In our Christmas Revival Service last year, we learnt that as depraved sinners, we do need a Saviour. Not even tech or scientific advancements can save us – only Christ Jesus, who emptied Himself can unify us once again with the Father.
You know those people, who never struggle to get high grades? Yeahh.. nah that’s not me. I didn’t really care about my studies. I still got decent marks – in my opinion anyways. But my parents thought otherwise. They kept on telling me that my 50 to 70 percents aren’t gonna get me a good job, and they liked to compare me to my friend, Melanie, who always gets high grades. Until now, they still do this and it ticks me off, but they do have a point. If I had continued going at my slow pace, I wouldn’t have gotten as many future opportunities as I could.
I got fed up and took my anger out on Melanie and said, “Why are you trying so hard to get good grades all the time? After you leave school, graduate from uni, get a good job, what are you going to do next?” She came to me a while later and told me she had an answer to my question. Melanie told me that she was learning so she could be better equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to glorify God. She added that by learning about the world around us, we can see God’s existence, wisdom and power, through His creation.
This motivated me to study. However, I still felt pressure, especially from my parents, but also from myself to get a certain grade or job, which made me scared of failing. Our parents want us to do our best, and we still need to respect and listen to them. But in the end, our goal is to glorify God. Not to please ourselves or anyone else.
Like the parable of the talents in Matthews 25:13-40, the servants were each given a different number of talents. The first 2 worked hard to double what they were given, while the third was lazy. Like me, you might relate to the third servant who had less talents than the others. In reality, God has given each of us different amounts of talents in different things, so we can’t expect the same result from everyone. We study to develop our talents and reach our full potential, not to reach our own, or other people’s expectations. It doesn’t matter if we’ve been given 1, 2, or 5 talents, our responsibility is to put in all our efforts to grow our talents for God’s glory.
It’s so much easier said than done and I still struggle with expectations myself. There’s no definite solution for this problem. All I can say is that only God has the solution and we need to rely on Him while doing the best we can. He has a different plan for each of us that might not be what we or our parents expect. So, we need to trust God, through obedience, to guide us through His plan that He has for us.
One thing to remember, is that as Christians we’re called to be a living example of Christ to this world. If we’re lazy, people will see us and think “Why would I need a God, if I’m already doing better than these Christians?”. Through our actions, people can either be led towards or away from Christ. In Titus 2:7, Paul tells us to be an example to people around us. Our peers will look at our diligence and attitude to learning, so it’s important that we bear witness to Christ in all that we do.
How do you feel when you get your grades back? Maybe you feel scared, or don’t really care. Or maybe if you’re a straight A’s student like me, you can feel overconfident that you’ll top the class.
Pride. It’s something we’ve all felt before. Whether it’s when we’re praised for something we’ve done, or when we win something. Pride is rooted so deeply inside our hearts that it becomes second nature. We don’t realise how dangerous it is. When we feel proud, we put ourselves above everything else – including God’s authority. Pride makes us think that we don’t need anyone or anything. Worst of all, we stop relying on God and become self reliant on our own limited self and abilities.
A few months ago, I thought that grades were everything. I was determined to keep my position at the top of the class. Whether I was happy or not, depended on how I was doing at school. I never struggled too much to get good grades, but I put my studies above everything else; even above God.
It came to a point where my friend, Liam, asked me a question that would change the way I saw my studies and grades, “Melanie, Why are you trying so hard to get good grades all the time? After you leave school, graduate from uni, get a good job, what are you going to do next?” It sounded like such a simple question, but I couldn’t answer him. I’ve been going to church my entire life, and I know that the only way to be saved from my sin is to be in Christ. I finally understood that everything in this world is temporary, including my grades.
Without God I wouldn’t be able to study or learn in the first place. I realised my motivation for studying was only to get good grades that would fuel my pride. I was so hung up on being the best, feeling proud, and keeping a good reputation, that I forgot why I was learning in the first place.
In reality, grades aren’t everything. They’re just used in school to show how well we’re learning. Our calling as students is to try our best in our studies. But grades are not supposed to be a competition between your peers. Yes, we do need to try our best in studying and school but not until it becomes our idol and we place studies above God.
After a while, I finally know the answer to Liam’s question about why I was trying so hard. Back then, it was to fuel my pride–to make me feel good about what I’ve achieved. But now, my motivation is to learn so that I can be better equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to glorify God, both now and in the future.
Thanks for watching the whole video! Look out for the next video, where my friend Liam will give his experience and point of view on grades and study. Bye!
I’ve noticed recently just how much time I spend with my friends. Especially with my school friends who I spend at least thirty hours every week! Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with my friends, but it makes me wonder just how much I’m influenced by them. How have they affected me as a person? And more importantly, how have they influenced my relationship with God?
In one way or another, the people we spend time with will influence our habits, interests and attitudes – just to name a few. We must keep in mind that our friends will either lead us closer to God or pull us further away from Him, there is no middle ground.
Personally, I’ve experienced something just like this. A few months ago my friends had plans to hang out… But it turns out it was on a Sunday. I rarely hang out with them and I wanted to catch up with them outside of school, but on Sundays I have church. Even though they knew this, they kept on asking me to come. My friends kept mentioning how “it wouldn’t hurt to miss church just this once”, and slowly I started to think that maybe it was ok for me not to go.
I realised that I was influenced by my friends to not go to church and if this went on, I’d be okay with constantly missing church and I’d lose my personal relationship with God. When I said no to my friends, I knew I was going against them. But going against them made me see that if I didn’t go against them, I was going with them and against God. This also applies to the world: if we aren’t going against the world we are going with the world. And by going with the world, it means that we are going against God. There is no in-between, no grey area.
The scary thing is that our friends can influence us to go against God, to go their way. It says in Proverbs 22:24-25 “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare”. Of course, this doesn’t apply literally to just ‘wrathful man’, but this verse reminds us that we easily learn the ways of those around us. The snares of sin that our friends are entangled in, will easily trap us too as we begin to learn their ways. That is why it’s so important that we choose the right friends.
It doesn’t mean that all friendships are bad, and we can’t just ‘socially distance and isolate’ ourselves from the world. Whether or not we want to, we need to face the world and all the influences we face on a daily basis. We must stand firm in the truth. It’s crucial that we know God’s Word, so that we can live in obedience to Him. longer pause for outtro
Be sure to check our last video where we covered a few general problems we face as teens, and join us in the next video where we’ll discuss the purpose of friendship and fellowship as well as what a good friend is.