WANTS AND NEEDS

© 2021 Bill Murphy

This is not ‘preaching to the choir.’  If anything, it’s preaching to the preacher.  Yours truly being the preacher in this case.  I need this message more than most!  This study has been real eye opener, and a heart convicter.  The subject is an ageless dilemma, as old as time itself.  If we’re honest, it’s an issue which lies at the very heart of our greatest victories and accomplishments.  It’s also at the root of our greatest mistakes and failures. 

Perhaps it would be wise to take a closer look at these all-important but small five-letter words, WANTS and NEEDS, and how they relate to our walk with God.

We all need God.  That’s a no-brainer!  The issue is – simple wants and needs are never a simple issue for us to grasp – to neither understand or to accept.

First, we should return to the basics, in an attempt to understand the meanings of the terms need and want

NEEDS:  The following is a short list of things we need.

  1. Water.  We must have water to survive!  A high percentage of our bodies are made up of water itself.  Without water, we become a dead, dry, shriveled corpse… like a mummy!
  2. Oxygen.  We must have oxygen to breath.  Otherwise we suffocate.
  3. Warmth.  We don’t have thick and furry flesh.  Our bodies (without clothing) are incapable of sustaining us in low temperatures. 
  4. Food.  We need nourishing food to sustain our bodies, to give it energy, to help it to grow and remain healthy.  Otherwise, we grow sick, weak, and die.  The key word here is ‘nourishing.’

These are of course the very basics.  Take any one of them away, and you’ll not have a long lifetime.  Now let’s look at this same list as viewed as wants.

WANTS: 

  1. Water.  Although most any water will do, we want Perrier, Evian, Glacéau, you know, the good stuff, pure and unfiltered, from some ancient un-polluted source, cold and delightful.  Ahhhh.  That’s GOOD! 
  2. Oxygen.  We buy air purifiers for our home and our offices.  They spew out purified air, washed free of impurities, and laced with the fresh scent of jungle flowers.  Wow!  We complain about, hey… what’s that stink?
  3. Warmth.  A coat?  No, not just any coat will do.  What’s popular this year?  What are our favorite movie and sports star wearing this year?  What’s ‘in’ and what’s ‘out’?  Do I look good in beige?   Let’s look on-line!
  4. Food.  Yes, I’m here to eat.  But that’s only a portion of the equation.  I want to be entertained, to be served, to be pampered with food-stuffs that delight and brings joy to my pallet.  Pigs eat.  I prefer to dine!  Dinner should satisfy more than simply my requirement for food.   

There’s most often a vast gap between needs and wants.  Needs usually determine what we are.  Wants often determine what we’ve become or are becoming.

We often compare our physical wants and needs when we’re faced with decisions in life and daily living.  That’s good!  That’s the way it should be.  But do we ever compare our spiritual wants to our spiritual needs?

When we realize there actually is such a thing as spiritual wants and spiritual needs, do we understand that the difference between the two has a tremendous impact upon our relationship to God? 

There’s an old hymn that’s seldom sung today that speaks of our need of God.

I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;

Every hour I need Thee;

Oh, bless me now, my Savior,

I come to Thee.

It was written in 1872 by Annie S. Hawks, and the words are as true today as they were then.  As Christians, we all agree that we need God! But what does ‘needing’ Him actually mean?  Don’t we believe that it means all of Him?  And by ‘all’ don’t we understand that to mean every bit of Him that we are capable of having?

God has a will.  And God also has a plan.  And His will and His plan reach down to us on a personal, one-on-one level!  Alone, we’re both hopeless and helpless.  And our hopelessness and helplessness means that we need Him, and we need to know His plan and His will for our lives.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, 

plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.   Jeremiah 29:11

God put a tremendous amount of trust in us!  Among the many wondrous things He’s given to us, He also gave us (allowed us) to have a will of our own.  Our will is a blessing, but we can turn it into a curse.  God elected to allow us to choose Him!  And although it’s obvious that we need Him… we fall victim to the power of the enemy and allow this miraculous gift of will to freely operate in the realm of wants.  God has wants also, and He wants us to join Him someday in Heaven.  But He’s allowed us to have a will like as unto His, and this will allows us to have wants, many which are dangerous, and even physically and spiritually fatal!

Jeremiah quoted God saying…  

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, 

plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

We need to allow God to have full reign in out lives.  He knows what’s best for us, and His best are far better than anything we could ever imagine!  And yet, he speaks and tells us that He has plans to give us hope and a future… and we stand and reply to Him that we’re using our ‘trump-card’ of will… and that we’d decided to do things our way… the way we want to!  WOW!  Been there.  Done that.  Lived to regret it!

I think we all understand that needs are important.  But do we also realize that wants are equally as important… because wants can be dangerous, damaging, and fatal!  This is true in the social, physical realm and especially true spiritually!

Prayer

Lord, I don’t know the answers.  But you do.  I don’t understand half of the what’s and few of the why’s. But you do. I can’t see what’s ahead, but you can.  I don’t know the way, but you do.  Lord, I can’t. But you can. I need Thee, oh, I need Thee; Every hour I need Thee. Oh bless me now my savior.  I come to Thee.  Amen

HE KNOWS

© 2019  Bill Murphy

Matthew 6:8 tells us… for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

What a wonderful truth!  It speaks volumes of the greatness and love of God.  Yet amazingly, I’ve heard it misquoted, and misunderstood.

Perhaps it would be best to discuss what this verse doesn’t say.

First of all… it doesn’t imply than its pointless to pray because God already knows.  Also, read this truth closely, and see what it says, as opposed to what you might think or wish that it says.

Pray is communion with God.  Prayer is the channel through which we (humanity) speaks with God (deity).  Prayer is also one of the principal times when God speaks to us, or should I say when we pause and listen to Him.  Prayer is spiritual face-time.  Prayer is a gift.  Prayer is a treasure.  Prayer is a blessing and a necessity.

I know that God is interested in all aspects of our lives, and He assuredly knows ever inch of our hearts, including all of our wants and desires.  Furthermore, He also knows which of our needs are most pressing.  And perhaps most important of all, He also knows which of our wants would not help us or be of any benefit to us.  God is the ultimate Good Father.  None can love and care for us as much as He does.  Therefore, His focus is on our needs, and not our wants. 

Many years ago I heard a simple story which best illustrates this truth.  Call it a modern-day parable.  Two friends were graduating high school together.  Both boys came from ‘financially comfortable’ homes.  Both boys had been promised an automobile upon graduation.

Both boys wanted red sports cars.  After much discussion in their respective homes, the father of boy A caved in to his son’s wishes and bought his son the sports car.  The father of boy B stood his ground, explaining to his disappointed son that he was not ready to handle the responsibility of a high powered vehicle… and bought his son a used compact. 

Within a week, the boy with the sports car was dead… crashing his sports car into a tree at high speed.

In retrospect, which father was wiser?  Which father demonstrated more genuine love and concern for his son?

As the scripture says… your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.  Wants and needs came be as different as life or death. 

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