Written By M. Tiong, Malaysia, originally in Simplified Chinese
Whenever I scroll through Facebook or microblogging site Weibo, I will always look with envy at the lovely photos of my friends’ travelling escapades, their new branded products, and delicious food that they enjoy. Based on these photos, I have to conclude that their lives must be going swimmingly. And I can’t help but wonder: Why is my life so boring compared with theirs?
One day, however, a friend who frequently shares awe-inspiring photographs told me that she was in fact very stressed. Life, she said, had little meaning. It was only when I heard this, that I began to realize that the people I envied were no happier than I was. It led me to ask: “Are people really as happy as their social media posts suggest?”
Why does it seem that none of us are ever happy? The Bible notes that man will never be satisfied nor content with what we have; we will always pine for something better. “Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are human eyes,” says Proverbs 27:20. King Solomon, the wealthy and author of Ecclesiastes, had everything, yet understood this dissatisfaction. He said, “Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:11).
Why is this so? Perhaps it’s because our possessions cannot truly fill the emptiness in our hearts. Although we constantly seek to fill that void with different things—be it wealth, love, fame, or other people’s admiration—we will never find true contentment in them.
It is not necessarily wrong to desire achievements, success, and affirmation. However, it is more important to realize that these cannot be a measure of our worth. They do not have real substance, because they will not last.
Our fulfilment, worth, and meaning of life must come from God. Only our Creator God can fill the void in us, His created beings, because only He knows what we truly need.
So we do not need to envy what others have. Proverbs 14:30 says: “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” And Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
I thank God for reminding me about the things I ought to be paying attention to—the needs of people around me, obeying His will, and living a life that pleases Him. I pray that our lives will no longer revolve around how frequently we travel, how much we spend on branded goods, or how much our food costs. Rather, may our focus be on God.
May we all find and share the true joy that comes from being in God’s presence. And may we become followers of Christ who seek to please God.