Needs and Wants 101
“Do not love the world or anything in the world,” warns John. “If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.” (1 John 2:15-16). John is not here speaking of the natural world. Indeed, all creation reflects, even shouts out the Creator’s glory:
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (Psalm 19:1)
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Rom. 1:20).
John is referring to the man-made world system — it’s values, distractions, goals and fame. All things which feed the flesh and sap the spirit. Things which replace the love of God with the love of goods.
This world system works to confuse our thinking, to deceive us. Indeed its advertising industry alone has succeeded much in muddling our minds. Many have now forgotten what a true “need” really is. A need is something essential for physical life, social life, spiritual life or psychological well-being: e.g. air, water, food and shelter; friendships, family and community; prayer, truth, love and purpose. Without these an individual will develop improperly and potentially even die.
A “want,” however is a desire, a wish for something more. A desire is unnecessary but pampering to the flesh. Everyone needs food, but no one needs desserts… or condiments… or fine china. Everyone needs clothing, but no one needs high fashion, make-up, or perfumes. None of these things are necessarily sinful, they are just not “needs.” They are desires… extras… add-ons… blessings perhaps, but if they distract us from the true needs of our neighbour we are not acting in Agapé, and Christ is not pleased.
There are people in your community who lack what is essential. They are not dreaming of hatchet throwing classes [see yesterday’s blog], but of bread on the table, friendships nearby, acceptance, purpose and hope.
The true Biblical fast involves acting to meet these needs. It involves laying down your latte and buying milk for the soup kitchen, it involves laying down your cell phone selfie time and giving that hour in face-to-face communication with someone who is hurting, it means swapping playing for praying, getting for giving, and hoarding for helping.
The true Biblical fast is not simply serving self while experiencing hunger, it is looking outward instead of inward, upward instead of downward, and doing something as result of what you see. It is in surrendering yourself to God as His Ambassador to bring Christ to bear upon the true physical and spiritual needs of a world gone adrift.
“Find out what pleases the Lord,” writes Paul (Eph. 5:10). Then go… do it. Remember too what Christ has said, “…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matt. 25:40).
You can link to the message “Spiritual Awakening And Showing Gods Mercy” by Carter Conlon” HERE.