Charles Stanley - The Origin of Our Needs
God has an answer for all of our unmet needs. If they are material needs, He has a material answer. If they are physical needs, He has a physical answer. If they are emotional needs, He has an emotional answer. And if they're spiritual needs, He has a spiritual answer. God will not meet emotional needs with material answers. He's not going to meet spiritual needs with some physical answer. God wants us to become whole persons, and therefore He wants us to discover what our need is. He wants us to understand where this need came from. He wants to make us whole persons. And therefore, we begin with a foundational truth, and that is that Jesus Christ is our Savior.
So that the first basic foundational truth of ever finding out what our needs are and having them met is trusting Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. Then, upon that foundation, there are built three other universal needs that every single person in their life, no matter who they are, we all need to feel this: a sense of belonging, a sense of worth, and a sense of competence, that we're capable of doing whatever God wants us to do. And God has so wondrously arranged our relationship with Him so that, because we are His children and He is our Father, we know that we belong to Him. We have a sense of belonging. When it comes to our worth, because Jesus Christ went to the cross and laid down His life for us and paid our sin-debt in full, we know that we have a sense of worth.
And because He sent the Holy Spirit to live on the inside of us and to enable us to do the things that He would have us to do and to fulfill His will and purpose for our life, we know that we're competent. But deep down beneath all of those things, oftentimes there are those deep hurts and pains, and we don't always understand why we think the way we think and how we feel and why we feel the way we do. Well, what I want to talk about in this message is the origin of our needs. This morning, seven o'clock, or a little after seven o'clock, I received a phone call from a friend of mine who was telling me about one of their friends. Committed suicide. The reason for that suicide was because of deep, deep, deep debt. At least that was the surface reason for doing so. So the person saw fit to take their life.
Now, what was the real underlying cause of that? Was it because of something financial, or was it because something much deeper than that, like the possibility of not being able to accept the rejection that might come because of some indebtedness? Was it because of that feeling of incompetence that was so strong that they did not feel like they were capable of doing the things in life in providing for their family? Was it because of a sense of insecurity that was built on something deep down inside other than simply finances? What we need to do is to find out why. What is it deep down inside of us that causes us to have these needs? And oftentimes, what we think is the need is not the real need at all.
So here's what I'd like to do. In this message, I want to talk about the source, the origin of our needs. And what I'd like to do also is to give you someone in the Scripture who would relate to that need and then personally to explain how these things come about in our life and how they can be met. So I want you to turn, if you will, to, first of all, to Philippians chapter four and the nineteenth verse to remind you again of this awesome promise that our Lord has made. When He said in the nineteenth verse of Philippians chapter four, Paul said, "My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus". Which was His way of promising to us that, on the basis of our relationship to Him, He would make every single need that we have, He would make it available.
Now, the problem is this: if I don't understand what the real need is and I go about trying to meet that need in a way that is not the real need, it's not going to be met. And so, what happens is, this is the reason that people try to accumulate, try to possess, try to surround themselves oftentimes with some form of status or relationships that make them feel better, because they're looking for some substitute. They're dealing with the symptom of the real issue that causes them to feel very needy in their life. Now, I want to say also, I want to say to every young person here, every young boy, young girl, whether you are six or whether you are sixteen, every adult, every granddaddy. This message applies to every single one of us, and I want to say especially to young people and to children, I want you to listen carefully because what I'm gonna say today, you're going to understand, and all the rest of your life you need to remember what you hear today. What is the source of these needs in our life?
Well, certainly one of the primary sources of these needs in our life, as you think about them in your own life. Now, remember we want to get under the surface. We all know that we have such needs as food, clothing, and shelter, and that we have those common needs that everybody has in life. We understand that. So we're gonna go beyond those because you can satisfy those with a little bit of money here and a little bit of money there. But what are those issues in life that cause us to have difficulty ever having any peace and joy? Because there are people who have every material thing, all the recognition, all the prominence, all the prestige. They have all the notoriety. They have anything in the world they could possibly own, possibly purchase, possibly enjoy, and they're still, deep down inside, there is a level of misery they cannot understand and cannot handle.
Well, the first source of these needs, look at it this way. The first source of those needs we create for ourselves. And I want us to turn, if you will, to Luke chapter fifteen for a moment and let's look at it, the example of one who created his own need. No question about his need. The fifteenth chapter of Luke, you'll recall, has to do with those things that get lost in life. And you'll recall that Jesus gave these parables of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, then the son. I want you to notice, if you will, that this son asked His father to give him his portion of the possessions and so the Bible says here's what happened once he gave it to him.
Verse thirteen, "Not many days after, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey to a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. Now, when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in this land, in the country, and he began to be in need. And he went and attached himself to one of the citizens of that country, and he went into the fields to feed swine. And he was longing to fill his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, no one was giving anything to him. But when he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have more than enough food or bread, but I'm dying here with hunger! I'll get up and go to my father, and say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight".'"
Now, let's look at it this way for a moment. Here's a young man who's suddenly found himself in need. In fact, he needs those basic things in life because now he is out here with the hogs. Worthless, incompetent, not belonging, certainly feeling rejected, insecure, and more than likely criticized and certainly left by his friends. You see, sometimes we have needs that we create ourselves. You see, the reason he's in the hog pen when he could have been on his father's area, maybe some great plantation of some sort, he swapped places with his wealth and his position and his prosperity and his comfort and his convenience for a hog pen.
You know why he did it? He made some wrong decisions in life. You know why oftentimes we have needs in our life? Because we create our own needs by disobedience, by rebellion, by misinterpreting what's going on around us, by blaming others, by accusing, by lust and desire and covetousness, or whatever it might be. We make wrong decisions in life, and you know what? When you make wrong decisions in life, you suffer the consequences in life. We live in a society today that nobody wants to face up to consequences. We just want to say, "Well, you know, I did it, please forgive me," and move on in life. But you know, the Bible says whatever we sow, we'll reap what we sow, more than we sow, later than we sow. And so therefore, what we have here is we have needs that are so deep, needs that are much deeper than food, clothing, and shelter, something that motivated him, something that caused him to leave and to leave the best and to take less than the best. He made some very wrong decisions.
Secondly, I want you to notice a second way we discover these needs in our life, and that's this. And that is, there are needs in our life that are created by others. Some time ago, we were in one of our In Touch rallies, and I always stand around a little while afterwards to greet people because I don't want to just get up and preach and walk away. And there are lots and lots of people come by and shake hands and say thank you to the program and so forth. On one occasion, this lady grabbed my hand so tight, could not break away. She had this note. She said, "Would you please read this". And I knew by her sense of desperation, yes, I would! And I always take those notes and I read every single one of them. Usually read 'em on a plane coming home, read every single one of them.
I read this note, and here's what it said, "I feel hopeless and there's no purpose for my life. I'm angry at God that I was born. But I choose to believe the things you said this evening, that I can have a life that's worth living. Suicide and hell would be worse". And then she just added this. "Age: twenty-four. Adult child, alcoholic father. Mother mentally ill and hospitalized most of my life. Physically and sexually abused". Now, think about this. Twenty-four years of age, hates God because of her circumstance. What are her needs? What's the source of her needs? She didn't do that to herself. She didn't choose a mentally ill mother. She didn't choose an alcoholic father. She didn't choose to be sexually and, more than likely, also verbally as well as she said physically abused by her father or maybe someone else.
You know what happened to her? Her emotions were deeply, tragically marred and damaged. And those emotions set like memory points in her mind. And no matter what she did and where she went and with whom she was and whatever her job or her relationships, what was ever growing and living and surfacing within her? Hatred of God, worthless, incompetent, belonging. Why would anybody want to belong to her because she'd been sexually and physically abused?
You see, there are so many people out there and so many people today who are adults, who've never been willing to admit the fact that they have been sexually abused because they're so ashamed. And they try to live with these hurts, live with this pain, live with this trauma on the inside, thinking that somehow, someday I'll grow out of it. No you won't, because you see, these hurts are so deep. They have become a part of your memory, your unconscious and your subconscious mind, they're all there. Everything you and I've ever felt, everything we've ever seen, everything we've ever heard, it's all there.
This is why you can be driving down the expressway or you can be on your knees praying or you can be somewhere doing something else and some thought about something that happened forty years ago or twenty years ago or ten days ago or somebody you haven't even thought about in years and years and years, their name comes to your mind or you think about this incident. Where did it come from? It's all right here. This is why you do not outgrow it. It's all a part of your thinking. And you see, there are deep hurts, deep pain that oftentimes we do not ask for. I think about all these children who grow up in broken homes, homes that are so hurtful and so full of pain. They don't ask for that. These are needs that are created by other people in their lives.
Well, there's another source of needs in our life, and this is one that most people don't think about, and that is the needs that God creates in our life. We say, "Now, wait a minute. Aren't we talking about God meeting needs, not creating needs"? I am, because God will indeed meet every single possible need that we have as children of God. And let me just say, I'm not saying that He'll meet every single one of your needs if you're not a believer, if you're not a follower of Jesus. There's no promise that... "My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus". That is, on the basis of your relationship to Him.
Does He want to meet your needs? Yes. Trust Him as your personal Savior, God begins to meet your needs. But what about those needs that God creates? Well, let's say that here's a young man who's thirty-six years of age, has three children, lovely wife, and he's been doing real well in his job, and so they've just moved into this beautiful new home and got their furniture and everybody's happy and they're in the right neighborhood for the schools and everybody's just fantastic. He comes home one day and he says to his wife, "Honey, God's calling me to preach". "He's doing what"? "God's calling me to preach". "Well, what does that mean"? "It means I'm gonna have to go to seminary". "Well, what does that mean"? "Well, I guess it means we're gonna have to move". "You mean sell this house"? "Yes". "What are the kids gonna think"? "We're gonna have to explain that to 'em".
And so, it's like dominoes. All of a sudden, God has created a whole series of needs in this young man's life: his need to help his wife to explain his call of God, his need to explain to his children they'll have to leave their security and their friends and their school. He has a need to sell his house and certainly get enough money to be able to put down another house. He has a need to be accepted in school. He has a need to find him another place to live. And more than likely, it'll end up being an apartment somewhere rather than a home or a house like he's had. A need to get a job to be able to meet the needs of his family while he's going to school. A need to sorta refresh himself, being able to now go back at 36 and learn Hebrew and Greek. He's got a whole bunch of needs, not one single one did he choose. He didn't choose to leave his job. He didn't choose to sell his house. He didn't choose to explain this to his family. He didn't choose any of those things. All these things God chose for him.
Well, what will God do? He will meet every single one of those needs because Almighty God is absolutely, totally committed to meeting every single need He creates in our life. Now, I could name you men that I know personally. There are thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of godly men out there in heaven who've passed on, who've gone through the very same thing that I just described. There are needs that God creates in our life in order to accomplish His purpose and His plan for our life. So let me just say this. Oftentimes when you and I go through some difficulty or hardship, looks like, my God, listen, Lord, You could have stopped that. This did not have to happen.
Sometimes God, listen, allows circumstances and situations in your life and my life. Sometimes it's things that He creates, sometimes it's things that He allows to happen in your life and my life and we think, "God, you could have stopped it". Absolutely. I believe He's absolutely, totally sovereign. He can stop anything, start anything He chooses. He is in absolute, final, ultimate control of every single thing. Therefore, whatever pain, whatever heartache, whatever disappointment, whatever hardship, whatever hurt, whatever rejection, whatever criticism, whatever persecution, all these things that allowed into our life and come into our life. We can respond in one of two ways. We can blame God, we can blame others, we can be forgiving or unforgiving. We can sulk in our hurts and in our rejection and in our pain. Or, we can look to God and ask the question: God, what is Your goal for my life in allowing this need to be in my life at this point? What is Your purpose for allowing this need, allowing this hurt, allowing this pain in my life?
And if you and I are wise and we develop our relationship with Him, God will take us through those difficult times. And what will he do? He will be preparing you and me to be wise, godly, helpful, encouraging vessels to other people who are going through the same thing, and we will understand it better because we have been there. God creates some needs in order to accomplish His purpose and His plan and His purpose in our life. Well, there's one other area of needs that I want to talk about here. And this one is a little more personal, and probably sometimes a little more painful.
Somebody asked me last week in the first message, they said, "Well, now, are these messages gonna become more and more painful"? Well, probably not more painful in one way, but in the other way, yes, maybe so. I want to talk about, listen, I want to talk about the needs we inherit from our childhood. Well, when you think about your own childhood and think about things that you grew up with and you say, "Well, you know, my parents did this and my parents did that, and I don't have any hurts, and I didn't get any needs from my parents".
Well, let me just say this: if you cram it and you jam it and you stuff it and you ignore it and you deny it, until you come to grips with things back there, it may have been something that your parents did that they didn't even realize at the time how they were damaging you. They may have thought they were motivating you when they said, "Look, you know what? You're not gonna amount to anything. Get out there and get yourself a job and get with it". It may have been that your father may have thought that he was motivating you. But in your child mind, in your teenage mind, what you said was, "They don't want me. They don't want me. They want me to get out of here. I'm a burden to them. I'm costing them money".
You see, what we don't realize, oftentimes, is how a child hears what a parent says, how a child interprets what that parent says. And oftentimes children grow up, young people, and they find these deep, abiding needs. They hurt. They don't know why they hurt. They're hungry for something that they can't quite identify. And so, they get into drugs. They get into alcohol. They want acceptance. They find themselves puffing cigarettes. They want peer approval. They want to be accepted at any price. They don't understand what the real need is. The real need is not approval from their peers. The real need certainly is not a drink. The real need certainly is not some sexual relationship. The real need is a sense of intimacy with Almighty God, a sense of belonging that they could trace back to their parents, to feel accepted by their parents.
And you see, what we don't realize is this, that children early in life, they are so pliable that sometimes just a catty remark lodged in their mind, in their memory, it's there, and you know what? We all have our tape players. And those tapes go on and on and on. What makes a tape player start? What makes a tape player start in a person's mind is that some incident that sounds like, it can be distant sound-like or something that reminds us of, something that we hear, something that we see that has, listen, it may be a thousand miles away from the original time we heard it, but when we hear it, it triggers us because we are emotionally damaged. And so, we all have a self-image. And that self-image, that self-concept is the way we see ourselves and I want to say again: you and I are gonna act out and live out the way we see ourselves.
What's the real need? What happened back yonder that makes me feel these feelings I feel? Why do I hurt? Why do I feel rejected when no one's rejecting me? Why do I treat relationships the way I treat them when people try to do their best for me, and somehow I can't accept it? You see, when we get handed down those hand-me-down emotions and those hand-me-down needs, they're not easy to deal with. None of us like to talk about ourselves and we certainly don't like to talk about our personal life. I would simply say this. God certainly has a purpose for allowing these things in our life. And if we respond properly, He'll turn 'em for something good.
I had a wonderful, wonderful godly mother who loved me with all of her heart, do anything in the world for me, and did everything in the world she could. I had a step-father who was absolutely totally opposite, who did not know how to love because he got damaged as a child. And he took his damaged emotions and all of his needs into this marriage, and he had to express them on somebody, and so he vented them on us. Did it damage me? Yes, it did. Did it hurt me? Yes, it did. Have I got memories? Yes, I have. Do I have hurts back there if I go back and relive them? For the most part, they've been healed, but if you ask me: Are you absolutely, totally, completely healed? More than likely I'd have to say no.
You say, "Well, why do you tell us that about yourself"? Because I want you to be honest enough to tell somebody about yourself. I don't like telling about myself. I can tell you this. God can heal any damaged emotion you have experienced. He can heal any need that you have, but only if you're willing to deal with it. And I can tell you that no matter who you are and where you are, God will heal you. He will enable you. You say, "Well, how long will it take"? I don't know. I can tell you how to get started. Here's how you get started. You start by acknowledging that there are needs beyond these surface things that you've been dealing with. You acknowledge them and determine in your heart, God, I want these needs met in my life. I want to become that whole person You want me to be. I want to experience that joy. I want to experience that peace. I want to experience what You promised in Your Word that I've never experienced. God, that's what I want.
You've got to be determined to deal with that, be determined to open yourself up, be determined to allow God to deal with your life as it is, be allowed, listen, allow someone else to look on the inside of you and help you understand what's really there. And you know what? If you will allow God to heal you, you'll become a whole person. You'll be able to relate to people. You'll be able to feel accepted. You'll be able to feel loved. You'll be able to be the kind of godly husband and the godly mother and the godly father, the godly grandparent. God will do the most amazing things in your life.
You know what Jesus said? He said, "When you know the truth, the truth will set you free". Where does that start? The truth about Him. Does it end there? No. I also need to know the truth about myself so He can also free me of damaged emotions, free me of these memories that will keep haunting me unless I am freed of them by being healed of them. And I simply want to challenge you to take a good look on the inside, remembering that God loves you. He'll make you a whole person, but you gotta let Him do it His way. It may be the most painful experience of your life, but you know what? It's in the valley that gets me ready to walk on the mountaintop. Your God, Jehovah God of the Bible, is on your side. And he'll set you free if you'll let Him do it by His wonderful grace.