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.

 

Get this Pocket Principle in Understanding People, part of Cornerstone  from the WDA Store

For more information visit the WDA Store.

When I’m in Africa, kids are usually either ignored or sternly warned to behave. Fathers love their children, but I don’t often see affectionate fathers. Children run with a posse of older siblings and friends from dawn to dusk. Babies ride on their mothers’ backs all day. Often kids are considered non-entities until they demonstrate that they will survive pandemic infant mortality and grow into an initiated adult. In fact, in some cultures, a child isn’t given a proper name for several years! Until then they are, “Hey you with the boogers hanging down!” (My experience in Ethiopia was the exception. There, I was surprised and encouraged to see parents who were both firm and affectionate.)

One of several photo-op pitstops we took with  our preacher friend, Zekarias to say hello  to the children passing by. He loved those snot-nosed kids.
One of several photo-op pitstops we took with
our preacher friend, Zekarias to say hello
to the children passing by. He loved those snot-nosed kids.

I believe the culture Jesus lived and taught in was more akin to your traditional African context where small children were assigned value only in relationship to their parents (which is why all the OT babies are given names relating to the stories of their parents.) So, when Jesus scooped up one of these free-ranging little ones and shouted, “Here’s the kingdom!” I think it was quite a statement indeed!

And the shock value is still there today in many traditional cultures. I don’t think the message is that we should think more highly of our children, but that we should think less highly of ourselves. Our culture idolizes our kids and in my opinion, we put a lot of pressure on our kids to continue to be “so cute, so talented, so wonderful.” But many societies are so rigidly structured around a top-down hierarchy–even in churches–that Jesus’ upside-down kingdom is intentionally lost so that we can focus on whether an apostle is more important than a pastor… or a female preacher is more valuable than a male deacon!

Pastor Elias
Pastor Elias was one of those precious attentive
fathers who glowed when he talked about his kids.

Not to pick on the African church too much. After all, American churches rarely have trouble filling volunteer roles that get the spotlight. And for full disclosure, this is usually where I end up: leading the music, garnering applause.

But I’m trying something new these days. I’m volunteering for the nursery. I think it’s healthy for me to be around 5-year-olds who won’t say, “wow, that was such a profound lesson today!” And I think I can learn a thing or two from them as well.

 

WIIFM“So what’s in it for me?”  is an oft-repeated phrase, becoming part of our social fabric where most people “look out for #1” to the exclusion of everyone else. Yet, the Bible exhorts us to lay down our lives for others. (Phil. 2: 1-5)  In light of this, have you ever wondered if it’s always wrong to want to know how a particular activity might affect you, before you participate?  Scripture admonishes us to “put off the old self, which is being corrupted by it’s deceitful desires, to be renewed in the attitude of our minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness”? (Ephesians 4: 22-23)  But doesn’t Scripture also say we are to “love our neighbor, as we love ourselves.”  

The notion of considering personal benefit may at first appear to be in total contrast to the sacrificial life espoused in Scripture. (After all, Jesus gave up His life and then urged us to follow His example by taking up our cross. Right?) But before dismissing the notion out-of-hand, we must remember that the Scriptures also say that it was “for the joy set before Him” that Jesus “endured the Cross, despising it’s shame.” There was a benefit (joy) that served to motivate our Lord to finish His mission. This sense of balanced tension seems to be what Jesus meant when He said that “whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?” (emphasis added)

It appears to be possible to be both self-sacrificing and self-preserving at the same time, provided our approach is Christ-centered and faith-supported.  Then the benefits (saving your life, eternal joy, resurrected body, etc.) are biblically-based, and accompanied by godly maturity.  Biblical ‘self-seeking’ results in value-added benefits for both this world and the next.  Paul summed it up by saying, “Godliness (maturity) has value (benefit) for all things,holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” 

Here are some of the promised benefits (blessings) that accompany godly maturity:

•An increasing capacity to experience God, and enjoy His presence.  (Heb. 12:14, Ezek. 44: 10-16, 28; Psa. 27: 4)

•An increasing capacity to love others and experience their love in return.  (I Cor. 13)

•An increasing capacity to discern the will, purposes, and wisdom of God.  (I Cor. 2)

• An increasing capacity to escape the corruption of the world and the schemes of the devil.  (Rom. 12, Titus 3, II Cor. 2:11, Eph. 4: 14-15)

•An increasing capacity to be good parents. (Ps. 127)

•An increasing capacity to enter into heaven with rewards and glory.

(II Pet. 1: 5-11; I Cor. 3: 11-15)

•An increasing capacity for no regret at the Return of Christ.  (I Cor. 3: 11-15; I Jn. 2: 28-29)

•An increasing capacity for effective evangelism that glorifies God.  (John 17: Phil 2: 12-16, I Pet. 3: 15-16)

• An increasing capacity to endure trouble and take hold of the enabling grace of God.  (Rom. 5: 1-11; Jas. 1: 2-5)

•An increasing capacity to control our speech, thus decreasing relational conflict.  (Jam. 3: 13-4: 3)

These are just a few of the benefits that we inherit as we take hold of godly maturity.  In actuality, the blessings are far beyond our understanding!  (I Cor. 2:9, Isa. 64:4)

Needy-05-30-12Did you ever have anyone in your life who you just wanted to turn to and yell, “Why are you so needy?” Sometimes it might even be your own child, or spouse. Sometimes it is a person who truly IS too needy and no matter what you do for them, they always need more. I know I have had people in my life from time to time that I just avoid, because they are always exhaustingly trying to get their needs met.

When I am honest, I recognize that I am not always the best at getting my own needs met. Sometimes I don’t even know what my needs are. I just know I NEED something.

And of course we have all kinds of different needs. We need air to breathe, we need food and water, we need clothing and shelter, we need rest, we need stimulation, we need each other, and the list goes on.

As you look at this Pocket Principle, you will discover an interesting fact. The reason we have needs and the reason we are all so needy is because God created us that way. Read on to discover what God had in mind when He created us with needs and how he had planned all along to satisfy our needs.

Read the Pocket Principle – Understanding People: Created with Needs

 

Get this Pocket Principle in Understanding People, part of Cornerstone  from the WDA Store

For more information visit the WDA Store.