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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Does God meet all of our needs?

Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.
1 Corinthians 4:15

Most of us who are good Christians and were raised in good Christian homes and went to good Christian churches were taught that God can and does meet all of our needs. Particularly our spiritual and emotional needs. I want to take this post as an opportunity to question that.

From the moment of conception we rely on others to fulfill us. When we are born we require feeding. As babies we are helpless and if we don't get someone to feed us we die quite quickly. In fact, if we don't have the right kinds of food in the right amounts it will negatively affect our brain developments. This is clear enough in a physical sense, but it is also true in an emotional sense. If we are not touched and loved as babies it will negatively affect not only our physical but our emotional development. And this is true at all stages of development: We rely on father, mother and friends to provide affirmation, love, security, and a host of other things necessary for us to develop normally. In the absence of these things we become scarred and develop disorders and coping mechanisms.

Ok, so we are on the same page so far. But then what if we carry this over into the spiritual world. Can we say the same kinds of things? Do we need spiritual fathers/mothers/friends for spiritual fulfillment and maturity in the same way that we need them for healthy physical growth? I think we are sometimes under the impression that God is all we need when it comes to our spiritual growth. But is this really the case? Or do we, perhaps, need the church community in the same way that a baby needs milk? Is it a matter of spiritual survival?

I won't bore you with my personal, spiritual sob stories....well, ok, maybe just one! During a period of my life I was isolated from serious and genuine accountability. This led to a serious fall into sexual sin. I lacked someone(s) in my life to regularly probe into my situation and clearly define the lines and boundaries - to directly state the rights and wrongs of my situation - someone(s) to look into my life and speak truth. Without it I died. I died in a very figurative sense, of course, but I think the damage was certainly as real and frightening as a baby deprived of nourishment. And I think I could relate many other similar experiences.

Do believers need other believers for the survival of their spiritual souls? Does life depend upon it? Is there really that much at stake???

For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children...
1 Thessalonians 2:11

1 comment:

Melody said...

Paul writes that we cannot survive without the church and that the church is impared without us as a part.

Comparing the church to a body he asks if a hand can decide to leave and if it could convice the body to cut it off, would the hand have any ability to function?

Perhaps for a moment or two...chickens do run around without their heads and reportedly decapitated persons still moved their mouth and eyes for a few minutes afterwards.

In the same way I am sure that a person who isolates themselves (or is isolated against their will) may appear to function for a short while, but without the rest of the body none of us really last.

Likewise, when we, as hands or feet or toenails are seperated from the body, the body is injured and is left to limp along without us.

Yes, God provides all of our needs for us, but that is very different than God being the only thing that we need. God provides us with food, but would we reject a sandwich and say “No, all I need is God”?
Yeah, no...eating God seems a little irreverant as well as impossible (unless you’re Catholic)...God is not physical nourishment, but he does provide us with it.
Likewise, God is not human companionship/accountability, but he does provide us with it.
To be sure, God could sustain us with out those things, but that is not the way it is set up.