The word jumped out at me today as I was meditating the Phillipians 4:19 promise.
It made me look at my life in a different way.
I grew up in the UK, lived there until I was 31 and then moved to Cape Town. Here I’m a married man of 41 now, 3 dogs, car on the drive and fire in the hearth. My wife is a medical doctor. We’re planning a family.
What are my needs?
God will provide all my needs according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus.
I’m learning about my needs.
Some of what I thought were my needs, actually aren’t.
We don’t need many of the things we take for granted in a Western society.
I live in sight of a less affluent area. We regularly have gunfire within 200 meters of our front gate, and 2 years ago a child was killed by a drunk driver hitting her after crashing through our wall. My wife and I were home and tried to help, but all we could do was cradle the broken body until the paramedics arrived. She died on the way to the hospital, as did the passenger of the car.
My needs are simple. Maslow had it right. His pyramid, famous in psychology, holds true in Christianity as well. From basic physiological like food & sleep at the base to self-actualisation at the top, we live according to our progression through the needs we have.
In a Christian pyramid, the needs may be slightly different, but they are essentially the same core. We still need food and sleep. We need safety & security. Friendship, family at level 3. Esteem at level 4 and self actualisation at the top. God puts things in a different way though. In Genesis, He provides all Adams basic needs, food, shelter and the security of employment are all provided by God. Then God says we need companionship – and creates Eve. God’s pyramid starts to change a little for the top 2 layers though.
Esteem for us as Christians should come from God. That part of us should be met through our relationship with Him through Christ, rather than acclaim and respect from other people. In fact, acclaim from people could be detrimental to our growth as Christians.
Self-actualisation could be interpreted as finding and fulfilling God’s Will for our lives. Actualisation would be more accurate than self-actualisation, but moving in that direction should also be done with the guidance and support of a mature fellowship. God’s gifts to us are uniquely suited to us as individuals, coded as perfectly as DNA to form our spiritual selves.
Our needs are essentials, not minutia of wants or desires. We have a car, but I have a motorbike as well. Before I emigrated I owned a car, a VW Camper-van and a Harley-Davidson. I had the trappings of my wants but was missing much of my need.
I have a new perspective on need since my first visit here before I moved. As I came out of Cape Town airport for the first time I came face-to-face with the other side of the society. An “informal settlement” was just outside the airport. These houses, cobbled together from wooden pallets and corrugated metal sheets, provided shelter for around half of Cape Town’s population. In the 11 years since then, these townships have more than doubled in size as people move to the city from the smaller towns and villages.
Need became a relative term. I realised how little I asked God to meet my needs, and how much I focussed on wants.
Now my concept of need has narrowed even further. Three years ago when my wife was mis-diagnosed following surgery and almost died I had to learn a new way to pray. I had to look at scripture again and see what to pray for, and how to pray. What was promised and what was not.
Daily bread – level 1 & 2
Forgiveness as we forgive others – level 3
My focus to be on God supplying my needs – level 4
Walking in His way – level 5
According to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus. According to His power at work in us.
God is faithful to provide what we can trust Him for.