LIFE WITHOUT PURPOSE


What is the purpose of life? I’m sure that many of us sit here and ask ourselves the big questions: what are we here for? Or at least, we’ll sit there aimlessly, with no goal or aim for ourselves, letting every day go by as a routine, and nothing changes. 

There is this big empty hole in our lives – the feeling of having no purpose, no goal in our lives, and no will to achieve. Maybe we try to fill this hole in our lives through sports, good grades or having lots of friends, but, for many of us – when we are truly alone – we have that feeling of boredom and no genuine goal in life. Maybe some of you have had times where you’ve gotten a bad mark on a test and your parents scold you, and you get in an argument with friends, and you might wonder, what is the point of living?

Personally, I often feel like I have no purpose and wonder what my calling is, while other times I just feel like I have no goals or ambitions. Especially during more recent years, as life has become more stressful and busy, I’ve sat there and wondered, “what is the point of all this?” I’ve often felt like I have nothing to achieve in life, and I’m sure that there are others around me who feel the same.

God gave us a Purpose

Ephesian 2:10 states,
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do Good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”, 

This verse highlights that we have a divine purpose from God: to do good works and glorify God, serving Him and the people around us. We have heard all of this before, and for many of us, from a very young age, but it still begs the question. 

How do we find purpose? 

Each of us has been uniquely shaped by God, and have many unique skills, talents and characteristics. So sit down and ask yourself, what is it that I love doing? What is it that I am good at? For some, this may be music, or perhaps a love for computers. 

Then ask yourself, how can I glorify God through this? It could be serving at your local church, through a musical avenue or helping set up presentations – whatever it is, everyone has their own calling from God. Everyone was given their own talents by God, things we are good at and we can enjoy, and we can find a way to glorify God through them.

But what about our academic life? Our other pursuits? How should we approach this? 

For the glory of God

1 Corinthians 10:31 states, 

‘So whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.’

Many of us often lack motivation, but Phillippians 4:13 reminds us, that “I can do all things, through Christ who gives me strength”, and that there is a purpose for every life. In whatever we do, our job, our studies, our ministries, we are to do it for the glory of God, meaning we take it seriously and do it as if we were doing it for God himself, for example if we are playing an instrument, we play it as if God is in front of us.

God is such an important part of our life, because he is the key to finding goals and a purpose in life. 

Sit down and pray to God, and ask Him to help you find your purpose. God has a purpose for each and every one of us, because He created all of us and knows you better than you know yourself. Pray for God to help you find meaning and ambitions, and use your passions to glorify God in whatever you do, from your academic studies, sporting activities, and the way you act towards others.  

In whatever we do, may we be reminded that “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” – Colossians 3:23-24

Many of us struggle to find purpose, and have other struggles in our lives, whether this be in our family life, perhaps social life, work or maybe school, but we can all come to know God better, as a collective. Come visit us at the Regeneration Z Convention https://regenerationz.org/convention

Seeking New Pastures

A House Is Not Always A Home 

For those of us fortunate enough to live in a house – it doesn’t necessarily mean we live in a home, and this is the reality for most teens when they reflect on their home environments. Amidst the chaos and frustration of a household with bantering parents or even the silence of one with a full-time working parent, it is common to feel… displaced, lost and pulled in all different directions. It’s true to say that a person’s identity is formed from such a young age by those closest to them, so what happens when the people who are put in charge of nurturing us tend to stray from their responsibilities? From kids who’ve had to make new friends 6 times in 7 years, the kids who have two Christmases and birthdays, to the ones who have only been able to call for ‘mum’ their whole lives, this lack of stability is bound to cause a shift in how we perceive ourselves in our quest to discover stability in our identity. 

As someone who is of mixed heritage, I’ve felt from a young age the effect of being plopped in between a Western world and a traditional Batak Indonesian family had on my identity. While I  cannot deny the unconditional love I’ve received from my mother’s side of the family, there were many instances in my childhood when living and visiting Indonesia when I felt like nothing but a foreigner. The desire to be fully accepted and be able to proudly claim this heritage drove me to seek more knowledge about my culture, in hopes that those around me could see my sincerity and finally perceive me as one of their own. 

But the more I dwelled on it, the more lost and disoriented I became. It seemed as though the more I gave in to my desire to fit into the mould of what I thought would grant me acceptance and a stable identity, the more ‘foreign’ I felt, and the finish line only became more distant. As feelings of rejection grew, I realised that I was seeking acceptance and belonging from the wrong people. 

We Belong to God 

Rejection by those closest to us or by those who have known us for a long time is a painful experience that evokes sharp emotions, such as anger, outrage, self-pity, and sadness. More people have experienced this type of rejection than we might think. Jesus knew what it was like to be rejected in this way.  The scriptures tell us many times that Jesus too felt this way, even amongst his own people he was rejected, mocked and felt displaced. John 1:11, 

“He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him.” 

But even in all His affliction and loneliness after feeling rejected Jesus still remained faithful to God as he knew he was a part of a family far greater and personal than any family or community that we can experience on this earth.  Ephesians 2:19 states,  

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” 

 Paul in this verse, emphasises the idea that as believers, we belong to the household of God and are part of a larger community of faith.  That as believers, we all belong to one community in Christ, regardless of our race, social status, or gender. Stating that,

“ There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  (Galatians 3:28 )

God reminds us that “we are his people” ( Psalm 100:3) and it is he who made us, and we belong to him, assuring us that in times that we feel as though we do not belong, we belong to him and are the “sheep of his pasture”. Our identity is in him and that we belong to God. 

So even when we feel like family doesn’t feel like family, or when we even feel disconnected, rejected and feel a lost sense of belonging and identity, the Bible teaches that as believers, we belong to God’s family and are part of a larger community of faith. This sense of belonging is grounded in our relationship with Jesus Christ, who brings us into a new family and gives us a new identity as his followers.

Just remember that there is a greater community around you, God’s community, as we are his chosen people and we belong to him. If you’re searching for the same community come and visit us at the Regeneration Z convention https://regenerationz.org/convention/ 

Reginella Lapenna (18) is one of the many writers in the RE Generation-Z community. She aspires to use her talents to serve God, growing and bringing others to the light of Christ. You’ll often find her in the kitchen cooking, eating and hoping to be the next Wolfgang Puck.

Now, Not Later

“Just another 15 minutes…Once I finish this video, I’ll start my assignment,” you say casually. 

As planned, the video concludes 15 minutes later. You are just about to switch tabs to start your assignment…but wait! Your eyes subconsciously glance at the side bar of recommended videos, and the next video catches your attention. Conscience and Will start playing a game of tug of war as you manouever your mouse, hovering it over the next video. 

‘Uh oh. Not this again! You said you were going to stop after one video!’ Conscience cries out, warning you of the dangers of your next actions. 

But it’s no use. ‘Experienced’ in this sinful habit, you simply shut out the warnings, and Will emerges as the victor once again. After all, just one more video wouldn’t hurt, right? 

Our Generation’s Infamous Struggle 

I’m sure we all know how that story ends: the original 15 minute video unknowingly turns into hours of wasted time, trapped in the neverending loop of Youtube’s recommendations. Once we realise our mistake, it’s the end of the day, and all we are left with is an unfinished assignment and the regret that we have once again fallen into this sinful habit. 

Procrastination. It’s our generation’s infamous struggle. 

We see it everywhere – in ourselves and in all our friends around us. As we live in a world increasing with technology and social media galore, the temptation to procrastinate only gets worse. It almost seems as if there’s an invisible force that keeps us itching to constantly check our phones for the latest notifications, or scroll through Instagram to see what our friends are up to. We can’t seem to stop, and it’s frustrating – why does our heart long to indulge in every worldly pleasure out there, instead of doing the tasks we actually need to do? 

Now, Not Later 

Procrastination isn’t a simple matter to be taken lightly. Whether we admit it or not, this sinful habit and nature has penetrated every one of us. And as we continue to procrastinate and delay the many duties we have in our lives, this dangerous habit grows and affects every aspect of our lives – even our relationship with God. 

As teens, we think that we still have so much of life ahead of us. The message often broadcasted through media is, ‘Oh it’s okay, you’re still young. Enjoy life while you can, do what you want, YOLO!’ But we fail to realise that as we’ve been squandering our lives away, misusing the precious time God has given us to indulge in worldly ways, time has continued moving. Only when we start seeing siblings, friends and others around us leave their teen years and enter adulthood, it suddenly hits us that we don’t actually have that much time left. 

“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12 

Living for Christ starts now. Sharing God’s truth starts now. Seeking to know God starts now

Not later. 

Let us not procrastinate on our spiritual lives, or live a wasted life that leaves God only for ‘someday’. While we are still young, and have the time, energy and opportunity to serve God, let’s use our time wisely to obey His calling for us. 

Battle on Bended Knees 

No matter how many times we’ve written ‘Overcome procrastination’ as one of our New Years’ Resolutions, it never really seems to happen. Even if we are willing in spirit, our flesh is too weak to fight the temptation of being lazy, selfish and procrastinating on the things we need to do. 

Procrastination is a spiritual battle – a fight against worldly temptations, against our sinful will. It is a long and hard battle that tests our self-control, obedience to God and our ability to live in holiness. 

But may we look upon our perfect God as an example, and fight this battle on our knees with pleading, prayer and reliance towards Him. Together, let our hearts be shaped to stop the sinful habits of procrastination and seek to please and glorify Him. 

Joanne Soviner (14) is one of the writers and designers for RE Generation-Z. She strives to share God’s love and grace she has received and the truth she is learning with other teens. She enjoys dancing, bullet journalling, and learning new languages.

Gen-Z And Loneliness

It’s lunch time at school and you’re sitting with your friends on one of the benches in the high school courtyard. It’s lively and full of chatter, gossip about other people in the grade and complaints about strict teachers. 

“What do we have next?” One of your friends asks.

You open your mouth to answer but another jumps in, “We’ve got history after.”

“I haven’t finished the homework.” They stand up, “I’m gonna go to my locker and get my book.”

“We’ll go with you.” Everyone stands except you. “Oh, you’re still finishing your lunch? We’ll be right back.” 

You watch them turn and walk away, further, further and further, till you can’t see them anymore. You’re left with your lunch in front of you but you’ve suddenly lost your appetite. 

‘Let’s face it, it’s not the first time they’ve left you out.’ Your thoughts start to haunt you, but you can’t deny them. There’s an unbearable sting as the realisation grows on you. 

‘Maybe, just maybe, I’ve been alone this whole time.’ 

The World’s A Lonely Place 

My fellow Gen-Z’s, we have an existential crisis in the midst of our generation. Can you guess what it is? 

Yep, you’ve got it: it’s Loneliness

Although the example above doesn’t apply to everyone, we’ve become a victim to this desolate situation in some way or another. From friend groups to your immediate family; We can’t seem to escape the clasps of loneliness. 

“But there’s eight-billion people in this world, how can we be lonely? Isn’t that another 7,999,999,999 people to befriend?”

Yes, but even people with huge social networks tend to find themselves wandering into isolation too, because at the end of the day, we each have our own problems to face and our own ways of dealing with them. 

Our society is aware of its presence, but the way we’ve tried to address this issue… we are yet to succeed.

Anti-Social Media

“Need to talk to a relative across the world? Want to make new friends? Welcome to the digital world. Here, everything is accessible with a tap of the finger. Thanks to our new and advanced technology, we are now more connected than ever…”

Our teenage years have always indirectly been fed the “Instagram, AI, and gadgets-galore!” idea.

The introduction of apps such as Tik Tok and Snapchat, with the intention of connecting people in a more easier and convenient way, has unknowingly caused us to drift further apart. Now, we’ve become solely dependent on these devices to communicate with one another. But with every Snap we send and Instagram post we like, our purpose as social beings declines. 

We become lonelier and lonelier.

“Why do you say that? These apps are used worldwide, which means we’re connected with everyone!”

But how can we fix this problem with just a simple friend request? Or a single or few comments on someone’s Tik Tok? This is the truth our generation must face. We know oh too well that this is something all teens struggle with. But we’ve become unresponsive. We’re so comfortable in this life by now, surrounded by social media, we’re probably too scared to address the dilemma we’re currently in, afraid to acknowledge that we are in need of help.

The Battle of The Heart

“Soooo, what do you s’pose we do now? It sounds hopeless honestly, we might as well live in seclusion.”

Fight fire with fire.

“Hol’ up. Fire? You wanna use fire to penetrate the imaginary walls of loneliness or something?”

What if I said we were looking at it all wrong? What if our society had been looking through the wrong lens this whole time?

What we’re dealing with is like something under this one huge umbrella. Many outcomes due to one factor. And that factor is sin. 

God has made us as social beings who cannot live without fellowship with another of our kind. But sin has caused relationships to dissolve and communities to fall apart. 

It’s time to sound the alarm. This is our call to face our opponent on the battlefield: our world. But this isn’t a physical battle. It’s a spiritual fight – a battle of the heart. But first, we need a proper battle strategy. Let’s discover together the perfect tactic as a troop of Gen-Z teens against this broken postmodern age.

Samantha Winata (15) is one of the many teens that write in RE Generation-Z. She strives to share the light of the truth through her articles and bring more teens to Christ. If she isn’t reading or playing piano, you’ll find her filling the pages in her books with drawings.

Episode 6: “I AM Who I AM”

Episode 6: "I AM Who I AM"

At one point, Moses was Egyptian royalty. But seeing the suffering of his own people, he could no longer take it. He killed an Egyptian official out of rage yet pity for his enslaved Israelite brothers. He’s been on the run for 40 years now. He’s become a fugitive nobody amongst the foreign Midians, once shepherding a wealthy nation, now a few blathering sheep.

But one day, a burning bush in the distance catches his eye. Curiously, Moses approaches and quickly realise it was God. What did God have to do with him? God’s people were suffering in Egypt, thought Moses. He was the run, a murderer, forgotten and scorned probably by everyone he knew in his past life.

God’s plan for his Name-drop

But God had a plan to make his name known to Moses and his Israelite people, and all this hardship had been God’s wise and carefully crafted backdrop for this occasion. God hadn’t forgotten his people. He was about to reveal himself.

Before that bush God said to Moses, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians to bring them to a good and broad land flowing with milk and honey. I will send you, Moses, to Pharaoh to bring my people out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:7-12 paraphrased).

But Moses doubts and says, “who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11). God says “I am with you” (the original text in Exodus 3:12 can be translated this way).

But Moses is still unsure. “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name? what shall I say to them?’” (Exodus 3:13). But God replies, “I am who I am”. In Hebrew, its Yahweh or Jehovah***.***

Sovereign Lordship and Covenantal Friendship

To Moses and to the people of Israel God is saying, I am the personal, self-existent, eternal, independent God. I am unlimited and my glory is unfathomable. I am great, far greater than you can imagine. My full glory is hidden from you so that you would humbly fear me. God revealed himself as the sovereign and all-powerful God in this exact moment of unbelief and oppression.

But God also says, I am with you, I have not forgotten my covenant, I am faithful, I will go with you. God is both sovereign and faithful. He is both Lord yet friend to His people.

This is how God had revealed Himself to Moses and the Israelites amid their persecution. This sovereign and faithful God was going to rescue them from their slavery. He was going to show his power but also his faithfulness to his people.

The God who was sovereign and faithful over the people of Israel is still sovereign and faithful over Christians today. His name is Jehovah. He is the Lord. Let’s trust him with our lives and submit ourselves to his ways. He’s worth trusting and living for.

Your Unhealthy Love-Hate Relationship with Technology

When was the last time you got yourself stuck scrolling through Tiktok, binge-watching YouTube, or trying to beat the next level in your favourite game; only to be frustrated with the guilt of wasting your time away, and then distracting that guilt away by swiping up, letting the auto-play roll on or clicking ‘try again’? You get stuck in this endless and unbreakable loop. After your preplanned 10 minutes of “relaxing” ends one-hour overtime, you hate yourself and you’ve lost your rigour and peace for the rest of the day. 

Let’s be real. Our relationship with technology is a big issue. And we know it. I don’t even need to spill all the stats because we can experience it ourselves in our daily lives. We love it for all the benefits and ease it provides in our complex lives but we hate it at the same time. Too much social media, games and entertainment:

  • Causes us to procrastinate and fall behind with our responsibilities,
  • Divides our attention, leaving our brains unable to focus longer than 5 minutes,
  • Leaves us anxious, unrestful, tired, stressed, depressed, and all in all, less happy,
  • Intoxicates our brains with useless or even sinful knowledge,
  • Influences us unconsciously with sinful and worldly habits and thoughts,
  • And ultimately, suffocates us from living healthy spiritual lives. 

Let’s face two big problems with our technology craze.

1. More Information, Less Wisdom

“Our world has more and more information, but less and less wisdom,” says Brett McCracken.1 With so much information-noise constantly bombarding us 24/7 when we wake up, before we sleep, on the bus to school, on the toilet, in between classes, basically at every spare second, we’ve drowned out the voices of wisdom in our lives. 

No wonder our lives are a mess. We learn more about dancing cats than we do about Christ. We’re more prone to believe the cultural message of trending influencers than the undying truths of Scripture. It’s not to say that there aren’t any good voices online. There are plenty and listening to them is one of many good uses of the internet. 

But the problem is where our focus—our attention—lies. Whose words and stories and messages do we think about over and over in our heads? Is it not that funny reel, or latest Netflix blockbuster, or viral tweet? 

Where has meditating God’s Word “day and night” gone in our instantaneous, and never-ending crave for trivial information? Where has “praying without ceasing” gone? God calls us to think over His words, meditate on them, and pray them back in conversation with Him throughout our day—throughout those spare moments. Is it not ironic that we’re meditating on the nonsense of the world “day and night”?

2. Competing Spectacles

What’s ruining us is not only the constant battle for our minds and thoughts, but also our hearts and affection. We were created to behold glorious and wondrous things. That’s why all the eye-grabbing spectacles of the internet world vie for our attention. 

In his book, Competing Spectacles, Tony Reinke says, “Spectacles compete with God for our attention”.2 Christ crucified should be the most glorious thing we look at. It should be the focus of our heart, attention and affection. William Prynne, a 17th century lawyer once wrote, “Let Christ Jesus be your all in all, your only solace, your only spectacle, and joy on earth”.3 

Does that mean we should throw out all our YouTube and TikTok and Netflix and replace it with Scripture reading? Not quite. Becoming monks won’t help us live in this world to be a witness to this world. On the other extreme, are we free to surf the web as liberally as we want in the name of culturising ourselves for the sake of evangelisation? Not quite either. 

Treasures of our Hearts

The root question is this, “what is the treasure of our heart?”

Psalm 119:33-40 can illuminate this for us. We hear the psalmist’s true treasure in verses 35 and 40. “Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.” “Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life!” Our true treasure and delight should be God and his word. If that’s the focus, then we can say “turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways” (vv. 36). That doesn’t mean we scrap all our technology away, but we are able to filter what is worth it and worthless, giving our heart only to those things that are ultimately worth it, life in God’s ways. 

A real test for our hearts is this. Are we bored with Christ? Does God’s word not stir our hearts, straighten our paths, and cause us to bend our knees in worship and service of Him? Reinke writes:

“In sum, all my concerns are dwarfed by this one: boredom with Christ. In the digital age, monotony with Christ is the chief warning signal to alert us that the spectacles of this world are suffocating our hearts from the supreme Spectacle of the universe.”4

If we are finding ourselves constantly drawn and fixated to our phones, then maybe we’ve got a deeper heart issue. A.W. Tozer warned us decades ago, before our iGen tech-crazy era, about this very issue. 

“Many are brainwashed from nine o’clock in the morning or earlier until the last eyelid flutters shut at night because of the power of suggestion. These people are uncommitted. They go through life uncommitted, not sure in which direction they are going.”5

Could this be us, going through life with no idea of where we are going, glued and dependent on the next worthless spectacle to entertain our eye? Do you really want to live the rest of your life zombified in this way? 

It’s time to be real. Let’s face our real struggles. Let’s get our souls checked up. Let’s redeem our relationship with technology for our spiritual good and God’s glory! 

Footnotes

 1 Brett McCracken, The Wisdom Pyramid: Feeding Your Soul in a Post-Truth World (Wheaton: Crossway, 2021), 1.

2Tony Reinke, Competing Spectacles: Treasing Christ in the Media Age (Wheaton: Crossway, 2019), 45.

3William Prynne, Histrio-mastix The players scourge, or, actors tragædie (London, 1633), 133.

4Reinke, Competing Spectacles, 87.

5A.W. Tozer, The Wisdom of God, ed. James L. Snyder (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1986), 147.

This article is the first in the BeREal: Gen Z’s 7 Greatest Struggles series. Has this article been an eye-opener for you? Our inaugural RE Gen-Z Convention with this theme is coming soon on the 11-14th of April 2023. Learn more and register here

Hans Sangtoki (18) is the coordinator of RE Generation Z. He has a passion for serving his generation and sharing hope in Christ. He also has an interest in classical music and dreams of conducting an orchestra one day.

Episode 5: God’s Attributes

Episode 5: God's Attributes

With all that’s been said, if we want to know God, we can do so by studying what the Bible reveals about who God is, God’s character and attributes.

Maybe you’ve heard people say God is love. And because of that your idea of God is that he would forgive unconditionally without any consequences.

Yes, God is love. It says that in 1 John 4:8. But love is only a facet of God’s nature. He is also righteous and just, for example. God can’t just forgive us unconditionally. We can be saved because God punished Jesus on the cross instead of punishing us. God’s holy wrath had to be fulfilled. God cannot be unjust.

Our God is both just and loving. He is both. Therefore we can trust that He will deal with the evil and the righteous according to justice. But He also loves and offers mercy to sinners who are without hope.

Growing in God’s Attributes

God is one nature, one divine being. Deuteronomy 6:4 says, “Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD”. But God has different characteristics, we call them attributes. They are like many sparkling facets to one diamond. By observing each angle of God’s being closely, in detail, we can start to admire who God is, and grow in our awe, reverence, and worship of Him who is beyond our comprehension, whose ways are of an infinite wisdom, who is deserving of our praise and submission always forever and ever.

By learning about God’s attributes, about who God is, we also learn about how God designed and intended us to live. We were created as the image of God. We were created to reflect His divine nature in our lives and shine forth the glory of His nature to all those around us. In our new lives as Christians, God is changing us from people with sinful and God-dishonouring attributes and inclinations, to having divine and God-honouring attributes mirrored in our lives.

The more we think about, ponder, and meditate on who God’s attributes, His Word will transform us, sowing together our new hearts that are able to enjoy and glorify Him!

Thomas Watson, a puritan once said, “Meditate on God’s attributes. The attributes of God are the various beams by which the divine nature shines forth to us”.

A brief snapshot of God’s Attributes

If there’s one place to go to grasp a quick snapshot of God’s attributes, it would have to be Psalm 145. Go and read it for yourself! We learn that God is great, He is full of majesty, wondrous works and awesome and mighty deeds. We see how God is a sovereign king over an everlasting kingdom. We learn how He is “righteous in all His ways”. But on the other hand, we get to know that God is “gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. [He] is good to all, and His mercy is over all that He has made.” We learn that God is “faithful in all His words and kind in all His works”. We learn He cares for the fallen and suffering, drawing near to all who call on Him in truth. He hears the cries of those who fear Him and saves them.

This is our God! The more we get to know Him, the more we will humbly realise how much we don’t know, how great our God is, and how we cannot do anything in response but bow down and worship Him.

“I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.” (Psalm 145:1-3)

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