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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The phone call came late one night from a son in trouble. “Dad, I need some money!” After a brief discussion, I did what any Dad would do: I wire- transferred cash from my account to his. Later, he thanked me as we talked about the situation over a cup of coffee. We discussed how he got in the predicament (poor budgeting skills) and I helped him address those issues. He confessed that it was hard for him to admit that he needed help, but he was grateful nonetheless.

In a similar way it is hard for us to admit that we need God’s help. But we too have failed. We have all sinned, fallen short of God’s good, righteous requirements. What happened with my son and me illustrates in part what God has done for us. But instead of cash, He transfers righteousness to us. Then He comes alongside us in the Person of the Holy Spirit to help us continue to act righteously .

But what exactly is righteousness and how do we get it? Peter promised to follow Jesus to the death. Later he denied knowing Jesus and, when faced with the awful truth that he had abandoned Jesus in the time of testing, he wept bitterly. (Matthew 26: 31-35, 69-75)

It can be devastating to realize our weakness and inability to obey God. Words like “gratitude,” “righteousness” and “faithfulness” can seem like oppressive reminders of our sins. But despite our failures to love and obey God, we can relate confidently to God because he makes us righteous.

Like Peter, we also continue to struggle with sin even after we have committed ourselves to follow Christ. And just as Peter learned, it is vital we understand that God will never abandon us. God is committed to bringing about righteousness in our lives. He does this in several stages.

Initially, God Declares Us Righteous: Justification

Justification is a legal term that means we have been forgiven. In addition it means that we have been declared righteous—morally perfect. (Romans 4:6-8) It is a “once-for-all- time” act that God accomplishes on our behalf. This does not mean we are habitually righteous in every thing we do, but it describes our legal standing with God. You can think of it as being given a new citizenship in God’s Kingdom, a citizenship that cannot change no matter where you live. You may not have a passport to prove it, but God recognizes you as His and accepts you freely.

God is committed to bringing about righteousness in our lives.

Being justified means that Christ’s righteousness has been added to our “righteousness account” in the same way my money was transferred to my son’s account. The result is that God now sees us as righteous on the basis of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (II Corinthians 5:21) The Apostle Paul describes this as a “right standing” with God that “is through faith in Christ — the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” (Philippians 3:9)

This legal status before God is really a completely new relationship with Him. We are no longer enemies of God; we are now at peace with Him. (Romans 5:1) In fact, we have immediate acceptance from God because sin is no longer a barrier between Him and His people. Romans 8:1 tells us “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” No matter what the circumstances, God will not abandon us nor revoke our status as being righteous.

Progressively, God Makes Us Righteous: Sanctification

But what about our sins? What about the times when we, like Peter, turn away from God? Before Peter was tested, Jesus prayed that when Peter turned back to God, he would encourage his fellow believers. It is interesting to note that Jesus knew Peter would fall away, but He also expected Peter to return to Him and grow in righteousness.

Likewise, God has a plan for our lives that allows for the ups and downs in our lives and also includes our becoming holy or Christlike. (II Corinthians 3:18) This process, called sanctification, begins when we are justified by God through faith in Christ and continues throughout our lives as we experience and grow in faith.

The Apostle Paul describes this sanctification process in his letter to the Philippian church:

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)

The process of sanctification involves pressing on, persevering in the heavenward path God has set us upon. Notice that sanctification is not only dependent on God, but on us as well. Paul also tells the Philippian believers they are to continue to “work out their salvation” even as God works in them. (Philippians 2:12-13) Practically speaking, our sanctification involves our active participation with God, a lifelong perseverance to grow in Christlikeness.

Does this mean that by trying hard we can justify ourselves? By no means! Remember we are justified (declared “not-guilty”) by trusting Christ. Paul explains: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith— and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast”. But he goes on to state, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

(Ephesians 2:8-10) God is the one who declares us righteous and He is the one who is at work in our lives to help us produce good works of righteousness. He has declared us righteous, legally .

Then He helps us be righteous, actually. What an amazing God we follow!

Finally, God Makes Us Perfectly Righteous: Glorification

God’s work in our lives makes us citizens of His Kingdom and prepares us to be eternal residents of that Kingdom. One day, we will enter His Kingdom fully as citizens of heaven. To this end, we await the return of Christ, “who will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” (Philippians 3:20-21)

When Jesus returns, we will experience the resurrection and be completely transformed to be like Him, (except, of course, for His deity). In that day, God will glorify us, which is the completion of the good work of salvation that He began with our justification and continued with our sanctification. (Philippians 1:6)

As you can see, the word “salvation” actually covers an amazing experience. Our salvation is rooted in a single, irreversible act of justification. It continues with our actively growing to become more what God wants us to be. One day this relationship will reach its full maturity when we are changed into morally perfect worshippers of God, forever.

Because of God’s salvation, sin is no longer a barrier between God and us. We should not be discouraged when our growth in holiness is slow, because God is at work in us and will never abandon this good work He has begun. In confidence and security, we can always come to Him.

Summary

We can relate confidently to God because He makes us righteous.

  • God brings about righteousness in the believer’s life in several stages.
  • God declares us righteous, giving us immediate acceptance (justification).
  • Sanctification is the process of becoming holy or Christlike.
  • We must cooperate with God and persevere in our sanctification.
  • Christ will return and complete what God has begun in us (glorification).

God is at work in us and will never abandon this good work He has begun!

Application Suggestions:

  • List the things in your life that you feel create a barrier between you and God. Meditate on how this lesson addresses these barriers (Romans 8:1, 5:1)
  • How can the principles in this lesson be helpful when you are discouraged about your spiritual growth?
  • Based on this lesson, what are some of the reasons a Christian can have hope?

Sanctification_Chart

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Do you hear people say they saw God and wonder why they see him and you don’t?

Do you want to see God and feel he is evading you?

Do you need to see God to help you make it through the day?

If we want to see God, we must seek him.  God has made himself completely visible to us all but we don’t take the time to look, to seek him out.  We all have busy lives between work, children and extracurricular activities.

Start seeking him slowly.  When you are driving to work in the morning or home in the afternoon look at all the beautiful things God created, and see them for the amazing things they are, God’s creations!

daisies God's creation

  • The sky – Genesis 1:6-8 And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it.  And it was so.  God called the expanse “sky.”
  • Trees and flowers – Genesis 1:11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation:  seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it according to their various kinds.”  And it was so.
  • The sun and moon – Genesis 1:16  God made two great lights – the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night.  He also made the stars.
  • Birds – Genesis 1:20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.”
  • Animals – Genesis 1:24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds:  livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals each according to its kind.”

Listen to uplifting music about God instead of your regular radio station.

This is a great song that really speaks to me about seeing God.

George Strait – I saw God Today

If you want to see him, seek him.  He will reveal himself to you in other ways when you start looking for him.  He will show himself to you in ways you never imagined.  You will begin to see the world differently and want to seek him out more.  Every relationship is hard, you have to work at it, and your relationship with God is no different.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

How will you see God today?