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Christian Counseling - Need-Meeting

Perhaps the most frequently cited passage on managing human need is Matthew 7:25-34. God challenges us not to worry about food, drink, or clothes, for life is more than these things. He tells us He sees and meets the needs of all creation--birds and lilies. Matthew asks, if He does it for them, will He not care even more for us? This thought can help us control our worry and limit becoming obsessed with pursuing our own need-meeting. Following this, He gives us some direction. '"But seek first the kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So don't worry..."' (:33-34).

Many seem to believe that we should "only" seek the kingdom and not seek to satisfy our own needs. These same people probably think self-satisfaction is akin to selfishness. But read the verses again. It begins with, "But seek first." It doesn't say don't seek or completely avoid caring for your own needs. There is a priority and an order of importance. We can be driven by our needs to the extent they become more important than anything or anyone else. Overly focusing on anything can lead to obsessiveness, which can create anxiety. Also, this passage isn't about self-denial, it's about the comforting empathy and provisions of God, which are meant to ease our very real burden about needs (a feeling of being deprived of physical, emotional, and/or spiritual necessities important to the continuation of life).

Should the unemployed, lonely, poor, insecure, rejected, hungry, terminally ill, unloved, ignored people of the world not give a thought to or attempt to meet their own desperate needs? No, proper self-responsibility and self-love move us to seek taking care of our own needs--one shouldn't look to others to pay their mortgage or grocery bill. But we are cautioned not to over think and dwell on them to the point we forget there are other important things in life. One limitation to that last thought is that unmet, legitimate needs can cause such pain and reasonable fear and anxiety that focusing on other nonsurvival issues becomes impossible. For this reason, rescue teams giving aid to victims or those near death from starvation don't talk about God and His kingdom first, they nurse the wounded, feed the hungry and then present the gospel.

Besides miracles, the exclusive way in which God meets our needs is through His creation. Bees make honey, animal hides are used for shoes, and people take up the role of being good Samaritans to meet other's needs. However, when we deplete an area of its natural resources or people aren't attending to the needs of others, needy people are left, for the most part, to fend for themselves when no miracle is forthcoming.

Many contend that God, without exception, will add all the things we need, if only we first seek His kingdom (:33). However, life indeed shows us there are exceptions. Martyred Christians are not always physically protected. Christians have also starved to death and died of thirst. Some never have their needs met, such as for joy, love, belongingness, etc. This presents us with a dilemma.

How are we to understand limitations that sometimes exist regarding the promises of God? How do you? Can you think of other promises that are not absolute? How about Proverbs 22:6--"Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it"?

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