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What We Want and What We Need

Have you ever daydreamed about designing your own life? If we could create a life for ourselves, creature comforts would undoubtedly top the list. Perfect weather, breath-taking scenery, pain-free and forever youthful bodies, good looks, superior intelligence, boundless wealth and secure, rewarding relationships would all be prized commodities. The most delicious food, from steak and potatoes to chicken and dumplings, from banana pudding to turtle pie or honey-soaked baklava would be cholesterol, calorie and fat free. 

If we could, we would surround ourselves with delightful, sensitive people who would constantly entertain us with a bevy of really funny jokes, would never bore us and would always hold us in highest esteem. We would plan excitement-packed vacations, fly to exotic and romantic tropical islands. We would indulge ourselves in endless golf, tennis or whatever sport we liked. We would leave the house in the morning without turning a hand, and return home to a spick-and-span dwelling, smelling of potpourri and lemon-freshness. 

We would win every race, pass every test, hit a home run every time we stepped up to the plate and clear every high hurdle. Trophies would line our shelves and our names would be on the lips of news reporters and media personalities. Gold-leafed invitations would overflow our mailboxes to attend gala events and hobnob with celebrities. Think I ought to stop?  Oh, come on, I haven’t even got to the mansions, clothes, cars and boats yet. And what about the kids? Just think of the kind of kids we would have if we—okay, I’ll stop.  All pleasure, no pain. All rights, no responsibilities. All getting, no giving. Given the choice, most people would go with what feels good and wouldn’t cause any problems. I find it absolutely amazing that, even though this entire idea is ludicrous, many people still assume they have the right to these things. When they can’t get them, they pine, moan, throw tantrums, get mad at God or plunge into depression. 

Most wants grow out of imagining how something will make us feel. Needs, on the other hand, come from the conviction of what something will make us become. The things we want are seldom needed, and their acquisition often paves the way to spiritual poverty. John wrote, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world— the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does— comes not from the Father but from the world.” I John 2:15-16. (NIV).   The world would be a lop-sided place had we the power to design our own lives. Who would choose fiery trials, lion’s dens, prison houses or beds of affliction?  Thus, there would be no perfecting, no tempering, no seasoning nor proving. True spirituality would vanish. 

The other amazing fact is that God has a way of meeting our wants when we ask for our needs. Afflicted saints discover sufficient grace. Financially challenged Christians live like spiritual millionaires. Stressed out believers enjoy a peace which passes all understanding. Lonely pilgrims find themselves accompanied by a precious Friend.  “Now godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6.  

Next time your wants get out of hand, lay them down, go to Jesus and ask Him for your daily bread. His bread and His water will become a banquet feast for you.

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