Desires and Needs
The desires of the heart and the requirements of our work and play can sometimes work against each other producing a state of confusion. If we really want something, it feels like we need it. If we have a goal to reach, there are certain things the quest requires. We want to reach the goal so much this also feels like a need.
Need, however, is much simpler than the desires/requirements state of confusion. Desires and requirements are noisy little nuisances that clamor through our days distracting us here and there according to the conflicted hungers of the human body and soul. Need, on the other hand, is a quiet, persistent call to survival, not entertainment or achievement.
Human need can be expressed with a very short list of physical needs:
- Shelter, and
The spiritual life has an even simpler expression of need—Jesus:
- His grace,
- His truth,
- His Spirit,
- His presence,
- His power, and
- His church.
A Method to see the Difference
Prayer is a method for sorting out the confusion that sometimes exists when we deal with desires, task requirements, and real needs. The Lord has promised to meet all our needs. When we ask for something in prayer and it does not happen, it may be that that thing is just a desire and not really a need. When we are attempting to do what God has called us to do and that work requires things that we ask for in prayer but do not receive, this also may be an indication that those things may not be requirements after all. God will show other ways to do His work as He supplies what we really need. Of course there is a third possible explanation for not having what we need when we have prayed for it; perhaps it just isn’t God’s time yet. We hear it said that there are three answers to prayer: yes, no, and wait. There is much truth in this.
Two Sets of Needs
There are two sets of needs that should concern us:
- our needs and
- the needs of those we care about.
God has covenanted with us to supply all our needs. He also wants to use us to supply what others within our sphere of influence need.
- Bread winners in the home provide the human needs listed above for the rest of the family.
- The spiritual head of the family supplies regular access to Jesus so that spiritual needs can be met.
- The household of faith, the family of God must be our concern as well. Supporting the local church in offerings and service is one of the ways God uses us to meet the needs of others.
By exalting the name of Jesus with our worship, our work, and our witness, thereby touching a hurting humanity with the Good News about Jesus, we help meet the greatest need of others—a relationship with the Lord Jesus.
Matthew 6:6-8; 31-34
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Philemon 4:10-13; 19
I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
2 Corinthians 8:13-15
Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, as it is written: “He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little.”
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your promise to meet all my needs. As I delight in You, even the desires of my heart change into Your desires for me. You have promised me those as well. Help me to delight in You today! Change the desires of my heart to match the desires of Your heart. Cleanse me from selfish motives and ungodly desires. Let me echo Your great prayers: “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done,” here and now, just as it is in heaven. I will “seek first Your kingdom and righteous” and I know all me needs will be met. You are my sufficiency! Thank You, Lord! Amen.
Great Is Thy Faithfulness
Words: Thomas O. Chisholm; Music: William M. Runyan
1. “Great is thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changtest not, thy compassions, they fail not.
As Thou hast been Thou forever will be.
“Great is thy faithfulness!” “Great is thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided–
“Great is thy faithfulness!” Lord unto me!
2. Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above.
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
3. Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved