14 Sep Do Not Be Stumbled By Your Needs But Be Blessed Through Them
We humans have many needs. Whether it is spiritual or carnal needs, we all hope to receive contentment. Some people in particular need to understand, hope to know and learn more. Others have more emotional needs, in that they enjoy socialising and often need people to listen to them. There are also people who yearn for material needs (basic needs).
In reality, we humans experience the agony when we are in need or when our needs are not satisfied. Some of our needs stem from our sinful nature, but sometimes are also due to our human nature. Our sinful nature cause us to want more out of fear or greed. However, there are also real needs and the need to receive contentment due to our human nature in reality. When a sick person wishes to have good health, or a single wants to get married, or a married couple wants to have children, or a person living in fear wants to receive peace etc., it is from reasonable human nature within them.
Actually, the needs of humans reveal that they are created by a Giver and they need Him. When people keep wandering because of their own needs, it shows that they need that Giver and that Giver is none other than God Himself. He created humans and wants to be their provider and source of contentment at any time. Only God has no needs because He is who He is, He will not be consumed. However, as a created being, we all have needs. The important thing is, when we are in need, we must know how to be contented. Some people misunderstand that as long as a person is spiritual, he will no longer have any real need. Not only is this wrong, it also twists the human nature in a spiritual person.
Actually, the needs of humans reveal that they are created by a Giver and they need Him.
A spiritual person also has needs, but he knows how to receive contentment from God and not try to find satisfaction using his own means. A spiritual person knows how to enjoy what God has given and does not end up in a situation where he is controlled by needs or experience great lack. David said, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.” He practically enjoyed the green pastures and quiet waters given to him by God <Ps 23:1-2>. Paul also declared, “And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” <Php 4:19> Truly, a spiritual person knows what he needs and also needs how God satisfies him. And each time he testifies God’s providence, the more his spirit is able to see the glorious riches of God. It is only when a person can often see God’s glory, he can naturally and often experience the satisfaction of God in his needs. Think about this, are our lives often in a state where we often cannot see the glorious riches of God? Whether it is spiritual or carnal, have we experienced contentment in God? Do we often harbour thoughts that “God does not satisfy but only request from me”? If it is so, we will gradually discover that our faith is weary and burdensome. In reality, there are believers who often serve God but they do not have grace in their heart and are not joyful. Their misunderstanding towards God (Provider) and the lack of experience with Him caused them to be less blessed, the more they serve. Not only do they give themselves pressure, they also give pressure to those around them. With long period of living under such pressure and not having joy, some believers seek other forms of contentment and gradually fall into temptations and give in to the desires of their flesh. Some even end up turning their ears away from the Truth and turn aside to myths <2Ti 4:4>. They use the word of God to seek carnal satisfaction and ends up in a faith that does not carry the Cross. As these people received an incorrect spirit, they live in delusion and believe that they will receive from God whatever they believe or desire. In reality, such misunderstanding in the gospel bring us to another extreme. Some people stumble because of their needs. What they believe and pursue is unable to glorify the God who satisfy our hearts and body. It is stated in <Ro 8:32>, “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, graciously gives us all things?” Hence, God not only give us His only Son, He also promised to give us all things and satisfy our practical needs. We must be cautious not to fall because of our needs but be blessed through them. This is because God is one who satisfies our needs and as a result He receives all the glory. However, our sinful nature easily causes us to become weak because of our needs, to the extent that we receive contentment through our own will. Therefore, we must learn how to receive the guidance of the Holy Spirit to receive contentment from God’s abundance.
Our misunderstanding towards God is the main reason why our needs cannot be satisfied.
Man’s disbelief causes Him to be bonded by various types of lack.
After Man has sinned and fallen, his environment immediately becomes one that is of lack, where he definitely has to work hard to live, and eventually his end is dust (death) <Ge 3:17-19>. When Man lives in such a destiny and belief, his heart and spirit has a type of absolute lack. This is Man’s state after he has sinned and cannot see God, thus losing his eternal spiritual life. Therefore, there is a spiritual background hidden behind Man, when he cannot receive satisfaction in his various needs. Man cannot see his Provider and hence opposes Him, he is driven by “self-survival”, living a life of fear and lack. He does not know his real needs; the purpose of his living is to receive more, rather than to live by seeing His provider. So, in this world, many people say they have needs, most of which are a result of fear and greed. Therefore, Paul said that if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that <1Ti 6:8>. In reality, what we have now is much more than just food and clothing.
When we are weak in faith, and do not see the value of eternal life, our heart and spirit fall into a state of discontentment and lack.
From such a principle, we believers need to reflect on our current needs and feelings of lack. In Christ, we are already reconciled with God. However, there are often many thoughts and beliefs showing that we have not reconciled with God, especially in this area of “need”. When we are weak in faith, and do not see the value of eternal life, our heart and spirit fall into a state of discontentment and lack. In the midst, Man’s heart often harbour thoughts like, “God will not satisfy my needs, God only requests my submission.” In fact, when our hearts have such misunderstanding towards God, we end up in a state of greater lack, to the extent that we think we will not receive satisfaction in our lifetime, rendering us helpless. Many times in reality, our real needs are not money, work, spouse, etc but when we have an incorrect understanding of God, our Provider, our needs get distorted, we cannot enjoy what we current have, and we cannot experience the help and support of the Holy Spirit in the process.
Know God as a Giver and not One in need
<Ac 17:24-25> The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything. Rather, He Himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. When Paul was sharing the gospel in Athens, he saw many idols, and even worship “the unknown god”. In fact, people created their own idols because of their own needs. They think that someone more powerful than them can help them achieve what they want. But Paul gave the people there the concept of God, and let them know that God is the One who created all things, and cannot be served with human hands. Therefore, when we worship and serve God, do not think that God needs our help to build the church, counsel people, do His works etc. When people serve with the wrong beliefs, the more they serve, the less blessed they become. Some believers even think that they miss the opportunities of being promoted or getting married because of the many ministries that they are serving in. The more they have such beliefs, the more they cannot see how God satisfies their needs. This is because our spirit is connected to the spiritual realm. To enjoy God’s blessings, we must first restore the truth from the word of God. <Php 4:19> God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Here, it talks about God’s glorious riches will meet all our needs, but meeting our needs does not mean that we will not encounter situations of lack because Paul in the earlier verses said that he knew what it was to be in need, whether hungry or in want etc. At such times, God has added grace to satisfy his heart, giving him faith to go through difficulties. If we go through this with the Lord, we definitely will not see the Lord prolonging our lack.
When people serve with the wrong beliefs, the more they serve, the less blessed they become.
God wants us to serve Him so that we can experience His service
* <Mk 10:45>: For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and give His life as a ransom for many; <1Pe 4;11>… If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
* Maybe we may find these words contradictory because people whom we serve tend to have needs. But God never asks us to serve because there is a need; instead He comes to serve us. Then, why does He need us to serve? Because through our serving, He wants us to experience the power of Him serving us, and we participate in His glory. Realistically, many people who serve in Church do not have this understanding. Many of them may be enduring the workload in their serving or they grumble. Many believers are also filled with bitterness and are unable to give thanks when they serve their own family members. But having read the scripture, the Lord wants to point our heart and thoughts to the truth, and practically experience strength in our serving. Therefore, the less you serve, the less strength you receive; the more you serve, the more grace, wisdom and strength you receive etc. We really have many needs (e.g. the joy of our heart and spirit, healthy body, building relationship) which are received in the midst of serving. Hence, in our serving, it is totally different if we rely on the Holy Spirit and when we rely on our own body to serve.
Do not stumble because of your needs but be blessed through them.
What does it tell us, when we feel that we are in need?
* God created Man with desires and because of these desires, we will feel the need at times or in certain situations. This includes the desire to eat, sleep, have sex, knowledge, fulfilment, entertainment and fun, to be heard, to survive etc. The intensity of these needs varies across different people but these desires (needs) are intrinsically placed in the lives of Man when God created Man, and how God wants us to be satisfied through them. Therefore, if we do not understand these desires and only live a life reading the Bible and of prayer, such a life may not have been God’s perfect will. Actually, at times, God tells us to seek areas of satisfaction through these needs. For instance, we eat when we are hungry, sleep when we are tired, desire intimacy with our spouse by being satisfied through sexual love, see the doctor when we are sick, relax when we are too stressed. All these are permitted by God and He wants us to be satisfied and joyful in Him. If not, our heart, spirit and body may suffer as a result, or causes our emotions to be imbalanced. However, having said all these, we must also know that because of Man’s fallen sinful nature, our desires may also be influenced by the fallen nature, such that we may even have extensive or unreasonable needs. For example, some people are gluttons, some have too strong sexual desires such that the spouse may suffer, some people over-indulge in entertainment and do not have the heart to do serious work. Therefore, if people do not understand how to live by the Holy Spirit, they tend to gratify the desires of their flesh. Hence, if a person is not clear on how to often receive the conviction or guidance of the Holy Spirit through the truth, he easily believes his needs are God’s perfect will. Therefore, many people come or leave Church because of their needs.
What does it tell us, when we feel that our needs are not met timely?
At times when our heart and body feel the need, but the situation or environment does now allow us to receive immediate satisfaction (in other words, when God does not immediately satisfy us based on what we feel we need), we must first:
- Come before the Giver because of our need. This is because it is only through the Lord who created our body, heart and spirit who through His ways and power satisfy us at that moment in time.
- Our heart and spirit has to be guided and taught by the word of life. David said, You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand <Ps16:11>. When a person is guided by the truth and assured by the promise, he will experience a different form of satisfaction in his need. It could be a new perspective on how he sees his inadequacy or he experiences God’s satisfaction in other areas. This satisfaction is received when our hearts and thoughts are being guided by the truth.
When a person is guided by the truth and assured by the promise, he will experience a different form of satisfaction in his need.
- We must truly hear the greater fulfilment God has prepared for us. This is like Hannah, being barren, was in anguish and grief by her rival. She poured out her soul to the Lord, and realise that God’s will to bless Israel, and hence she prayed to God for a son, who will become a Nazarite, set apart for the Lord. Sometimes, in our desperate need, if we dedicate ourselves to seek God, we will experience God’s will immediately. If we continue to lament because our needs are not satisfied, our suffering will only increase.
- We must recognise the importance of the support of brethren. Actually, what people need most in all their needs, is love, whether they are spiritual or otherwise. When a person is truly being loved, the multiple needs in them naturally become less intense. Many people walk out of a sinful and wicked life because of love. When ex-prisoners are being accepted, they repent and change. When children who had been led astray are being understood, they turn over a new leaf. They are all transformed because of love. Therefore, one must desire to pursue brethren living, and one must grow daily, to love one another. Hence, when we have some needs that have yet to receive satisfaction, we must receive comfort from brethren living. When there is love in brethren living, the Holy Spirit will satisfy our hearts, just like the Church of Philippi who gave Paul immense satisfaction and joy while he was imprisoned, through their donations given out of love.
When various needs come into our mind, we must first ask ourselves some important problems.
- Try asking: Is this what I really need? If I receive it, will it be beneficial to me? Or is this caused by the lust of the eyes? Confirm it continuously before God.
- If one really has that need, how does one receive satisfaction? How should we pray (Refer to the prayer of Hannah)? How do we wait? How do we in the process rely on the Lord?
- Confirm how one’s heart and spirit is changed while waiting? Am I more able to grasp the will of the Lord, such that what I think and feel is consistent with that of the Lord?
- After I have found satisfaction in the Lord, do I place less value on things that are temporal? Whether it is educational status, work, marriage, children, health, etc, these are all temporal. Many people are in sorrows daily because of these and when they receive them, they are being bonded. But if we receive these good things through the Lord, do we all the more allow all that we have to be used by the Lord?
Man’s greatest need is to be forgiven <Mk 2:15-17>.
In the four gospel books, we see many people seeking Jesus because of their needs. After some of these people receive satisfaction in their needs, they no longer follow Jesus <Lu 17:17-19>. Or some people are self-satisfied and do not feel that they need anything. These people are so small to think that they can be self-satisfied <Mk 2;17>.
In reality, it is not that they do not have needs but they do not see that they are in a situation of great lack, just as the Lord said in <Re 3:17> they do not realise that they are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. They are completely deceived and receive joy through temporal satisfaction. But the Lord said, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled <Mt 5:6>.
It is when we accept God’s grace and be forgiven of our sins, then will we start to see and enjoy all of God’s blessings.
Factually, those who need the doctor will be healed, those who need the Saviour will be saved. Some of us may have come to the Church because of our needs. But Man’s most serious problem is the judgment and punishment of sin that remains in him, and sin brings about all types of lack in a person. Therefore, when the Lord satisfies our needs, He absolutely first gives us the grace of forgiveness of sin. It is when we accept God’s grace and be forgiven of our sins, then will we start to see and enjoy all of God’s blessings.
Today, let us clearly know what our real needs are, and come before the Giver with our needs. Perhaps our problem is not limited to what we currently need but our lives are distant from God and live our own lives. Let us repent from our stubbornness today, receive God’s mercy and see that apart from God, we have no good thing <Ps 16:2>.