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.
My youth leader keeps reminding us that God should be the priority in every aspect of our lives, especially in school where we spend most of our time. Even though I’ve been taught the truth from a very young age, I still find myself questioning; Will I ever fit in? Do my friends even like me? Will I ever be good enough?
Often, I feel overwhelmed by this flow of problems that just never seem to have an end. The list goes on and on; self-image, reputation, grades, all the pressure and expectations, a never-ending to-do list.
In our attempt to check off all the boxes in our list, we search far and wide to find the answers, from social media to that sense of belonging from others. What we don’t realise is that these solutions are very much temporary. You could say it’s like a sugar rush, it feels great at the time, but it’ll quickly fade and will only leave you searching for more.
And so, this reminds me of a metaphor about our hearts. Blaise Pascal (a famous mathematician and theologian) says, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.” – This is how God has designed us, so we can remember that we are not of this world. He is the only one who can not only fill this void, but also leave it overflowing. Just like it says in Psalm 107:9, “For He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul He fills with good things.”
I’m sure that we start thinking; so what? How does this relate to me and my problems? It was only last year when I began to truly understand how true and eternal satisfaction can only be found when we are in Christ. At the time, I was drowning in my schoolwork, and I felt frustrated with all the expectations. Feeling lost, I turned to the people around me, hoping to find answers and happiness. But it just didn’t work. I didn’t feel any better, and maybe even worse than before, because I knew that this was not the right solution.
So who can fulfil our needs and desires? Who do we turn to next time we face problems? As I continue to experience such issues, I’m constantly reminded of how only God can help us, and it’s in His word that we can find the answers that we try so hard to find. But that doesn’t mean we only go to Him when we’re in trouble. We’re satisfied when we have a real relationship with God when we wrestle with Him daily and give our whole selves to Him.
To sum it all up, we need to entirely depend on God because He is the only one that can satisfy our longing soul and help us overcome all the struggles we face at school and in our daily lives. In the following videos, we’ll delve deeper into the stories of more teenagers and explore how we must overcome these common struggles.
That means that we are grounded in the truth of God’s word, following in the theological footsteps of John Calvin and the reformers of the 16th century.
That means that we believe the only hope for mankind is found in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Only in him is there forgiveness on sins and the reconciliation with God. And so we rise boldly to proclaim this gospel to all those around us and to the whole world.
Our generation is the future of the world. We are bright, capable and better equipped than any other generation before us. Yet many of us are hurt in pain and suffering. We believe our generation’s greatest problem is sin. But we also believe that our generation’s greatest hope is found in Jesus Christ. And so together we strive to grow. And together we strive to see a regeneration amongst our broken generation.