“I need it!” Such a short and simple phrase, but left unchecked in can wreak havoc in our lives. My daughter is two and a half years old and just started saying “I need it!” I’m not even sure where she discovered this statement. In fact the first time she said it my wife and I looked at each other in amazement and said, “where did she learn that”. This is not a statement that is used around our house, except maybe on a rare occasion. God has blessed us and has been teaching us how to be content so this statement is not something that is said, yet our daughter said it.
Our desire for stuff seems to be an innate desire that we just have. It does not need to be taught to occur, we just have it and if we are not careful it can have us. When our daughter truly is in need of something her “need” which is really a want can quickly turn into a need. She is smart enough to recognize that something is missing, but may not realize what it is. If she is told “no” in one of these moments she will likely throw a fit. Has anyone else ever experienced this? If you have kids, then I know you have.
My daughter’s problem was not that she didn’t truly have a need, but that she had misidentified her need. In these moments it is important to properly identify what it is she is missing. When her true need is not met she may be appeased for a moment, but she will ultimately still be in need. The only way for her to be truly satisfied is to have her need met. For instance if she is tired she will likely feel a little better if we give her a snack, but she will still be tired. The only way for her to be satisfied is to have her need for sleep fulfilled.
Misidentified need has caused us to turn away from God and His desire for our lives. It has turned us toward our own desires and wants. The problem with this is just that same as what my daughter experiences. By seeking our own selfish needs we attempt to fulfill the need that God has placed within us for Him. When our true need is not met and is instead filled with something else we can never truly be satisfied or fulfilled.
Need Fulfilled in Christ
Some of our most basic physical needs are food and water, clothing, and shelter. With these things alone we could survive physically. We may not ever be fulfilled, but we could at least survive. An even more basic and essential need though lies in Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn. 14:6). If we are not truly following Christ then we can never truly be fulfilled. There will always be a basic need in our life without Him in our lives.
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.
Jesus is the only way to truly be fulfilled and content in life. Jesus said it like this, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly” (Jn. 10:10). When we follow the worlds understanding of happiness we will never be fulfilled, but if we follow God’s way through Jesus Christ we can have an abundant life.
Living a “good life” is possible outside of Christ. We can even have what the world considers an abundant life; a life that is filled with wealth and prestige, but it will still be lacking. When we follow Christ, though, we can have an abundant life, even without wealth or prestige. An old friend once criticized the “fake Christians” who put on a happy face and say that they are blessed even in hardship, but he missed the point. He had not truly experienced an abundant life yet.
In Christ we can truly know that we are blessed even when we are going through hard times. It takes a lifetime of following Christ and getting to know Him. The best part is that the longer you follow Christ and the more you get to know Him the better it gets. The ever allusive concept of abundance in the world can only be achieved in Christ.
Abundance in Christ, properly understood, allows us to be content in all situations (Phil. 4:9-13). Understanding who we are in Christ will cause us to live our life differently and to be more thankful and appreciative. It will cause us to focus on others more and ourselves less. It will cause us to gradually change our lives to reflect that of Christ’s.
But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pangs.
True wealth can only be obtained with our hearts properly turned toward Christ. Pursuing wealth has a tendency to turn us away from God as God warns us in His Word. “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Mt. 6:24). Our hearts and our minds must constantly be focused on God. How sad it is that in our pursuit of getting ahead in life and building wealth that many have turned away from God.
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Col. 3:1-2).
I Need It Concluded
In our lives we will constantly be in need and in search of that need if we are not following Christ. However, when we follow Him and learn to love Him our hearts begin to change. No longer will we be defined by what we own or by how much money we have. We will instead be defined by how brightly Christ shines through us.
With our minds and our hearts properly set on the things above we will learn to be more content. A natural overflow of learning to be content is having more money. When we are no longer chasing things to fulfill us we will have more money. Setting our hearts on God allows us to live within our means, to save money and build wealth. Most importantly it causes us to be outrageously generous with everything that God blesses us with.
Obtaining wealth without Christ is possible, but true wealth can only be achieved through Him. If you find that you are never content then I urge you to examine your life. Examine your motivation and examine your heart. If your heart is not properly set on Christ then figure out what needs to change. Remember that having an abundant life can only happen when we follow Christ with all of our hearts.