Wisdom – More than a Word

When you think of a ‘wise person’, who typically comes to mind? Some may suggest ancient philosophers such as Socrates or Confucius, or perhaps influential figures, like Gandhi or Mother Teresa. All the people I’ve mentioned are known to have given wise advice on life, and many look up to them. However, what exactly does it mean to be ‘wise’? More specifically, what defines wisdom?

Wisdom vs Knowledge

Okay, side tangent here. A common misconception about wisdom is that having knowledge is the same as having wisdom. Although it doesn’t necessarily mean that someone who is knowledgeable can’t be wise and vice versa, it is important to point out that there is a difference between the two. Knowledge refers to information or skills that we acquire over time, whether that be through learning or experience. On the other hand, wisdom refers to an understanding of life and the ability to make the “best” decision.

However, as humans, we have our limits when it comes to wisdom. 

What is wisdom?

Cambridge dictionary defines wisdom as “the ability to use your knowledge and experience to make good decisions and judgements.” However, as humans we have a limit to our knowledge – any extent of knowledge we have would always be restricted to our mortal self. The greatest human wisdom can never fully reach the divine completeness of true wisdom, sourcing from God Himself.  As John Piper says, “The greatest human wisdom — with all its factual knowledge, and all its situational insight, and all its necessary resolve — will sometimes be thwarted in achieving its intended, righteous goals, because only God has the power to guarantee the success of his wisdom.” God’s wisdom is beyond our understanding. (Romans 11:33)

Rich in wisdom

The reason that gaining wisdom is important, especially as believers, is that it is the path by which we can gain true and lasting happiness. As Proverbs 3:13 says, “Happy is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gets understanding.” Proverbs 24:13-14 also gives this advice,”My son, oeat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.Know that wisdom is such to your soul; If you find it, there will be a future,and your hope will not be cut off.”

So, how can we receive godly wisdom?

Wisdom starts with humility. It starts with recognising that, as humans, our wisdom is nothing compared to God who is wise. When you humble yourself before His Word, He will instruct you. However, we need to remember that wisdom is not simply an instant transformation. God will give if you ask. Although knowledge is an important and vital part of life, we need to remember that wisdom is not necessarily a product of such. Rather it is a daily, lifelong process of growth. 

Operation London Bridge

“The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family.”

–      King Charles III

We’ve all heard the news and seen the flags at half-mast. Today­ marks D-Day+4; the queen’s body is being prepared to be transported in a procession from Buckingham palace to Westminster Hall, where the body will lay at rest for three days. The Westminster Hall will be open 23 hours a day, where civilians can pay their tributes and condolences to HM the Queen. On D-Day+9, The queen will have her funeral, and the whole nation will pause to have 2 minutes of silence for HM Queen Elizabeth II. Her body will then be transported again in procession to Windsor Castle, where her body will be buried at her final resting place. 

The National Anthem will be changed to “God save the King” as King Charles is coronated. Currencies will change and have the profile of the new King. And all members of parliament must pledge allegiance to King Charles. Operation London Bridge has been brought to such detail in commemorating the queen’s passing. 

But I now want to bring your attention to a more significant death; a victorious death on a dark day. 

There were no processions. There were no flowers or deep condolences. There was only a display of humility, an exhibit of blood and suffering. Crowds only gave their deepest hatred and pride for Him to carry on His back. A walk of shame in Golgotha, to the hills of calvary. Bloodshed and suffering, in obedience to God, as our one and only King of Kings was crucified on a cross. 

There was no anthem. 

Only Love. 

Every person on this earth will pass. The monarchs, people of power, and civilians. Nothing can save you. No amount of money can prevent death. No power will last forever. There is only one sacrifice that saves us all. 

Because nothing can separate us from the love of God. 

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? …  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

What differentiates the deaths of Her Majesty the Queen and the lowly servant Jesus Christ? 

Great sacrificial love. Love for His people, in obedience to God. Although the queen’s death is a great mark of darkness, we can never forget the sacrifice that God made for His people.

There was a rainbow on Friday the 9th of September at Buckenham Palace. Coincidentally, this was the day after her death. Rainbows are a sign of God’s Covenant with His people. It may or may not be a coincidence, but it is just another reminder of His love. 

My condolences,

Jeremy Sangtoki

Jeremy Sangtoki (15) is a writer and videographer for RE Generation-Z. Through his passion for videography and photography, he hopes to proclaim the truth and bring more teens to Christ. Like his brother, he has a predilection for classical or baroque music. 

Prayer In A World of Chaos

Prayer is something that many of us partake in, in our daily lives. Among all of the things we do each and every day, how important is our personal time with God? Is prayer something we truly indulge in, or is it just another activity within our daily routine?

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

If we are truly in God, we do not have to fear anything. Prayer is our personal time with God, our time where we can speak to him personally, open up to Him about our struggles and give thanks for what He has given us. It is a time when we can express our feelings and our hardships to God, or pray to God to ask for forgiveness. However, many of us lack faith, or do not take prayer seriously, and rather consider it as something we are just “used to doing”, because we have been taught to do so since we were young. How many people today take prayer as a serious time to have a one-on-one conversation with God? How many of us simply mutter the same words we repeat every day when it is time to pray? 

Many of us don’t take prayer seriously; rather, prayer is just another part of our routine as if we were brushing our teeth. Prayer allows us as Christians to grow closer to God, by telling God how we feel, as we draw closer to him as it is through prayer that God can reveal to us what is in his heart and mind.

One of the most important aspects of prayer is seeking God, as we are told to, “Ask and it shall be added unto you”, a message highlighted in Matthew 6:33, which states:

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

If we are truly in Christ, God will give unto us what we ask. We just need to seek God in our prayers earnestly. If we ask for something from God and don’t believe – why do we ask? If we are truly children of God – and truly seek God in prayer, He will answer our prayers, whether it be in the near future, or later on. 

“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18-19).

At times some people may feel that God is just a being that sits far, far away from us on a throne in heaven, watching us from above. However, we should know that God is close by and available to us when we need him – through prayer. 

We can pray anywhere, whether it be in a private space at home, at school, or in a public space. God is here, closer to us than we can fathom – and he will hear our prayers.

Article by Christian Henderson (17)

The Art Of Meditation Pt. 1

Bible Reading: Psalm 1

“Blessed is the man whose … delight is the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2)

It has been a while since I’ve written here, so I would like to touch base. How are you doing spiritually? How is your walk with God? These are important matters that ought to be a matter of self reflection every day. Particularly, over these past few months since our retreat, has your spirituality increased or decreased? Don’t be discouraged if your answer is either or, for God uses both seasons in due time for good.

Want I want to address today is this — in all seasons of faith and life, meditating on God’s Word is what will revive, sustain, and bring endurance, even joy, in our Christian walk. Yet, to walk this pilgrim journey “alone with God” does no good. Our efforts to meditate must be a communal one whereby we encourage and hurry each other on to deeper thoughts of the things of God. So here is a rallying cry for our community, one I now find much needed, let us get back into the Word. Not only to skim it on rushed mornings, but to meditate on it deeply until it stirs our affections and changes our way of life.

What is Meditation?

Meditating is the art of pondering on God’s Word until it stirs our affections within, bringing us to praise God and further commit our lives to Him. Thomas Watson says, “Meditation is the soul’s retiring of itself, that by a serious and solemn thinking upon God, the heart may be raised up to heavenly affections.”

Often, God’s promises and Word seem superficial to us because we have never solemnly considered the meaning of them. As a result, in today’s culture of busyness, we have lost sight of the most important things. When you read God’s Word, do you allow whatever truth you are reading to really sink into your heart and change the way you think, feel, and live?

How do we Meditate?

The Puritans gave a very practical outline on how we should meditate.

Firstly, we ought to prepare our hearts as meditating means communing the most serious and holy God. We must clear our hearts from the cares of this world, both from outside and from within. Then, we should pray for the Spirit’s help, asking for a fervent love to God. Pour out your heart to God and bring your needs and struggles to Him. We must also approach God in seriousness, and a body posture that reflects this.

Second, we open God’s Word and read His Word. Be attentive to the needs of your soul. Is your soul downcast? Read of the hope in God. Is your soul overcome by worldliness? Meditate on the sinfulness of sin. Is your soul apathetic? Meditate on the infinite love of God surpassing all understanding. If you can apply the right remedy to the ailments of your soul, it will be of great benefit. Don’t just skim God’s Word. But, pay close attention to detail and choose a single verse or doctrine in think over.

Third, take that verse or doctrine and reflect over everything that has to do with it. For example, if our souls are dry and apathetic and we happen to be reading about the love of God, lets say from 1 John 4:9-10, then meditate on the love of Christ, the meaning of His sacrifice, the nature of God as love itself, our lack of love for God, i.e. our sinfulness before God and yet the height and depth and breadth of God’s sacrificial love for us.

Fourth, let these truths stir your affections until your heart can praise God. Sing out your praise in song or psalm and pray to God prayers of thanksgiving. Commit yourself again to the Lord and submit yourself once again to Him.

This kind of way of meditating on God’s Word is foreign to us today. Let’s get into a new habit of meditating on God’s Word, for blessed is such person, says the psalmist.

The Small Things in this Big World

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

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

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

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

  1. God is Loving

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

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

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

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

  1. God is Selfless

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Present From God

It’s a typical character, in an equally typical narrative. 

From determined, single-minded victors, to nervous and unsure heroes, there’s a whole range of characters in every genre – and the pages in all these books tell the story of the character’s… present. 

Even though we, as an avid audience, may know every detail of the character’s past and future, we’ll never be able to truly and fully understand their present  – their emotions, feelings, and motives. 

Yet the ‘present’ is something we all face, regardless of race, culture, home life or anything else. It’s something you’re experiencing as you scroll through this article now. It’s something you’ll experience later on as you carry on with your day, or, depending on the time of where you are currently, it’s something that you’ll later be falling asleep in. It renews itself every single day – every single hurried blink of our eyes, and in every panting breath we take, as our ‘present’ becomes our forgotten past and our future into our living present. 

I recall reading a story depicting the past, present and future as each individual character, and it became pretty confusing at times! But that’s the reality in our world of space and time, where we can only change our linear lives by the actions we do in the present. 

And we, as Christians, are no exception. In this world we live in, and in our ever-progressing present, every action we take reflects our worldviews and values. So even though we all may be plodding through this one-way trip of life, it doesn’t mean that our experiences and actions in the present are the same as those of the world. 

  1. A Present Experience

“We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” (Acts 14:22). 

As a child, I always found this verse a bit disconcerting. After all, why would the world hate us if what we were preaching was called the Good News? And even though I heard about the persecution of Christians in distant countries and even in the Bible stories, I always assumed that it would never happen to me. 

Why would it?

But the truth is, that the very fact of us being Christians guarantees our suffering. Perhaps it’s not as apparent to us now, but it’s a reality of the present. Persecution isn’t just a thing of the past or only happening out there, but it’s a present living reality. Jesus, Himself states this in John 15:19-21, “ 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.” 

Maybe it’s not persecution as large of a scale as house churches or the persecuted early church, but it will be present nonetheless. Whether it’s being shunned or looked down upon for having radically different beliefs as others at school, or a personal struggle of your own, it’ll be a part of our present. 

But God doesn’t leave us to struggle alone. 

  1. A Present God

When we hear at church that ‘Jesus is alive,’ how do we respond? 

Is this something that makes us glad? Or is it something we view with apathy, with the countless times of hearing it at church making us just not care?

Because, in the end, it wheels down to how we truly view God. 

Past the beliefs of our family, friends and church community into our deepest and truest thoughts. What do we believe God to be? Who do we believe God to be?

Is He Someone real to us? Can we see His hand working and active in the everyday events of our lives? Is He present in our lives?

Or, deep within our hearts, is He Someone we merely think of as a distant Creator, a God who has left this world ticking like a well-wound clock and doesn’t involve Himself any further? For us, is He just ‘that Great Man Upstairs’?

But does He have to be?

  1. A Present Help

The Bible is around 4000 years ago, and some sources suggest even longer! With such an ancient text, it’s easy to assume that the words are outdated, and have no rightful place within the post-modern world we live in. 

Yet the Bible is more than just lengthy words written on dusty manuscript paper. 

It’s the living Word of God. 

It’s a Word that was present in the lives of Abraham, Moses, the prophets, and the apostles, and it’s a Word that lives on in the present of so many people now. 

Because it’s the Word of an equally eternal and living God. 

And with this truth firmly in our grasp as those saved by Him, we can rest assured in the ever-renewing mercies He provides for us. John Piper, Reformed theologian and pastor, aptly summarises the ever-present love that God promises His children which can be inferred from Romans 8:35. 

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” 

Though we still will face troubles and struggles every day, God provides His people with a “present and powerful” love. It’s more than just a memory, or a Bible story from hundreds of years ago – it’s a present gift, as He continues, even now, to work in us and “bring us to eternal joy”. 

God’s eternal love for us doesn’t start only when we get to heaven. 

It’s a present, living, wonderful, powerful, reality.

It’s a present from God. 

Reference: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/present-and-powerful-love

Elaine (Anggi) Tambunan (14) is the editor and one of the many teens that write in RE Generation-Z. Through her articles, she aspires to remind more teens to live lives as lights in the world. She can be easily identified with a spectacled face buried in a thick novel or doodling.

Worries of our Future

The future. 

That giant, vast, and gaping abyss of the unknown. 

It’s perhaps little wonder that we, as a society, have always been fascinated with the possibilities that result from being able to glimpse past the blurriness of the unknown, and see clearly and starkly what will happen to us. Whether it’s prophecies, such as the Oracle’s within Greek mythology, visions of the future, looking at tea leaves, checking a horoscope, or even crystal ball gazing. Particularly within science fiction, countless stories and narratives tackle such concepts of being able to peek into the future, whether through means of a time machine or even simply being visited by your future self. 

The future has been and still is a central part and influence of humanity, affecting our decisions, thoughts and worldview. 

Because what the future essentially is, is that unknown and impenetrable part of our lives that we have no way of knowing or preparing for – even if society claims the opposite. 

Like in the previous article,  we outlined that we can never change the past because it is set firmly in stone; it’s the opposite when we discuss the future. Because if we view our past as an immovable and unchangeable solid, our future becomes like water – ever-changing, unpredictable, and a constant reflection of our past and present actions. 

The only assurance we can have of the future is when our ‘future’ becomes our present. Otherwise, we have no idea what, good or bad, awaits us. 

And that’s the hard, simple truth of our future.

It’s the fact we don’t know. 

A matter of perspective 

Perhaps, as teens, the threats that the future poses may not seem as immediate to us. Instead, we simply leave thoughts of the future for an unspecified and vague date much, much later – and if we were to be truly honest with ourselves, we would be happy to never have to think about it. 

Or maybe, we’re more inclined to worry. Nervous about the unknown trials that we aren’t even entirely sure will come, we spend our time anxious and scared of what’s to come. And these worries leave us feeling drained and unmotivated, even to complete tasks that we previously would have enjoyed.

And maybe still, some of us view the future confidently. After all, are we not the post-modern generation? The future is ripe and ours for the taking, and we make countless determined plans for the future. Even if our ‘Plan A’ doesn’t work, we’ve got the rest of the alphabet at our fingertips. We view the future victoriously, for we consider it to belong to us. 

Sharing from my perspective on the future, I’ve always viewed the future with a level of intimidation. Just like how I, as an inexperienced suburb-living student, would regard a wild animal – although I may feel somewhat excited, for the most part, I would be frightened, not knowing what it would do to me. And, for me, that’s the most terrifying part about the future. 

It’s something I don’t know, and I can’t ever know. 

Or is it? 

An all knowing God 

Have you ever stood on the shoreline at the beach? With gentle waves lapping at your feet, and the grainy sand firm underneath, you feel at ease. 

But when the waves come, the water crashes onto you with unexpected fury. You’re swept off your feet and crash into the crumbling sand. 

Especially with the abundance of problems that we already have in the present, we’re so scared that the future will crash onto us a wave of unexpected change and hardships. And we’ve all probably experienced first-hand that no matter how stable the sand underneath us feels or how much we’ve prepared, the wave always leaves us sprawling on the ground. 

It’s this particular topic that James writes about in his letter James. 

One of the major leaders of the Jewish church during early Christianity, James addresses his words to the Jewish believers scattered around the ancient world. Following the martyrdom of Stephen, these scattered believers were surrounded by the constant threat of torture and suffering. It’s little surprise that they were anxious and unsure, wondering what new trial was just ahead, and maybe, just like us, they tried to make plans to grasp at whatever secure future was slipping from their hands. 

That’s exactly what James addresses in his following words, 

“Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that. ” (James 4:13-17)

We can’t know the future, and neither can we control it. 

But God can. 

After all, He is, well, God! He is the Alpha and Omega (Revelation 22:13), and both know and understand the past and the future. And it is in the hands of this eternal, all-powerful, and omniscient Lord that the future is held. 

The author of Hebrews describes Jesus as the ‘Author of Life’ and ‘Finisher of our faith’ (Hebrews 12:2), and these two names reveal very special truths about the relationship between us, God, and the future. 

1. Author of Life

Notice how the author of Hebrews decides to refer to Jesus not as ‘Creator of life’, as we would normally assume, but as the Author. And that’s a pretty significant detail. As Author, He knows and is actively involved in the whole story of our lives – including our future. He knows what’s best for us, and He grants us, His children, a precious promise – that all the things in our lives, in the past, present and future, will ultimately be for our good. 

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

2. Finisher of our Faith

God doesn’t only create us and leave it at that. He is actively involved in all dimensions of our lives, and He walks with each of us individually every step of the way. We won’t have to venture into the future alone, but His grace overflows daily to sustain us continually. 

John Piper, an influential evangelist and preacher, calls this continual grace, ‘future grace’. In his words, “future grace is God’s power, provision, mercy, and wisdom—everything we need—in order to do what he wants us to do five minutes, five weeks, five months, five years, and five thousand years from now.”

The sand swirls beneath our feet, and ahead of us, we can see the relentless wave racing toward us. 

Sure, we’re afraid. 

But we’re not alone, and we’ll never have to be

Extra Resources: https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/what-do-you-mean-by-future-grace

The Regrets We Leave Behind

Imagine that somewhere out there, past the swirling veils of starry darkness that make up our galaxy, you existed. 

Perhaps not the you you’re familiar with, but another version of you. A ‘you’ who got that grade, made up with that friend, won that award, said the right things. 

A better ‘you’.

A ‘you’ that you don’t regret. 

I’ve always had a particular interest in science fiction, and a particular aspect that I’ve found is pretty popular in this specific genre (and even in others) is the idea of ‘parallel universes’. 

Simply put, it’s the theory that somewhere beyond our universe, exists other universes where we exist as well – yet it’s not really ‘us’. In these parallel universes are versions of us where we made better choices; we didn’t talk back to our parents, we didn’t procrastinate before the math exam, we didn’t carelessly say words that hurt our friends. 

But what makes this idea so appealing to us? What inner desire do we perhaps unconsciously have that drives us to produce stories, movies, and other media forms about this specific topic? 

One thing I can change.. 

It’s the typical icebreaker question. Maybe a friend would ask this during a lull in conversation, or maybe you’ll come across it on the back of those fruity chews wrappers. 

It’s a no-brainer, really. 

“If you could change one thing in your past, what would it be?”

I’m not sure about you, but when I heard this question, my mind immediately jumped to the answer, “I wished I’d started studying for my math exam earlier.”

But my thoughts didnt stop there. 

“What if I’d studied harder? I could’ve gotten a better grade.”

“Maybe if I didn’t waste my time as often, I’d be more successful. “

“If only I didn’t do this thing, I could’ve still been friends with that person.”


“What if.”

“If only.”

These are the words that we often associate with the feeling of regret. 

According to the Cambridge dictionary, regret is defined as “a feeling of sadness about something sad or wrong or about a mistake that you have made, and a wish it could have been different or better. “

And I’m confident that most, if not all, of us would agree with this definition. 

I’m certain all of us have experienced regret before. Even the most popular, successful, and prestigious of people that we see on media and the news, who we assume would be satisfied in their success, all have had regrets in their lives.

It’s only natural that we, as humans, experience regret. It’s inevitable in this sin-filled world that we live in. 

Because when sin first seeped into our hearts during Adam and Eve’s fall into temptation, it was then when our free will was corrupted. This distortion and corruption of the free will God gave us is the catalyst of our feeling of regret. 

Even though we’ve fallen into sin, and turned away from the fulfilling and joyful purpose that God has intended in His love and goodness for us, we still feel guilt.


Because, deep inside the sin-invaded fortress of our hearts, a little watchman  continues to berate and rebuke us whenever we sin. 

He reminds us that our sin is wrong. He tells us we shouldn’t be doing it. Yet we still do it anyway. 

And so, the watchman shouts. Not for joy, but with tears, in righteous sorrow and anger as all the while, we continue to sin. 

And that’s precisely what regret is.

Regret’s sinful side

Don’t get me wrong. Regret can often be a good thing – when the watchman’s cry is drowned out by the racous pleasure of the world, God still can use our feelings of regret to lead us back to the right path. 

But, just like any other blessing, regret can be corrupted. 

Just like how drinking water is vital for our survival, great quantities of water left unrestricted, such as a flood, can easily engulf entire cities. And it’s the same way for regret. Left unchecked, regret can easily cause us to self pity, or, in an opposite effect, cause us to get lost in our own self hate. Either way, the devil uses regret and guilt to discourage us, and tempt us to think that it’s useless to return to God. 

Even as a Christian, my guilty regrets over certain sins make me unmotivated and reluctant to come before Him in worship, let alone serve Him in ministry. Just like Adam and Eve, hiding from God in their shame, we too often hide our faces in shame from the light of God’s mercy. There’s a verse that summarises this pretty well, and it goes as follows.  

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10)

Brought to light

But for us, the story doesn’t have to end there. 

As children of God, we are able to rest assured in His promises. And this includes His promise of redemption! As it says in Ephesians 1:7, “In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” 

John Piper, an American theologist and pastor, elaborates on this verse, revealing that this redemption God gives us is far more complex than we would originally think. Referring to Hebrews 9:15, “he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant,” John Piper explains that this redemption, this ‘freedom through payment’ that he grants us, is a freedom from sin – and this includes the guilt that comes from our past sins. Just like it says in Isaiah, God tells us, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”

The fact that we’ve sinned will never change. 

We’ll never be able to travel to a parallel universe where we didn’t make those mistakes. Neither can we time travel again to the past and take back our sins. 

But we can be confident and assured that “.. in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28). 

In all things. It’s only because of God’s mercy and love that He is willing to work in us, through the mistakes we’ve made. It’s because of His grace that we’re able to, just as it described in Proverbs 24:16, “who though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.”

A Final Note

Almost a skeleton, Betsie Ten Boom lay on the small cot dying. Imprisoned in Hitler’s infamous concentration camp for aiding and hiding Jews from the Nazi government, they, along with countless others, had suffered hellish imprisonment, starvation, abuse and countless other horrors. 

From the world’s perspective, it seemed that Betsie would have had many regrets. 

After all, she could have easily looked the other way and avoided all the suffering that had come with following her God. 

But she didn’t. 

In her very words, “There are no ifs in God’s Kingdom.”

Why stay in the land of ‘what ifs’? It’s time to start living for now – and for God. 

Contentment in the Wilderness

Do you often find yourself complaining about the many little unpleasant things that happen in your daily life? From waking up late and missing the train to school to your annoying friends or siblings; about the heavy workload and assignments given by your teachers, or about the high-speed internet connection that was just not fast enough to your liking.

We are all too familiar with these ungrateful comments that consciously (or unconsciously) come out of our mouths daily. Whenever something doesn’t go our way, we easily get annoyed, and our first impulse is to complain. 

“An ungrateful teenager” is a stereotype often attached to us, which unfortunately holds some truth.

We might think it’s okay (and normal) to spurt out our vexation whenever we feel like it; however, the Bible teaches us not to take this sin lightly. We may not realise it, but complaining is no less deadly a sin as idolatry.  

The deadly cost of complaining 

Most of us would be familiar with the story of the Israelites being delivered from slavery in Egypt. During their journey towards Canaan, the Promised Land, the Israelites started to complain towards God. 

God had given them plentiful manna to eat, yet they had other cravings, grumbling at the entrance of their tents for God to give them meat. 

“If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost – also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” (Numbers 11:4a-6) 

Soon, God granted them meat, yet the Israelites continued to grumble over their hardships. 

When some of the men, sent to explore the land of Canaan and observe its people, returned to the camp with bad news, the Israelites grumbled once again. Upon hearing

how big, strong, and powerful the Canaanites were, and how the Israelites would not stand a chance if they were to attack them, they wished they had stayed in Egypt, where they seemingly had a better life with safety and comfort. 

“If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” (Numbers 14:2-4)

They even rebelled against Moses and Aaron, wanting to stone them, then choose a new leader and go back to Egypt. 

All their grumblings made God furious. He had already provided the Israelites with so many blessings, yet they were still ungrateful and complained a lot. Because of this, they were kept from entering the Promised Land, and as a result, destined to roam in the wilderness for forty years instead. (Numbers 14:26-35) 

Fast forward more than 3000 years later, and we still have the same disease of complaining that is no different from the Israelites’. We have been blessed abundantly, yet we keep complaining over the little things in life. We should learn from the Israelites’ mistakes and realise that complaining is the initial step away from God that will cause a multitude of destructive sins to follow. 

Just take a moment to think about some recurring sins we do. Maybe it is being envious of others, frequent fights with our siblings, or disrespecting our parents and teachers – trace it back to its root, and we’ll most likely find that it is related to being ungrateful. Ungrateful for our God; ungrateful for what God has done in us, and ungrateful for what God has given to us. All these are by no means small sins, and they all deserve God’s wrath.  

Overcoming daily life’s struggle – choosing gratitude over complaint 

Have you encountered real daily struggles choosing gratitude over complaint? 

Do you find it easier to complain than to give thanks? 

Do you easily get irritated when things don’t go your way?

According to pastor and author, Paul David Tripp, the decision to complain or to give thanks are both rooted in the way we view ourselves. “Complaint”, he said, “is an identity issue –  a severe case of misplaced identity.

He wrote, “If we place ourselves in the centre of our world and reduce our concerns down to what we want and feel, we will operate with an entitled and demanding attitude.” 

This entitled attitude will spur us to complain when things are not as we want. 

Tripp added, “The universe wasn’t created – nor does it operate – to satisfy our desires. We regularly don’t or can’t get what we want.”

There, he hits the bull’s- eye, and bluntly tells us the reality that we are not the centre of the universe; the world doesn’t and will never revolve around us! Thinking so will only make us a complaining person. 

As we are sinners, we are supposed to receive God’s wrath, yet we are saved. All that we receive are undeserved blessings that God has graciously given to us, even though we are not worthy. When we recognise that we are debtors to God, and that God is not obliged to give us anything, we will be humbled, and learn to be grateful instead of complaining. 

Furthermore, the small insignificant inconveniences that we complain about in our everyday lives should be taken as practise and training for the bigger struggles that will occur later in life. As Christians, we should all expect to receive more infliction, than those of the world. Since our teen years, we should practise being grateful instead of complaining about small inconveniences, rather recognising God’s plan behind them so that we can be prepared to face bigger struggles. 

We can all learn from the God-centered mentality of apostle Paul, who could still praise God even though he was arrested and imprisoned. Looking past all of his own circumstances and hardships, instead, he focused towards God’s good plan. If we change our self-centered lives to become God-centered, we can avoid becoming slaves to our circumstances and rather, become grateful for God’s providence in our lives – trusting in God’s plan behind all of our life circumstances, no matter how different they may be to our own desires. 

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

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.

Humility in Maturity

Humility in Maturity. 

How would you rate your spiritual maturity from one to ten? Before answering that question, we must first ask, what is maturity? In a nutshell, spiritual maturity is growth—to become more Christlike, to know God more, and to the piety of the fear of the Lord. So, in a ‘rating’, ten would be Christlike, and zero would be immature. 

This was one of the discussion questions that struck me during the retreat a few weeks back. As the people around me tried to answer this question, I thought about what I should say before being given the spotlight. It sure wasn’t an easy question to answer. Most of the people in my group rated themselves in the lower half of the spectrum. But as I pondered hard, I couldn’t settle on an answer. Who are we to be the judge over ourselves? Who are we to set the standard? The standard we judge against must be of the absolute truth—the Bible—through God’s lens. 

To grow, we must know the truths

We must build the foundation of our growth on the truth, which is the Word of God. Not only that, but also on the unity that we can have with and in Christ. Only when we are in this union, this one ship in Christ, we may be sanctified by the Holy Spirit. And this relationship that Christ has offered us is only through His sovereign grace. Christ is the one who has initiated; He loved us first, allowing us to be sanctified and grow daily in oneship with Him. And because of that, we cannot take our short life lightly. Only through knowing Him we can grow to be more like Him. Only through knowing Him may we understand the truth. 

To know the truth, you must have Humility. 

Without humility, you will never be able to learn the truth. We are such prideful people. I know it’s an easy thing to say, and listening to that just turns into a breeze. But trust me, I understand how hard it is to be humble sometimes. I cannot stress how much of a trap false humility can be. 

Sometimes we even act humbly to be seen as humble people, and I am sure guilty of doing that. Whether we realise it or not, we bring our pride and ego into the most minor things. I’ve recently been struggling with my pride and anger. To me, everyone and everything seems to be against me. My parents would get mad at me for what I considered small and petty things, which would constantly be tiring. I’m sure that all teens can relate to me here.

It’s been quite a struggle for me recently, and it’s pretty contradicting for me to write an article about humility when I am struggling with pride myself. But the words shared from the last retreat have allowed me to reflect on myself and my spiritual maturity. From the outside, you might see me as an avid churchgoer involved in so much ministry. But just because I live with that culture, it doesn’t mean that I’m growing and having that personal relationship with Him. Because to grow, our faith must be nourished. Just like a pot plant, if it is not well kept, watered, and given sufficient sunlight, it will surely die. It is the same with our spiritual lives. If we do not nourish our faith with the Word of God, our faith will surely wilt.

The Bible is what can refresh our souls. It sounds quite cliche and abstract. But personally, sharing from when I genuinely ponder on His Word is very sweet. Whenever we have that personal and intimate relationship with Him, it is beautiful. We cannot fill our lives with worldly things because it will only take away from the strength of our faith. But only picking the Bible up and reading it won’t cut it.

We must deny ourselves if we want to accept the truth and learn and know the truth. Deny our pride. I’ve used this analogy many times, but there is only one seat in your heart. And on it, it’s either you or Christ. If it is not Christ that reigns in your heart, then you cannot grow in the truth. Even if you are surrounded by godly people, the church community, or you study theology. 

If we reign over our own lives, we will never be able to accept Christ as our Saviour nor grow in Him. But when we humble yourselves, then we can accept His Word and allow it to rebuke and change us.

To grow more like Christ, we must increase in the knowledge of Him and grow in godliness with the fear of the lord. But, first, we must learn to humble ourselves. The bible states this countless times. 

2 Chronicles 7:14 

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Psalm 18:27 

For you save a humble people,

but the haughty eyes you bring down.

Psalm 149:4 

For the Lord takes pleasure in his people;

he adorns the humble with salvation.

This is a short article with one message. I hope that I’ve made it clear. You cannot know God without a humble heart. So ask for His grace, because when we humbly and truly thirst for His Word, of knowing Him. James 4:6, says, “He opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble”. 

So pray, ask God to have a heart that yearns for His Word, and ask for a humble heart to grow in spiritual maturity. 

Psalm 147:6 

“The Lord lifts up the humble;

    he casts the wicked to the ground.”

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