June 25, 2010
Wants and Needs: The Difference
(By Pastor Charles Stanley)
Sometimes people perceive a desire as a necessity. The heart can become so consumed with a craving that fulfilling it feels critical to well-being. Then, when God does not meet the “need,” anger and frustration result.
Believers wondering why they have been neglected should honestly answer one question: “Is my petition essential to accomplishing God’s purpose, or is it only for my enjoyment?” Beyond basics like food and shelter, necessities might include counseling for a troubled marriage or money for a mission trip. If we can’t complete the Lord’s plan without something, then it is a need, and He will answer when we pray for Him to fulfill that requirement (Phil. 4:19).
God is also pleased to satisfy desires that fit within the confines of His purpose and will (Ps. 37:4). The things we long for bring pleasure, entertainment, or a sense of joy. Many are good and worth pursuing, but they become troublesome when we deem them essential for our plans. God isn’t obligated to grant wishes or fulfill any plans but His own. However, He says that those who seek Him won’t lack any good thing (34:10). Pursuing the Lord above all else means making our desires subject to His will. And when we “delight in the Lord” (37:4), He’ll also shape our desires to be most beneficial.
The heavenly Father wants to be His children’s greatest delight—the One in whom fulfillment and satisfaction are found. When that is true in a believer’s life, then he or she does not require a lot of “stuff,” entertainment, or people in order to be happy. Joy is in the Lord.
This article really touched my heart, and I just had to comment as well as share it.
If we are really honest with ourselves, many of our petitions to God need an overhaul. In the past, I had prayed that the married man of my dreams would leave his wife, and marry me instead. I prayed for jobs that were not fitting for me; vocations that would prove to be a waste of my time and money. I prayed for a house on the West side, when God willed that I live on the East side. In fact, I spent much too much time in prayer not really knowing what was best for me at all. Thank God for the intercessions of the Holy Spirit. For we often pray amiss:
“In the same way, the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings, too deep for words.”
Recognizing the difference between our “wants” and “needs,” should be a standard for everyday living. I am learning to apply this principle even when I shop for groceries. When I put my groceries on the conveyor belt, determine something is a “want,” I inform the cashier that I changed my mind. Unfortunately, many people will keep the unnecessary “want” to save face. They are more concerned about what the other people in line will think, “She doesn’t have enough money” – rather than not go over their budget.
In America, many Christians seek personal enjoyment, and use God’s financial provisions for their “wants.” We are privileged to enjoy most things of the world, but we should not love things above God. I never had a problem with materialism, and giving back to the Kingdom of God is not an issue for me. For I understand – finally – “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” (Psalm 24:1)
The desires that are not God’s will for our lives are the ones that get us into trouble. Many times I thought a particular relationship would be in my best interest. I didn’t ask my heavenly Father what He thought about my decisions – I made them on my own. Unfortunately, they often proved very costly. I never asked God for a mate that would be of His choosing, and a union that would bring Him honor and glory. There have been relationships that I did not “need,” and those that I needed, I did not “want.”
I have gone astray; yet my Father through many trials and suffering brought me back home. My wilderness experience has taught me a lot about myself, and my walk with God. As Pastor Stanley states, God is “the One in whom fulfillment and satisfaction are found.” I have searched for both in other people, and in things of the world. I can honestly say that I have found real joy in my life. I may go through difficult trials, and various hardships at times, however, I understand now what “the joy of the Lord” means.
Everything in my life isn’t the way my finite mind would like it to be. But things are exactly the way God intended for them to be. I am taking baby steps with my writing career, and I see the road clearer now. Once I found my place in Christ, and my calling became clearer, then I found inner peace. I no longer look outside of myself for the joy, peace, happiness, and satisfaction that once eluded me. All I require now is that when I awake each day, my God, and my Savior are still with me.
You can find more devotions by Pastor Charles Stanley at this link:
“Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!”
- The Model Prayer: Our Daily Bread (anointedplace.wordpress.com)
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