Written by Melissa Koh, Malaysia
Just a scroll on social media is enough to put our confidence to shame. Even though we know that what we see on social media only displays the “truths” that others wish to portray, sometimes we can’t help but get sucked into its trap.
Let me paint a picture of some of my thoughts when I don’t guard my mind against the destructive nature of social media:
I become unhappy when I see others getting ahead of me in their careers, and are able to afford the material things I can only survey and put into my mental purchase cart.
I envy the path chosen by others, which seems more fruitful and fulfilling than my own. Every now and then, I fret and worry that my salary isn’t adequate to meet my needs, much less my wants. So I start listening to investment talks to learn about savvy investment tips, thinking, “This could be the big break in my life!”
By now, I’m an anxious wreck, so I soothe my nerves by scrolling Instagram, only to feel the growing void in my life as I think about my “what ifs” . . . and the vicious cycle continues.
By the time I’m done scrolling through social media, I’ve started to feel upset, discontented, and dissatisfied. And it makes me wonder: How can we remain joyful and contented as Christians in a fallen world?
Contrary to the lies the world offers, here are four truths from the Bible that can assure us when we’re overwhelmed by the pressures of this world.
1. We are blessed beyond earthly treasures
Whenever I feel like my life is insignificant, I am comforted by the truth that when we choose to believe in Christ, we become heirs of his kingdom (Romans 8:17).
This is especially important for us to drill into our minds so that we do not lose sight of the wonderful promises we have in Him.
As American writer Marshall Segal puts it in his article, “Live Like Sons and Daughters of the King”:
First, when God redeems, he secures us forever. He never forgets or forsakes his own children. With Christ, we have eternal security. Second, we have intimacy—a deep, personal, satisfying relationship with a heavenly Father, who knows us thoroughly, who loves us continually, and who promises to protect and provide for us. Third, with Christ, we become heirs of all things—all things. Security. Intimacy. And the truest, fullest prosperity.
The treasures that God willingly gives to us is unlike anything this world offers. While we were taught to earn our place in society, Christ laid down his life for us so that we may be given a place in His Kingdom.
When I walk closely with God and follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit, I know I am blessed beyond the greatest treasures this world can offer. Instead of allowing myself to become consumed by envy or bitterness, I would rather seek and rely on my heavenly father, knowing that He will provide for my every need.
2. We can submit our anxieties to God
Our choice to follow God is a life of trusting in God’s purpose all the way. Whenever fear and worry rises up in our hearts, we should immediately submit them to God. As Philippians 4:6-7 reminds us:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
It is a challenge to not be anxious about anything, especially when we feel stuck in our current job and our friends around us seem to be moving on to greater heights in their career. But when we remember that the God of all creation is with us, and choose to remain in Him, we can quickly turn our bitterness, fears, and anxieties to Him in prayer when we start to feel “clogged” up within.
3. Focus on God’s boundless love
After graduating with a law degree, I wanted to challenge myself with the prospect of working in the city. I applied eagerly to different job openings and finally landed a job at a small firm specialising in the registration of Intellectual Property, a job which I desired. But after only two months into the job, I started to dread the daily traffic jam to work and the management of issues that cropped up at work made me feel unappreciated.
So I left that job and fell back into a period of job-hunting, taking the time to reflect and seek God’s purpose for my life. Even though it was difficult to go back into unemployment while my other friends were thriving in their workplaces, I knew I needed a job that would offer me better work-life balance.
After some time, I found a new workplace, which was closer to my home and enabled me to return home to my family everyday not feeling exhausted. I was also able to keep serving at my church, instead of moving away from my home church like many of my peers, which meant a lot to me.
As I look back on this time in my life, it reminds me that even when we might not understand why we’re experiencing temporary setbacks, we are to “not fret” but “[b]e still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. . . ” (Psalm 37:7).
When we focus too much on what the world offers or what we’re missing out, we lose sight of God’s boundless love and purpose for our lives. God’s vision for our life may not conform to the kind of lifestyle we dream of, but when we follow in faith His directions for us, our lives will yield fruits of righteousness.
4. Invest into an everlasting Kingdom
Finally, as Christ followers, we need to invest more in building God’s kingdom and less on our earthly investment portfolios. As Matthew 6:19-21,33 reminds us, our earthly treasures can be destroyed by rust and moths or be stolen by thieves, but our treasures in Heaven will last for all eternity.
For me, investing in building God’s kingdom looks like using the salary God has blessed me with to help support a ministry servant studying in seminary, or raising funds to deliver groceries for the communities worst hit by the pandemic.
I’ve also been jumping at the opportunity to bless others through non-financial means, such as leading an online worship service, since physical services have been temporarily halted due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Even though setting aside a portion of my salary to bless others might mean I can’t afford that branded bag or latest makeup, being able to make good use of the money that God has blessed me with has been more rewarding than any earthly pleasure.
Even when we feel like our life circumstances are pushing us to our limits, it’s encouraging to remember that nothing is too difficult for God, and to lean on His grace to empower us each day. In a world that’s constantly luring us to live differently, let’s pray and seek His wisdom for all seasons of our lives, so that our footing in Christ will remain firm and secure.