Wk 1 from High School series “Status” at Sugar Hill Church. For more information on how your Middle or High School student can be a part of teaching series like these with hundreds of other students, check out www.SugarHillStudents.com.
Want to change your status from LONELY to FULFILLED? Know that you are not alone and there is good news! While people often turn to destructive behavior (relationally & sexually) in the name of “love,” there is a love that can truly satisfy…you just have to look in the right place.
Having worked with students for over 20 years, I have seen a TON of heartache, regret, and shame as a result of destructive behavior (relationally & sexually) in the name of “love.” [DISCLAIMER: Students, this is true of us adults too!] Sometimes the very thing that we think will fulfill or satisfy, is that thing that leaves us feeling alone. If we look to people (or romance) to fulfill us, we will always have a problem when the flowers die.
The root of the problem
At the root of so many poor decisions is the the feeling of being “lonely.” The perception of loneliness has nothing to do with one’s social status or how many “friends” or followers one has. In fact, some of the loneliest people may be those surrounded by the largest crowds. Out of a feeling or perception of alone-ness, students (and adults, too) go to great lengths in search of fulfillment. Unfortunately, looking for fulfillment in a person or relationship can often compound the problem. Let’s take a look at the root of loneliness and explore how true fulfillment is found.
Reasons teens feel lonely
Here are just a few of the reasons I hear students say they feel alone.
Family problems (maybe the most painful)
“I don’t have any real friends.”
“I don’t feel accepted.”
“I’m not understood.”
“I’m not satisfied with my life.”
“I don’t like myself, so I think others don’t like me.”
“I can’t live up to the expectations of others.”
“Because of what I’ve done, no one can love me.”
“I have been told I’m… (worthless, ugly, ordinary, trash, etc.)”
The reality of feeling “lonely”
The root of our craving to not be alone is a God-given desire. In fact, loneliness is the first thing in Scripture that God said was not good (Genesis 2:18). God created us to live in community, both with him and with others. Like every God-given longing, he has a purpose and a plan in which to fully satisfy that desire. As with all things that God designed, we can choose to look to the creator of these longings to satisfy them, or we can choose to chase cheap imitations that can never satisfy and will ultimately leave us unfulfilled and feeling even more lonely.
Throughout Scripture, we see Jesus loving the lonely and confronting those things that they seek that leaves them empty. (Some great examples of this: John 4 – Woman at the well; John 5:1-9 – Jesus heals a lame man.)
So what is the solution for loneliness? How can one experience true fulfillment? There are four important aspects:
1) Experience a love relationship with Christ. (Status: Loved)
God created mankind to be completely fulfilled in relationship with him. In the Garden of Eden, man and woman experienced harmony & fulfillment with God as well as harmony & fulfillment in relationship with each other through him. Sin changed everything.
Immediately, the loneliness of sin became clear. After mankind disobeyed God, we see that God went “searching” for man. Genesis 3:9, “Then the Lord God called to the man, Where are you?’” Although God obviously knew where he was, we see that man was hiding from God. Sin broke fellowship in the Garden, and sin still breaks fellowship today. The loneliness of sin is real.
The only cure for the loneliness of sin is the love of a Savior. “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:8) Through faith in the work of Christ on the cross, we can receive forgiveness of sin, experience abundant (& eternal life), and be fulfilled through a love relationship with him. (To learn more about how to have a love relationship with Christ, click here.)
As you experience the ultimate love of Christ (1 John 4:8), you can change your status from lonely to loved.
2) Realize your identity in Christ. (Status: Valued)
As you experience a love relationship with Christ, you can begin to more fully understand your identity in him. You can know the basis for who you really are as described in Scripture. You can know:
|I am personally known by God.
|I am fearfully, wonderfully, and personally made by God.
|I am the object of God’s planning and will.
|I am the delight of God.
|I am made right with God and at peace with him.
|I am so incredibly loved.
Even while I was a sinner, Christ died in my place.
|I am set free from the power of sin.
|I am forgiven, and not condemned!
|I am personally loved and adopted as God’s dear child.
|I am absolutely secure in God’s love through Christ.
Nothing can separate me from his never-ending love.
|I am an invaluable part of the Body of Christ.
|1 Corinthians 12:18
|I am uniquely made and gifted with purpose.
|2 Corinthians 5:20
|I am blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
|I am an heir of God according to his will.
|I am God’s masterpiece!
|I am equipped to make a difference in his kingdom.
|I am eternally alive in him.
Who you are does not depend on what you do. Identity does not depend on titles, or positions, or social status. It depends on the wonderful fact that you are a child of God. You are God’s masterpiece, and you are valued and treasured simply for who you are.
As you realize your identity in Christ, you can change your status from lonely to valued.
3) Embrace your unique design. (Status: Content)
Understanding real love in Christ and your immeasurable value in him, you can begin to embrace and love your unique design.
The Apostle Paul reminds us of the importance of our unique design in Romans 12:4-6. He tells us, “Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.”
You are no accident and God has made you one-of-a-kind for a reason. All of your personality, passions, talents, and giftedness is what makes you YOU. And that is exactly what makes you an invaluable part of the body of Christ.
Embrace this! See the beauty of your unique design. Don’t waste your time wishing to be what someone else is. This only robs the body of Christ from the gift of YOU. Embrace and love your unique design.
Don’t waste your time wishing to be what someone else is. This only robs the body of Christ from the gift of YOU. #embrace
As you do, you can change your status from lonely to content.
4) Pursue Authentic Community. (Status: Known)
We were created to live in community. Throughout Scripture, we see that community is a big deal. The Bible makes it clear that “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
Community is modeled for us in the Bible. Acts 2:42-47 is a beautiful description of what community looks like in the early church,
All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
The Bible is clear as to the benefits of community and how we should live in community with one another.
Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11, “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”
Romans 15:7, “Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.”
Live in the reality of all God wants you to experience in authentic community. As you pursue authentic community, you can change your status from lonely to known.
Biblical community is the context for spiritual formation, through which God makes us more like Christ. As we grow more in our love relationship with Christ, we more fully realize our value and can more fully embrace our unique design. In doing this, we can more rightly use our giftedness in the context of biblical community, and we discover each of these elements working together to lead us to a place that is the complete opposite of unfulfilled loneliness…that is complete fulfillment!
Don’t miss this… Through a love relationship with Jesus Christ, you can experience true love, realize & embrace your unique identity in him, and live in authentic community with others. All of these truly lead to a status of “fulfillment” in your life.
In Christ alone can you change your status from LONELY to FULFILLED!
Take it home…
If you were completely honest with yourself:
– Do you experience feelings of loneliness?
– What destructive behavior in your life is a result of coping with aloneness?
– What truth most resonates with you from the points above?
– Identify one thing you need to do this week to experience true fulfillment, and do it!
Please consider sharing this blog with someone who might need some encouragement in this area.
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