
  • Do I feel the need to be on/check my phone? 
  • Do I depend on my phone more than I depend on God? 
  • When I use my phone, do I lose track of time and forget about everything else?

If we find ourselves stuck somewhere, we need to ask for help. First, pray and ask God to guide you and give you the strength to overcome the struggles. Then, ask for help from others to help keep you in check and set limits if needed. 

Humans created technology, so we should be in control. Yet many people live their lives around their phones, having their phone or social media as masters of their lives. If we aren’t in that situation, we shouldn’t just ‘walk past’ those who are. Instead, we should pray for them. Being addicted to our phones is just as dangerous as any other addiction; it will snowball and eventually overcome us.

I stopped using social media for five days, this is what I learnt

For the past five days, I stopped using my phone. No social media, no internet, nothing for five days. Apart from essential school work, I stopped using my devices. 

Before I started, I was honestly puzzled at how I was going to spend my week. It seemed really hard beforehand. But, when I did start, I realised just how much technology impacted my life. A habit I realised I had was that, at times, I would subconsciously bring my phone with me, even though I wouldn’t use it. But, again, we rarely ever realise just how much we use our phones or the impact it has on our daily lives.

It was surprisingly easy and enjoyable to stop using my phone and the internet. It was nice to take a break from the virtual world and look more at the real world around me. I spent more time practising skills, studying, bonding with my family, and it really helped me use my time wisely. 

We must live in reality, not a made-up world with false expectations and ideals. By not using my phone or the internet for five days, I could see and appreciate my surroundings, the little things that would otherwise go mostly unnoticed. 

I deeply encourage you to give up social media and the internet for five days or maybe even more. If possible, do it with a friend so you can encourage each other, as well as share and grow together from the experiences you had during that time. 

Pray that during this time, where the end of the pandemic is nowhere to be seen, that God will use lockdown to teach and shape us to become more like Christ. Pray that God protects us from Satan and his temptations and that we can continue to grow and walk with Him.

Samantha Wy (17) is a writer for RE Generation-Z. Through this ministry, she strives to spread the truth to many other teens. Besides playing musical instruments, she also loves to bake and make random things.

Lazy Living

We’ve all found ourselves either thinking or saying something along the lines of “I don’t feel like doing that!” or “I’m just not bothered, I’ll do it later”. 

We have those days where we find ourselves longing to ditch everything we need to do and sit on our beds and do nothing, binge watch our favourite shows or daze off into the world of Instagram. 

Those days are all the more present, especially now, where some of us find ourselves in lockdown at the beginning of the school holidays. Just a week ago, we were immersed in our buzzing schedules, and now we’re at home 24/7 with almost nothing to do. The temptation to follow through with our lazy desires becomes so much stronger.

What is Laziness?

Let’s go back to the start; what is laziness?

Laziness is when we refuse to do chores or procrastinate on homework for more ‘free time’. In essence, we disregard the responsibilities that God has given us. Satan knows this exactly, and he will strive for us to waste the limited time we have and indulge our lazy ways. 

In Ephesians 5:15-17, Paul writes to the church in Ephesus, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

“The days are evil”, how so? Hours themselves are not evil, used correctly. They are a priceless but limited gift that God allows us. Rather, it reminds us of the truth that we live in days full of evil, and it isn’t hard to see. We see violence and wars, disasters constantly happening all around the globe. Take COVID, to name one, with 181 million cases and 3.91 million deaths worldwide to this day. 

Living as a Sluggard

However, it’s what we don’t see that is the real problem. It’s sin that has polluted and diseased the entirety of the human race, worse than all disasters that there has been and ever will be. But we have yet to realise this because all seem smooth sailing from our worldly eyes. As a result, we relax and start to live at ease. This is not what God told us to do. We must use our time, our youth, wisely and with care of what we do according to God’s will. 

As ideal as it may seem, a lazy lifestyle is a wicked and pointless way to live. Ask God to teach you how to live for Him and to strive for a life that is wholly for His glory. God shows us how we should work even through ants as it says in Proverbs 6:6, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!” (I encourage reading Proverbs 6, specifically verses 6-11). 

Even the ants work hard, despite not having a relationship with God. So how much harder should we be working, knowing our Creator and being aware of the endless mercies we receive? 

How many opportunities, how much grace have we wasted all for the sake of our momentary ‘comfort’?

Be very careful, for to be lazy is to fulfil our selfish wants and desires. It is to idolise ourselves and place ourselves in the throne of our heart where God should be. It is the opposite of self-denial which is crucial if we want to follow Christ. It is rebellion and rejecting responsibility, wasting valuable time to humiliate God rather than glorifying Him. For it is in a life of obedience and submission to God that we find true joy. 

Proverbs 21:25, “The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labour.” Laziness cannot be overlooked or dismissed. 

Fighting Laziness

We are all more than capable of working hard for God’s glory, of using our talents and passions for Him. Of course, we must take rests and have time where we can relax for a while. But, it cannot turn into more than that. It mustn’t turn into our everyday life of relaxation, for when we let our guard down, Satan attacks mercilessly. 

God gives us work and responsibilities, and they are a blessing that is to be done with joy in obedience. Realise how fortunate we are to be able to do ‘basic’ things like going to school. While we still have the opportunity, do our best in all our responsibilities that God is glorified and his name known.

Christ has already come to earth, died, and resurrected for us. What is our response to that? Do we live as a sluggard, or will we live a productive and consecrated life for Him? Laziness stops us from doing so. Laziness makes us abandon the life God has called us to live. 

We are guaranteed to have days where we are exhausted, and there will be more times like lockdown where there will be a greater struggle to avoid laziness. To fight laziness requires self-discipline and good time management, which is undoubtedly hard to learn and something I personally still struggle with daily. But in Christ, we find strength and pray that He will guide and teach us to use our time wisely and learn self-discipline. 

Rev. Dr Stephen Tong said, “Squeeze your life, squeeze your time, challenge your limits for the glory of God”. Each one of us has different talents, some that we have yet to discover. Stop being slothful, and if you find yourself with nothing to do, then explore new things. Try something new, and who knows, it may be an unknown talent that God wants you to polish and use for His glory. 

A Challenge For You

As we continue to spend the rest of our holidays stuck at home, we must be vigilant with spending our time and using it wisely. I challenge you to take only five days and use it as productively as you can. Read new books (if you’re stuck on ideas, try ‘Screwtape Letters’ by C. S. Lewis or ‘The Holy War’ by John Bunyan), learn how to do something new, study, help out with more housework, and anything productive. Do not waste one moment of your waking hours. 

Most importantly, in your devotion during this time, ask God each morning to teach you how to spend your time wisely, that He protects you from Satan’s flaming darts. Ask Him to open your eyes that you may see every lesson and grace that He gives you, and ask for strength to keep going and learn self-discipline as the challenge may get more challenging as you progress. 

During these five days, I encourage writing short notes or a diary on your experiences each day. How is it different to how you usually spend your time? What have you done? How has God led you through each day? Is there any regret in spending your day this way? Reflect on each day before you go to sleep. 

Fellow teens, take the opportunity to work even harder and be even more productive, lest it is used as a tool by the devil to drag you away from God and squander our priceless time on earth.

Samantha Wy (17) is a writer for RE Generation-Z. Through this ministry, she strives to spread the truth to many other teens. Besides playing musical instruments, she also loves to bake and make random things.

Moving Forwards ’til the End

Every person on this earth has their own individual set of struggles. We all come across hardships, but what is it that pushes us through to the other end? There is no doubt that perseverance is a must if we are to make it past our trials. 

However, as Christians, we have something that other people don’t. We have endless hope and joy in our Lord. We know that He is the truth and that He will reign victorious at the end of time. So what exactly is this Christian perseverance, and what is so special about it?

Work Overload

If you’re anything like me, you’ll find that there’s always that something that needs to get done. Whether it’s studying for that major exam or keeping up with co-curricular activities. God has given us all responsibilities that get bigger and bigger as we grow older. We have our roles as students, friends, sons, daughters, sisters and brothers. In all of these roles, we must do our best that others may see God through us.

These responsibilities can easily make us feel tired. They can even push us to be unmotivated because of how much work we have. Learning how to juggle everything can be quite a challenge. 

At times it can be so hard to keep going, and the temptation to give up can be so strong, but we must remember that this is what God has planned for us. Galatians 6:5 reads, “For each will have to bear his own load”. However, as Paul writes this letter to the church of Galatia, he also tells us about how we have each other to help carry our loads (see Galatians 6:1-5). We are to “bear another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ”. 

Not the Way Out

We aren’t the only ones trying to stay above all our work and getting over the stress we feel. And so I encourage us all; don’t give up because God has given us these tasks to train us for our lives as adults and as the future of the church. Especially at school, we see many of our friends that may have quit things they just don’t like, and because of that, they have it much easier than us. But as much as it seems, quitting is not the answer. 

As odd as it may sound, we are incredibly blessed to have a pile of work. We have been given the precious opportunity to go to school and have an education. Something so mundane to us is someone’s dream on the other side of the planet. Yes, it can be hard, but we can’t give up. Not everyone receives the opportunity to go to school and do co-curricular activities. We must then keep pushing onwards and do our best in these things for God’s glory. 

It can seem challenging, but as said in Phillipians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. You can do all things, face the workload, through Christ, who is the source of your strength. 

Perseverance of True Christians

Our motives drive our perseverance, and what we strive for will affect how long we continue to work for it. If we work for something temporary, our hard work will also be so. It is sure that we will not gain a complete and everlasting pure motivation for God and God’s glory only. With our sin infected hearts, we will have motives that are constantly straying from the right path. 

Colossians 3:23 reminds us, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men”. And we must do so, always asking God to give us a more concentrated motivation for Him. We shouldn’t be striving to keep our teachers satisfied or to please parents or ourselves. Instead, when we have our spiritual eyes fixated on God’s glory, we will find that we can persevere through so much more. 

As I mentioned earlier, we have a sure and everlasting hope in God. If we have experienced His unconditional love and have seen even a glimpse of His holiness, we will have a driving motor that pushes us to work for His glory. This special perseverance is to willingly and joyfully accept where we are and what we have. It is to recognize that above all our tasks, the truth is that God is sovereign. 

Whatever our struggles may be, always remember that God knows, and He has His great plan that we don’t understand. These hardships are part of His plan for us, and because of that, we must keep going and pushing onwards. As 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it”. God knows our limits, and when we surrender all our struggles and depend on Him, He will guide us through moment by moment. He will not forsake us. 

Looking Back and Moving Forwards

Slowly and steadily, when we walk with God step by step, we will not only be able to persevere through each challenge, but we will also be able to look back and see God’s guidance. When we meditate on what God has done and how He has led us through each day, we can see how He carefully planned every moment. When we reflect back, it also adds to our motivation and encourages us to continue living through our days with God leading us. 

Our time is not to be wasted. Too often, I have wasted hours watching pointless videos or scrolling endlessly on social media, as I’m sure so many of us have. However, it is the moment when we stop procrastinating where we can properly use our time. It’s in the daily self-denial and the small but constant decision to work where we can begin to bear our cross and strive for things of eternity. 

Keep pushing on, and use the limited time we have wisely. What will we answer God when He asks us what we did with the precious opportunities He has given us? Will we admit that we just ‘gave up’, or will we be able to say that we worked hard and used all we were given?

“Squeeze your life, squeeze your time, challenge your limits for the glory of God.”

Rev. Stephen Tong

Samantha Wy (17) is a writer for RE Generation-Z. Through this ministry, she strives to spread the truth to many other teens. Besides playing musical instruments, she also loves to bake and make random things.

Sticks and Stones

I do not doubt that we have all been hurt by things our friends, and even family, have said or done. We all experience it to varying degrees. You might be dealing with it almost every day or maybe not much at all, but I’m sure it’s something we all face. It’s inevitable, and it’s hard, primarily when these words target things we deeply care about and our insecurities. We know the saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. This saying couldn’t be any more false. Words have great power; they either build us up or break us down. So what are we to do? How do we face our peers? What do we do with the comments and remarks?

Sin has infected every human heart, and because of that, we very often hurt each other. Whether it be the things we say or do, as sinners, we constantly live out unrighteous behaviours. As said in Romans 1:29-30, “They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents”. The list goes on and on. We are bound to be hurt and hurt others because of our hearts’ wicked and deceitful nature. When these moments arise, we must choose what to do and how to respond. 

Knowing Your Worth

I want to start by reminding you of the greatness of Christ’s love. Yes we are wicked. Yes, we are sinners. Yes, we constantly hurt God and by our own self we are unworthy. But God has chosen to love us, to love the unworthy. We are undeserving of His love, but it is by being in this very love that changes us from worthless to having worth. Being in Christ’s love we are transformed and are given a new identity in Him. As said in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” You are incredibly precious in the eyes of the Lord. He created you, and He has not created one other person like you, nor will He ever. He lovingly sent His son to die on the cross for you, that you might have hope to be with Him and know Him. He has chosen to love us despite our unworthiness, and as a child of the sovereign God you mustn’t forget that. 

Let’s look at Isaiah 43:1-2, “But now, this is what the Lord says – He who created you, Jacob, He who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze'”

Think about this for a moment. The great Creator knows you intimately. He knows all your strengths and talents. He also knows all your weaknesses, thoughts, downfalls, dark secrets and fears. He redeemed you, recovered you with a very high price. Despite knowing all this, He looks at you with mercy and out of His love He wants to redeem you, wants to die for you. He calls you by your name, and He calls you His own. And if you are truly a child of God, He will be with you wherever you go. Whatever things you will face, you will not be overcome because He is with you. His strength is made perfect in our great weakness. 

Keeping the Truth

We often forget about our worth and new identity in Christ, which is precisely what Satan wants us to do. He aims to beat us down, to convince ourselves that we are worthless. Satan can use our friends to tell us lies about ourselves to bring us away from the truth and away from God. This is right where Satan wants us to be. 

So how are we to fight this? We need to put on the armour of God. Every day we must guard our heart, mind and body against Satan’s many attacks. And so we must put on this whole armour of God daily. We need this armour to stand our ground and win against the devils many schemes. We must “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10-18).

Living as a Christian, learn to stand your ground. Stand firm against the roaring lies of this world, and even if you are mocked and bruised, stay sure of your identity in Christ. Never should you seek fulfilment and approval from this world (including your friends). “Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:2). If we seek fulfilment and approval from this world, we will never be satisfied. Giving our lives in dedication to something other than God will only end in our downfall. 

Fellow teens, do not seek approval from others and do not put their opinions deep in your heart. Instead, deeply value God’s opinion and His approval. We cannot be loved by both God and the world; it is one or the other. There is no compromise to the truth, you cannot bend the truth to please others. By changing the truth to fit in, it is no longer the truth. Proclaim the truth in its entirety and have no compromise. Not only do we proclaim the truth, but you must first accept the truth in its entirety. Accept your new identity and worth in Christ.

If we are true followers of Christ, the world will hate us. Our friends (specifically those who aren’t our brothers and sisters in Christ) will turn on us and the truth. This is stated in the Bible, and we only need to look at Christ’s life on earth to see this. 

Remember what is said in John 15:18-20, “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. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also”. 

Because of our faith, we are bound to be excluded and talked about behind our backs. If we are mistreated because we proclaimed the truth, it is only further proof that we do not belong in this world. Those who are despised and rejected for Him, God calls His children. God calls blessed things that the world outcasts. 

Prayer and Forgiveness

I cannot emphasise enough how vital prayer is when facing these hurtful comments. Prayer strengthens us. Through prayer, we receive the protection, power, and word of God that we need to face Satan’s attacks.

I have struggled with being mistreated by people I call ‘friends’ for years now, and to this day, I still do. Finding how to deal with it was hard, mainly because it never stops. It was and still is something I face every day. It got to a point where I dreaded recess and lunch. I found myself believing so many lies my friends would tell me about my insecurities and my life as a Christian. Before one wound would heal, another wound would appear. But, it is these very wounds that we need to bring in front of God and to lay all our pain at His feet. 

Bring our scars and our tears to Him, as it is said in Psalm 56:8 “You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?”. Every struggle we have, every tear we cry, every time we are bullied or put down, remember that God collects it and holds it close to His heart. Like we discussed earlier, know your worth. Seek God and pray earnestly for Him to heal our scars and strengthen us, that we may persevere in sharing His Word. 

Pray not only for yourself but pray for those who are unfriendly towards you. They are sinners too, and just like us, they desperately need God’s grace and mercy. Most of the time, people don’t realise the total effect of their words and the power of their tongue. As said in James 3:8, “but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”. 

Unfortunately, we can be unaware of our lethal words. So, be quick to forgive them, and pray for them that their hearts may be changed and God may bless and forgive them. Not half-hearted prayer with grudges, but honest prayer with the same longing we would have when we pray for ourselves. Just like Christ said when He was dying on the cross, “Have mercy on them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). For God has first forgiven us, we must also forgive those who sin against us. 

Extend patience and grace towards them, as Christ has to us. There is no denying how hurtful it can be, but as hard as it is, show empathy to them. Especially if they don’t yet know Christ, keep in mind that they are lost and searching. Perhaps they have a great struggle that causes them to do what they do. Don’t be quick to judge because we don’t know their whole story. We are not better than them, and we should never think that because, at times, we are the ones inflicting pain onto others. We also must remember to watch our words and think before we speak. Do not constantly dwell on their words, but instead dwell on the word of God. Do not lash out in your self-talk, but instead ask God to help you be forgiving and understanding. God will never let us suffer alone, for He has made you for a reason. 

Stand firm in Christ, and remember who you are. Fight Satan’s lies using God’s strength and truth. Most importantly, pray. For yourself and your oppressors, that God’s will is done and that He may be glorified through and in our lives. 

Your sister in Christ, 

Samantha

Samantha Wy (17) is a writer for RE Generation-Z. Through this ministry, she strives to spread the truth to many other teens. Besides playing musical instruments, she also loves to bake and make random things.

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