Charles Stanley - Discovering Our Real Needs
Do you have unmet needs in your life? Well, you're not alone because everywhere you turn, you're Well, you're not alone because everywhere you turn, you're gonna meet people who will say, "Yes, I do have unmet needs in my life". In fact, that's the story of all of humanity today. Well, you're not alone because everywhere you turn, you're gonna meet people who will say, "Yes, I do have unmet needs in my life". In fact, that's the story of all of humanity today. Well, let me ask you a question. Can you identify what those unmet needs are? Or is it something you just feel down inside and you can't quite tell what it is? And if you do have those unmet needs, and all of us do, how does that affect your relationship to other people? How does it affect your relationship to yourself? How does it affect your relationship to Almighty God? How are you going about meeting those unmet needs in your life?
Well, what I want to talk about in this passage and in this particular message in this entire series is simply this, and that is: God can meet those unmet needs in your life. He is the one who can meet them no matter what is going on. The problem is oftentimes we don't even know what they are, but we do have a God who can meet those unmet needs. And I want you to turn, if you will, to Philippians chapter four and verse nineteen, and you'll recall that the Apostle Paul is talking here about how God has blessed him, the things that he's learned. He's writing this from a prison, and he says he's learned to be content in all circumstances. He's learned that he can do all things through Christ. And he's learned also that God will supply all needs.
And so in this nineteenth verse, as he comes down to the latter part of this last chapter, here's what he says, "And my God shall supply all your needs," listen, "all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus". Now, that is a very simple promise. It's an awesome promise if you and I look at it. And there's a way that you and I have to claim those promises from God. So, what I'd like to talk about in this message is this, and that is discovering the real need. God can, listen, God can meet all of our unmet needs. But the issue is, do I understand what they are? How to discover those unmet needs.
So I want to begin this particular message by simply asking the question and talking about this facet of it, and that's this: How do we identify what these unmet needs are? If I don't identify them properly, then I won't even know whether God's answered them or not. If I don't know what those needs are, I won't know how to go about asking God to meet those needs.
Now, if you'll notice in this passage what he says. He says, "My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus". Well, there are two issues here that we have to deal with. Number one, we have to distinguish between needs and desires. If there is a need, the key word in need is something that is essential, something that is required in order for us to become the persons God wants us to be or to do the things God wants us to do, or to fulfill His particular plan and purpose and will for our life. So those things would fall in under the category of needs.
And then, of course, there's the whole idea of desires. Desire, the key word, is enjoyment. Something that God wants to provide for my life. There's nothing wrong with having desires because He says that if you and I obey Him, He says there'll be no want. God will provide not only the needs of our life but He'll also provide those desires that we have that fit into God's plan and purpose for our enjoyment and pleasure of life. If it is a need, certainly God has promised to meet those needs. And certainly, if it is a desire, I have a legitimate right to ask God, "Lord, here's what I would like to have or here's some form of enjoyment. Here's some pleasure I'd like to participate in," knowing that if it is unscriptural, God's not gonna answer that prayer. If it is unscriptural and God were to give it, that wouldn't be God being good. God is good, and because of His goodness, He gives us not only what we need but He also gives us what we desire when what we desire is good for us. He said there'll be no want to those who obey Him or who fear the Lord. And to fear Him means to obey Him.
And so, if I am committed to being obedient to Him, I can ask Him whatever I will, and I know that if I'm walking in obedience to Him, what I'm gonna ask will be His will. And if it is not, He will show me that it's not and He will show me what I do have the privilege of asking for. So, the first thing we have to do is distinguish between needs and those desires. The second thing we have to deal with here is this, and that is, we have to distinguish between what are surface or external needs and what are internal needs. That is, which needs in my life are internal and what are external?
Now, most people spend most of their time trying to deal with external needs, surface needs. For example, what we wear, what we drive, where we live, saving our money so our kids can go to college, automobiles, all those things that we need. All those very definite needs, and there's nothing wrong with those, and in fact, God certainly understands that. He said in that sixth chapter of Matthew in the Sermon on the Mount, He said, "Don't be anxious for all these things: food, clothing and shelter". He said, "Don't be anxious, don't strive for these because your Father knows what you have need of". And the Apostle Paul said here in this fourth chapter of Philippians that there was a time also when he had need and he was commending them. He said, for example, he said, "I know how to get along with humble means. I know how to get along with prosperity. In every circumstance. I've learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need".
So therefore, God understands that we have needs and He desires to meet those needs. Now, the issue is this: Am I only interested in God meeting my external needs, surface needs, these material and physical things that we talked about? Or am I equally as interested and do I realize that it may be that my true, genuine need is not something external, is not material, is not physical, but something internal? Maybe it is a spiritual need, some emotional need. I do believe that most people spend probably ninety-five percent of their time trying to deal with external needs, material needs, physical needs, never realizing that what is motivating the very desire for some physical or material need is a is a spiritual need, an emotional need, an internal need on the inside they never even thought about. And even if they thought about it, they'd probably be scared to death to even begin to consider it.
For example, maybe what's going on inside of you is a sense of rejection. And oftentimes people shut that down immediately. The very idea of looking on the inside to discover what's really motivating us, what's really driving us sometimes is a very frightening thing. And so therefore, they suppress it, they deny it, they get busy, whatever it might be, anything but deal with the true need on the inside that motivates them and drives them. Now, what I want to do is I want to talk about the three essential universal needs that every single person has, needs that God has placed into the life of every person. And underlying those three awesome needs that God has given all of us is an underlying foundational need.
So, what I'd like to do is to talk about these three needs. Remember what the Apostle Paul said? He said, "My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus". But if I don't know what they are, I won't even know how to pray about them. If I don't know what they are, I won't even ask about them. I'll be asking about things that are on the surface that appear to be our needs.
So I want to give you three words. The first word is belonging. God has placed in every single person a desire and a sense of belongingness. We all want to belong. God implanted that in the life of every one of us. And so you look, for example, in the very first book of the Bible when God created man and He created all the animals and all the creation and so forth, and everything that God had done, He said it's all good except one thing. Adam is alone. He needs somebody with whom he can belong to them and they can belong to him, someone who can speak his language, someone with whom he can be intimate, someone with whom he can feel oneness with. And so, what did God do? God gave him a woman, Eve. And so, you look at the whole creation, and from that point on, we see that God has given to Adam a person with whom he can belong.
And then you go down through the Scriptures and down through the centuries and what do you find? You find not only did He give Adam Eve, but He created the family. And so, we all belong to a family. We want to have this feeling of belonging to a family. Well, that wasn't enough. For example, we belong to a nation. And of course, most of all, we belong to the church, that is the Body of Christ. All of us who are believers, we belong to the most awesome organization, the most awesome entity there is, and that is the Body of Christ. Jesus Christ is the Lord of the Church. He's the head of the Church. Every single believer belongs to the Body of Christ.
Now, it has nothing to do with denominations, though you may choose to belong to a particular denomination. There's nothing wrong with that. But ultimately we belong to the Body of Christ. And if you'll think again also, the Bible says that you and I belong to the family of God. That is, we're all sons and daughters of the living God. So, this whole idea of belonging is very important to God. He's the one who's placed that desire in our heart that we belong. So, if I should say to you, "Name me one need that God has placed in everybody's life, universally it's there". What is it? Belonging.
The second need, now watch this, and that is: worthiness, that we have a sense of worth about us. And by that, I simply mean this. We can say, "You know, I'm good". Now, that does not mean I'm good enough to be saved within myself. It means I'm somebody worth knowing, you're somebody worth knowing. Your being somebody worth knowing does not have anything to do with anything else except that you're a person. You are a worthy person. And you see, when a person does not feel a sense of worth, they have all kinds of problems. When somebody rejects you, it is a slam not only against your sense of belonging but also against of your sense of self-worth because it says, "I must be a nobody. I must be a nobody or they would invite me in. I must not be worth anything".
And many, many people go through life never feeling that they are worth knowing, that they are worth loving. And oftentimes this is a reason, I know in my heart, the reason that oftentimes people will never be able to love or be loved is because they don't feel worthy of it. So what do they do? If you don't feel worthy, here's what you do. You start building up walls. And you build walls and build walls and build walls until finally, listen, not only can not anybody get in because you don't want them in. If they got in, they would find out how unworthy you are. And how inadequate you are, and therefore they wouldn't like you.
So you build a wall around you, you keep 'em out. But when you build that wall to keep them out, what are you also doing? You're building a wall around yourself to imprison yourself, to keep yourself in. You are a worthy person. You know how I know that? Here's what God says. He said we are, listen to this, we are His workmanship. God doesn't make any junk. We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works which He foreordained that you and I should walk in them. We are persons, listen, that word workmanship means persons of notable excellence.
You say, "Well, I've never felt that-a-way in my life". Has nothing to do with how you feel. It has to do with who God says you are. What you have to decide is: you gonna believe what God says about you, or you gonna believe what somebody says about you? And remember this, they change their opinion about you about every other day. People change their opinions. That's why when people say, "Well, you know, I'm just real concerned about what people think". Well, you can forget that or you'll never have any peace and happiness in your life because your sense of self-worth has nothing to do with that. Now, what is the first leg on this tripod of absolute essential needs in our life? What's the first one? Belonging. What's the second one? Worthiness.
And the third one is competence. That is, I can. God has given to every single one of us a sense of competence. Now, I can't do everything that other people can do. But He has given all of us, He desires that you and I succeed at whatever we do in life. And competence says, "You know, I can do that". God has given us a sense of, He wants us to feel, listen, adequate. Now, you say, "Well, now wait a minute now, didn't you preach a sermon on the blessings of inadequacy"? Absolutely correct, but I want you to notice something. The Apostle Paul said, "We are so inadequate, but in Christ Jesus, we're adequate". What did Paul say in Philippians chapter four verse thirteen? He said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". His sense of adequacy was not within himself but was because of his relationship to Christ.
And so, what did God do in order to make us sense and feel adequate? Here's what He did. You remember what He said to His disciples? He said, "Now, don't leave town until the Spirit of God has anointed you and filled you. Don't leave town without Him". And so they didn't, they waited until the Spirit of God anointed them, filled them up. And so, from that moment on, the Holy Spirit has come to dwell in every single believer. So, you say, "Well, now, isn't that sorta egotistical"? No. Listen to this carefully. When you trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, the Bible says not only are your sins are forgiven and you're brought back into a right relationship with God, but the Scripture says the Holy Spirit, one of the Persons of the Trinity, comes into your life and he says He seals you unto the day of redemption. He seals you as a child of God for that moment when God takes you home. He's living on the inside of us.
Now, if you will examine what the Bible teaches about the Holy Spirit, here's what you'll discover. I've said this before and I'm gonna keep on saying this, because it's so important. Every single work of the Holy Spirit, with no exception, is directed toward an area of our life where we have a need that we ourselves cannot fulfill. That's why He sent Him. Listen, He sent the Holy Spirit in order that you and I may become the persons God wants us to be and to be able to do the things that God wants us to do. Listen, He desires that you and I feel competent. When we say to someone, "You can't do that," what we're saying is, "You're not competent. I know God says you are but you're not".
Now, we all have to learn skills. We all have to practice. We all have to learn those things, but to say to somebody, "You can't," well, how do you know they can't? And it's interesting how many people keep breaking all kinds of athletic records. Someone ten years ago would have said, "You can't do that"! And somebody may say to a seventeen-year-old boy, "Well, you'll never be able to jump that high. Nobody's ever jumped that high". Just let him grow up. Let him practice, let him work at it. Listen, God has made you competent. He has made you capable. He has made you adequate to do, in Christ Jesus and through your relationship to Him, do well everything God will call you to do. You are adequate. You are competent.
Now, if you say, "You know, I feel so unworthy. I don't feel like I belong. I feel rejected, I feel unwanted, I feel shut out, I feel isolated, I feel all these things". And you see, you can take all these passages of Scripture, one after the other, one after the other, and look at all these passages and read 'em and read 'em and read 'em, but you know what? Until you discover that basic underlying need that's motivating you, challenging you, and driving you, you'll never have any peace. You'll always be looking for acceptance and always be looking for... you see, if you're living your life and you go to work in the morning and your antennas are out for some compliment because the way you look. You know what?
Suppose everybody's real busy and they don't pay any attention to you, is that gonna give you a bad day all day? Or suppose you don't do the best job possible one day, does that mean that you've failed? No. It may have meant you had a bad day that day. Everybody has difficult days, on days and off days, or on weeks and off weeks, whatever it might be. What I want you to see is this: our needs, our unmet needs are so often those things that are deep down inside of us that have nothing to do with appearance, performance, or status. It has nothing to do with what we wear or what people think about us. It has to do with our relationship to God.
Now, look at this. We have a need to belong, so what did He do? He sent His only begotten Son and saved us and made us one of His children, put His loving arms around us, and He says that you and I are gonna belong to Him forever and ever and ever. What can separate us from the love of God? He lists these things and, ultimate conclusion is nothing. So, my sense of belonging is wrapped up in an intimate relationship with Him, no matter what somebody else thinks. Somebody says, "Well, my sense of self-worth". Your sense of self-worth's wrapped up in a relationship to Him. You see, this is why He sent Jesus Christ to the cross. Listen, the greatest expression in the whole world, time and eternity, of your worth is the cross, the crucifixion of Jesus. That says you're worth everything to God. Don't deprive Him of yourself. Your sense of competence, He sent the Holy Spirit to enable you to do anything and everything that the will of God desires for you to do and plans for you to do and purposes for you to do.
So watch this. If my emotional health is wrapped up in my sense of... number one is what? Belonging. Number two is what? Worthiness. Number three is what? Competence. All of that rests on an eternal foundation, and what is that? Almighty God. You see, it all rests upon a relationship with Him. If you have an intimate relationship with Him, you know what? What somebody thinks about you is gonna last about that long. Whether you blow it at some particular area or not, that's not gonna... you know what? I'll do better tomorrow. And whether you have people's approval has nothing to do with your worth. I want you to remember this. Your sense of self-worth, your, listen, your sense of belonging, and your sense of competence, listen to this carefully, is wrapped up in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
So therefore, if I want to be a whole person, if I want to be an emotionally and spiritually whole person, what am I going to do? I am going to, first of all, trust the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior. That means that I'm going to accept what God says about Him, that He's the Son of God who came into this world to die on a cross, and He took my sin-debt in full and paid it in full, made me very, very worthy when He did that. And the moment I receive Him as my personal Savior, I become a child of God. And then what happens? My sense of worth and my sense of belonging and my sense of competence is, listen, is now related to a person who will never disappoint me, who will, listen, who will never cast me out, who will never think I'm unworthy, and who will never make me incompetent. Why? Because He's a loving God who wants the best and has provided the best for us.
Now, let me ask you a question. On the basis of all of this, what is the deepest need you have in your life? If you've never trusted Jesus, your deepest need is a personal relationship with Him through Christ. That's the first need. If you are a child of God and you've thought about the surface and external needs that you have, but you've also begun to think this morning about those internal, those things down inside that have bothered you for a long time and maybe you just didn't even want to deal with them, you didn't want to face them. What is the, listen, what is the most troubling unmet need in your life right now? Are you willing to look? Are you willing to open it up and say, "God, show me. What is this need in my life? Why do I feel what I feel? Why do I feel so hurt? Why do I feel so shut out? Why do I feel such pain? Why am I so driven"? He'll show you.
You say, "Well, if I just confess that, is it over"? No. Now, listen very carefully. You see, feelings and attitudes that we've had for years and years and years and years and years, just because you recognize it, you open up and recognize it, doesn't mean that you're healed. The healing process begins when you say, "God, I've felt rejected all of my life, but I realize today that You've accepted me. You accepted me because of my relationship to Christ". King James version is best on this. It says, "Accepted in the beloved". Why are you and I accepted before God? Because of our relationship to Him. That's why we're accepted.
I just want to challenge you to be willing to examine your heart, your emotions, your feelings to find out what's the real need? And remember this: our Heavenly Father is going to meet that need. He's gonna show you how to think right about who you are and how He wants to operate in your life. And you know what? You're gonna get free, you're gonna get liberated. You're gonna begin to be able to look anybody square in the face and know in your heart, listen, I am somebody important in the eyes of God. I am competent to do whatever God wants me to do. And most of all, I belong to my Heavenly Father. You know what, friend, you will get set free for the asking. You will get set free. And so, that's what I want to pray for you right now.
Father, in Jesus's name, I pray the Holy Spirit will take this simple message, drive it home to the heart of every person who has heard it and who will hear it, that You will grant courage to every single person to look inside, examine, allow You to show them what those needs are, and then assure them You will meet those needs. You will set them free. They will become the persons You ordained them to be. For we ask it in Jesus's name and for His sake, amen.