Understand Your Core Needs
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4
“Our needs just were not being met,” says the father of four, “so we dropped out of church.” “He just is not meeting my needs,” says a young wife to her best friend. “Dad” says a teenager, “I need a new pair of pants for the game next Saturday.” “Heavenly Father,” prays a businessman, “I need that deal I am working on. Please help me to get the contract rather than my competitor.”
Has any generation ever been more “need centered” than we are today? Our needs must be met, and besides, there is that promise, “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). This is a much maligned and often quoted verse.
Demanding that needs be met makes the world revolve around your personal desire. You and your needs become more important than other people and their needs. “After me–you’re first,” becomes a way of life. Be sure, the promise which God gave to us in Paul’s letter to the Philippians, is a valid and meaningful expression of God’s concern; but it has been distorted today and magnified beyond its original boundaries by the selfishness of the flesh and the trickery of advertising.
Think with me for a moment–what are your core needs? Of course, there are the basics–air, water, food and shelter. Seldom though do we think of needs in these categories. For a moment, think with me of a tiny group of Korean brethren who meet for prayer at 5 A.M. before going to the fields, or a handful of political prisoners who pray the Lord’s Prayer while huddled together in the corner of an exercise pen in a prison camp. Now compare their needs with yours.
Would they have the need for the latest digital gadgets or sports cars? Finally, for one more sobering, shattering moment, view your needs from the perspective of God’s heaven. How would He look at your needs? Your basic needs have three levels or layers–the physical, the emotional and the spiritual. Physically you need air, water, food and shelter. Emotionally, you need to give and receive love. Eliminating the separation of loneliness, you need to feel worthwhile to yourself and to other people which brings a measure of emotional security. Spiritually, you need to know that you have been forgiven and are related to God through Jesus Christ.
The final analysis is this–and the thing that has gripped my soul–is that I feel guilty for confusing my actual wants and my needs. So much of our time, salaries and energies are spent pursuing material objectives that not only fall outside the actual circle of real needs, but also displease our heavenly Father.
Be careful, friend. The feeling or attitude that “my need must be met” is selfish and even dangerous. Try to bring your needs into focus with God’s perspective, and then properly expect your heavenly Father to meet these needs. For, certainly, He can and will. He is bound by His promise. When Paul wrote to the Philippians, he said, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4) And when you do that, you will discover that your God will provide all your needs according to his riches and glory by Christ Jesus. And that promise is still true today!
Resource reading: Matthew 6:25-34