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worldAll of God’s creation is interdependent in some way: the food chain demonstrates interdependence for nourishment; the life cycles of plants and animals demonstrate interdependence for reproduction, and so on. Man, as a part of God’s creation, is interdependent with the rest of creation. We are dependent on air to survive; dependent on plants and animals for food; dependent on other people for companionship. God created us this way. In essence, He created us incomplete so that we would have needs!

One of the reasons God created us this way is to show us our need for Him and to move us toward Him as the One who can provide for all our needs. Everyone of us can probably point to specific felt needs in our lives that brought us to the point of pursuing God. And without any sense of our needs we would not have pursued Him.

Problems arise when man tries to get his needs met apart from God’s design, either through inappropriate relationships, substance abuse, materialism, or an endless list of activities which do not satisfy or nourish us but do, rather, hurt us. In order to avoid these destructive behaviors, Christians sometimes resort to denying or minimizing the fact that they have any needs. It is important that we accept the fact that we have needs and that we learn how to meet them appropriately.

Even if we deny our needs, they motivate us anyway. Through many of our activities (both good and bad) we are actually trying to get our needs met. For instance, women read romance novels and men look at pornography to create a fantasy world in their minds, rather than having the real relationships they crave. In fact, by focusing on these fantasies, they may develop expectations and ideas about relationships that are unrealistic and harmful. At the same time, they miss out on the better ways that God uses to meet their needs.

There are many kinds of needs: physical, spiritual, psychological, social, etc., with our physical needs being the most obvious. Without oxygen we would literally die within a few minutes. We can only survive a few days without water and a few weeks without food. Our spiritual, psychological, and social needs may not be as obvious but are also critically important to our overall well-being. We can get a better understanding of our primary needs by looking at the way God created man and how He has provided for these needs.

Created with a need for a personal relationship with God
One of our greatest needs is for a personal relationship with God. After God created man, He related to him on a personal basis (Genesis 2:19, 3:8-9)[Listen]. Both Adam and Eve were aware of God’s presence and conversed with Him. After the fall, man continued to seek a relationship with his Creator. This is seen in all cultures by man’s propensity to place gods in his life in an attempt to reach the true God he longs to know (Romans 1:21-23)[Listen]. This is also demonstrated by the fact that God has continued to pursue a relationship with man after the fall and has provided a way for mankind to come back into fellowship with Him (John 6:44, I Peter 3:18)[Listen].

There are certain needs that only God can meet. He is the only one who could provide a way of salvation for us (I Peter 3:18)[Listen]. He is the only one who could remove the barriers that prevented us from having a relationship with Him (Colossians 2:13-14)[Listen]. He is the only one who could draw us to Himself (John 6:44)[Listen]. Blaise Pascal, the famous French scientist and philosopher, said, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man that can only be filled by Jesus Christ.”

Created with a need for value and worth
Another need we all share is the need to know that we have value and worth. Both theologians and psychologists agree that all people feel a deep desire to be valued by God, other people, and themselves. Because man was created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-28)[Listen], he does have worth and value (Psalm 8:4-5)[Listen]. Even after the fall, all men (including non-Christians) continue to bear God’s image, even though it is marred (James 3:9)[Listen]. Therefore, man has value and worth whether he realizes it or not.

Unfortunately, many believers don’t realize that they have inherent value and worth and therefore, seek to be assured of their value and worth from people who can’t give assurance or give it inconsistently. Often they seek it from parents who may be overly critical or distant and who are unable to give them what they need. Understanding that God has created us in His image and the price He paid to reconcile us to Himself is the only consistent way to realize what tremendous value we have.

Created with a need for impact
An important need that is also identified by both religious leaders and psychologists is our deep desire for purpose in this life. Man needs to have significance and to know that he has the ability to impact his world. The Creator gave man a very important responsibility when he gave him the task of ruling over and maintaining His Creation! (Genesis 1:28, Psalm 8:6-8)[Listen]. Man has done incredible things and made unbelievable advances as he has developed technology and processes to manipulate his environment. Unfortunately, he can use these powers for evil as well as for good.

After the Fall, man’s need to have an impact in the world is still a driving force in him, and God continues to offer us the means to meet it. As Christians, God has given us the additional opportunity to advance and build His Kingdom (Romans 10:13-15, Ephesians 4:11-16)[Listen] and help to restore what has been damaged and ruined by the fall (Isaiah 61:1-3)[Listen]. God’s provision for us to impact our world reinforces the fact that this is an important requirement for our well-being.

Created with a need for relationship
One of our most important needs is our requirement for human companionship. In the Garden of Eden, Adam had all his physical needs met and enjoyed close fellowship with God. In spite of this, it was God himself who said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18) God had made man in such a way that he needs other people.

God helped Adam see his longing for a companion by having him name the animals, and as Adam did this, he realized that there was no one like him (Genesis 2:19, 20)[Listen]. Then God created Eve, who had a body of bones and flesh like Adam’s, but with some important modifications (Genesis 2:18, 21-22)[Listen]. Adam was obviously pleased (Genesis 2:23)[Listen].

Many generations later we, the descendants of Adam and Eve, still need companions, and the Bible tells us that God has provided two institutions to help meet this need: the family and the church. Numerous Bible verses discuss the importance of having good, loving human relationships. We are even told that next to loving God, the greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40)[Listen].

Conclusion
In conclusion, God created us with needs. He has also provided us with the means to meet them. Our most important needs are to have close relationships with both God and our fellow man, to be able to impact our world for good and to have value and significance in this life. We should not deny these needs but should seek to satisfy them in ways that God intended.

Application Suggestions:
• Meditate on Genesis 1:26-2:25 [Listen]. Consider how man was created and how God related to and provided for him.
• List some of the things you do to try to get these needs (mentioned above) met.

 

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Children Playing HIde and SeekWhen I was a kid I loved to play hide and seek. We would hide in the house sometimes and I had my favorite spot. I can still years later picture the hiding place in my mind. It was a pretty good spot! I would dig underneath the pile of work clothes that my dad had put in the corner of his closet, way back underneath the hanging clothes in the corner. As a little kid I could make myself as small as possible, curled up in a little ball and stay quiet as possible.

I remember telling my sisters years later about the hiding place. They remembered looking for me. “I looked there!” I remember them moving the hanging clothes and moving a few items around, expecting to be found at any moment! I learned to hide well!

I also learned to hide other things well! As I have been working through WDA’s Restoring Your Heart Workbook called “Understanding Emotions” I realized that I hid my emotions from myself. Somewhere, I began to stuff my emotions down into the corner of my own closet. Curled up in little balls that I couldn’t find. The thing about hidden emotions are they don’t like to stay hidden or at least some of them don’t like to stay hidden.

Another memory of growing up was the face that my mom seemed to have a sixth sense regarding my emotional state. In fact many times I didn’t have to say a word for her to “read my face.” So the funny thing about this game of hide and seek I have been playing is that I’m realizing that these emotions I have been hiding from myself are not hidden from others. Just because I can’t feel them doesn’t mean they are safely hidden away!

This discovery happens often in my home. I lived as a single guy for 37 years until God put my wife and two daughters in my life. All of a sudden, I had a house full of people watching me. I discovered that I had a “tone of voice.” Emotions were leaking all over my family in “how” I was saying things! I remember how frustrating this was and still struggle with this! I always considered myself as a pretty self aware person. But as I had been given a wife who was able to see me all the time and mirror back to me they way I react, what I say, how I say things, and explain how that makes her feel, God began to help me unpack all these emotions. I began to understand some of them.

This has not been fun! Let me tell you! However, Jesus is showing up! I still am in a huge renovation project inside my head. The process of Understanding my Emotions is a life long venture. The cool thing is that I have someone to walk with who is able to bear my hidden junk. I’m not talking about my wife here, not even a Christian counselor or the people in my Restoring Your Heart Group. I have someone who actually knows me! He is quite fond of me!

The Message by Eugene Peterson paraphrases Hebrews 4:15-16 this way… “Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.”

Jesus is completely aware of our reality! He has experienced it all. He knows my negative emotions and my positive ones. He who was completely human and perfectly God was able to know exactly what it means to feel emotions. Jesus wept and got angry over death of his friend, Jesus got furious at the temple as worship was exchanged for making money. Jesus loved and felt compassion for those who the world didn’t even acknowledge.

So here I am playing my own game of hide and seek. Jesus is helping me find my emotions! Some of them are not hidden very well. He is helping me know where to look and even helping me understand them. Consider taking time to look at your heart. Are you playing hide and seek with your emotions? How are you feeling today? Are you dead and dry? Are you furious? Are you depressed? Are you happy?

Consider one thing today. Jesus wants you to know and embrace your emotions. He created you with them for a reason. The challenge you and I face today is to learn to Understand them and GROW to have a healthy and emotionally mature life. Part of growing to maturity in your relationship with God also means you should be willing to be emotionally healthy too! Jesus wants to walk with you into your heart and help you find your emotions. Take some time to begin to play hide and seek with Jesus. (He’s pretty good at the seeking part.)

Search me O God and know my Heart….

23  Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
24  And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!
Psalm 139:23-24 English Standard Version (ESV)

Begin by reading this free ebook- How Emotional Problems Develop. (pdf)
Second consider learning more about WDA’s Restoring Your Heart Ministry and curriculum.
As you learn about RYH consider joining a group and going through Understanding Emotions.

“What is the truth about where we came from, what life is about, and where we’re going? Think about how vast the mysterious universe is, and how impossible it would be to know all about it. Now consider that we have brains that just weigh about three pounds trying to figure it all out! You may begin to wonder what we can really know about nature, life and death.”  Read more of this Pocket Principle by downloading the pdf file.  Pocket Principles are featured each week on the WDA Blog.

For an introduction to Pocket Principles read “Pocket Principles: What do you carry around in your pocket?”

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