29th Mar, 2009

God, You Are All I Need?

David writes a beautiful Psalm in which he cries out to the Lord in this way:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23-24. This is his conclusion after reveling in the fact that God knows everything about him, knitting him together intricately in his mother’s womb, and designing him perfectly for wonderful works. David longs to have a pure heart before the Lord, a man whose devotion to God is undivided.

In 2 Corinthians, Paul writes that “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8. And to the Church at Philippi, Paul writes “God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19.

In other words God is all I need. God is all you need.

But as I pondered whether my life reflects that I truly believe this I began asking myself questions. I wanted to share those questions with you. I don’t mean to suggest any answers to you by asking the questions and I am not saying that any of the things about which I am asking are “wrong.” I asked myself these questions as I prayed that God would search my heart and see if there was any offensive way therein.

If God is all I need, then why do I have a house with so many rooms?

If God is all I need, why did I have so many cars?

If God is all I need, why do I have a closet full of clothes? In fact, why did my wife and I need two closets?

If God is all I need, why do I have the job that I have? Is my job the thing I was designed for, or do I do what I do so that I make money or so that I enjoy a certain status?

If God is all I need, why do I eat out as much as I do?

If God is all I need, why do I struggle to get out of my house and find ways to help other people?

If God is all I need, why do I spend so much time thinking about how I can get things I want?

If God is all I need, why don’t I spend more time praying?

If God is all I need, then why do I want a certain kind of TV? Shoot, why would i have more than one TV? Wait, why do I have a TV at all?

If God is all I need, why do I occupy so much of my time and money with meeting my own “needs” that I find it nearly impossible to give my time and money to meeting others’ needs?

If God is all I need, why do I feel slighted when others don’t compliment me? Why do I look for others to notice when I do something well or nice? Why do I talk about my accomplishments?

Do any of these questions strike a chord in you? What other kinds of questions might we ask?

Responses

I have been asking the same questions myself, only I have asked it in more of an extreme, I think.
If God is all I need, then why do I need food. Why do I need clothes. Why do I need a job. Anything. Along the same lines: if only God can satisfy me, why should I try to satisfy my hunger, my lack of sleep, my pain, etc?
I know these questions may seem rediculous, but what is the principal behind this? Any insight would be very much appreciated.

Peter, great questions. I’m not sure I have a perfect understanding or answer – He alone would, but I can say this. The same God who is all we need designed us to need certain things. He designed us to create energy by ingesting food and for our cells to continue to live when they are hydrated. He created us to need a certain level of warmth. There are ways He created us that put in us needs. Those needs are there as a reminder that all that we need comes from Him. He puts in us desires and needs to focus us back on the one Who provides all to meet those needs.

What do you think?

That’s a good point. So in essence, you are saying that God is all we need, and that this need is met both directly and indirectly? I guess the only thing I would ask in response is what our legitimate needs really are. You can say “I need a haircut” when it is only necessary if you are to look respectable. On the other hand, there is the need for water to stay alive; or even more, the need for Jesus’ forgiveness for salvation.
Here’s what I think: All of our needs are real needs, but some are more important than others. Maybe your “need” for several cars or separate closets is just a need for comfort (small though it may be). In Matthew 22:36-39, Jesus says “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Our two biggest needs are to love God and to love our neighbors, while the more frivolous aspects of life, though they still qualify as needs, fall on the much lower end of the spectrum. Maybe it is just a matter of priorities.
I’d like to know your thoughts on this.

I think our real needs are those needs that drive us to Him. If what we think we need drives us to seek something apart from God then it isn’t a “need.” We are likely just pursuing an idol in our lives.

In essence, if something distracts our focus from God or detracts from intimacy with Him then we are making an idol of it and not loving Him with all our hearts, souls and minds. We have fallen short of His glory.

I’m not so sure that it is priorities as much as Priority.

So God is all we need. And I agree that all our needs should cause us to seek Him. But if God is all we need, then why don’t we meditate on and seek after God Himself whenever we are hungry for food? We shouldn’t even seek food. Instead, we should seek God to satisfy our need, right?
Of course this doesn’t seem to make any sense, but I am trying to understand the correlation between our need for God and our need for food, clothing, money, etc. (If God is all we need, then it seems that our need for food is somehow just a manifestation of our need for God.)

GOD IS ALL WE NEED

I’ve been asking these questions this past year as well. If God is all I need, why am I dating guys and looking to get married. If God fills all our desires, why do I always feel like I need more stuff, more friends? When we sing “All I need is You…All I need is You, God,” I feel like I’m being a hypocrite. In that moment, I understand that God is all I truly need, but the moment I walk out the Church doors, I focus back on things of the world. If God is truly all I need, should people be getting married? I know this is an irrational question, but it just doesn’t make sense in my head..

I do think we have to come to a place, especially in our drive for relationship with someone of the opposite sex, where we can say “I am satisfied with God alone.” I think sometimes God brings us to that place where we can truly say that, and it is in that moment that He can then safely provide us with a spouse and meet the needs He placed in us for relationship. That is what happened for me before I meet my wife, Tara.

God truly created us for marriage and He says that marriage is a very good thing. But, if we are putting that need above our need for the Lord, then we are treading dangerous ground. No one person will ever be loving like God, faithful like God, or fulfilling like God, and as soon as we put all our trust in another human, we definitely will face the pain of loss and heart break.

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