God created us with 3 basic needs : unconditional love (a sense of security), identity (self-worth) and purpose and direction (significance). This is the “hole” in each person that God designed such that only He can fill. People don’t realize this and they try to fill it with things or people or even their career. But nothing can replace God. This is true also for those in Christian ministry. When we are not getting the love and acceptance we need from God, we will crave for it from man. Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in God. This unmet need is also the source of all problems in human relationships. We need to return home to the “womb” from which we were formed – to the heart of God.
From Kingdom 34 – 39, I’ve been talking about God breaking us so that His character can be formed in us. I’ve also talked about how it is through brokenness that we are healed .. as we learn to receive His love. In this segment, I’m going to talk about how much we actually need God and His love.
Have you ever asked yourself : Who am I? What am I good for? Where am I going? What is the purpose of my life? Everyone needs to discover their own unique identity and purpose, because God made each of us unique. But there are some things that are common with all of us. We all share the same basic design deep inside of us – we were designed by God to be incomplete without Him.
You may have heard it said before that there is a God-shaped hole in each person that no one and nothing but only God can fill. We Christians like to tell unbelievers this, right? And we tell them on the assumption that we, as Christians, have already had our hole filled by God. But you know what, after more than 40 years as a believer, travelling and teaching and meeting believers around the world, I have found that most believers still have this hole inside of them that is waiting to be filled. And this includes most of the church and ministry leaders I have come across. Christians themselves have yet to know what that hole is, and what it means to be filled, and how it can be filled.
This is something that in my own journey I am learning more and more each day, and from time to time I am brought back to this point. It is about returning home – to God. It is about going back to where we came from. Returning as it were to the womb from which we were formed – not to our mother’s womb, but to the very heart of God. Peter said, “Silver and gold I have none but such as I have I give to you.” I think I can say the same. So what I am going to share here and for the next 2 segments will be one of the most important and valuable things that I can share with you. Truly something that money cannot buy.
So what is this “hole” inside of everyone? This “hole” I think can be described as a sense of emptiness inside of us that makes us long and crave for love and acceptance, and for identity and purpose. This “hole” I would say is made up of 3 basic needs : First, the need for unconditional love. Second, the need for identity. And third, the need for purpose and direction in life. These needs are even more basic than the physical need for food and shelter. It goes into the very reason for our existence. Without this, people have no reason to go on living.
I don’t know if you have heard of Selwyn Hughes. He passed away in 2006. He was a wonderful Bible teacher. He used 3 words starting with S to describe these 3 basic needs. First “Security” for unconditional love. Second, “Self-worth” for identity, and Third “Significance” for purpose and direction. Actually my understanding of this subject was not very clear until I heard him teach on this. So I must credit Selwyn Hughes for making it crystal clear to me. When he prayed for me, he prophesied over me that one day I will be teaching this to many people.
God made us and designed us to have these 3 fundamental needs and He designed it so that these needs can only be met by God Himself; not by anything or anyone else. But people don’t realize this and so they try to have these needs satisfied by things or people. But things or people will never be able to satisfy. We can have all the money we want and get anything we want. And we can even have a loving family and a great career and a wonderful work environment, and we can even be famous and popular or even idolised by others. But until and unless God fills this hole that He designed for Himself, there will always be that feeling that something is missing. We all know stories of famous actors, rock stars, or millionaires, dying of drug overdose or committing suicide. Why did they come to such a tragic end of their lives? Well Saint Augustine in his prayer said it so well. He said to God, “You made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You.”
Instead of going to God to have their needs met, people spend their whole lives looking for someone or something else or even their career to fulfil these needs. Most men for example, and lately even women, they see their career or profession as the security for their lives. It is also from their career or profession that they gain acceptance, recognition, and they find their identity. Their career also determines the purpose and direction of their lives. It is also from what they can accomplish at work that they derive a sense of significance. But you know what, all that is a false belief which sooner or later will be discovered to be lacking, frustrating and unsatisfactory.
What I am saying here is also true of those who are in Christian ministry. You may be a pastor or a missionary, or a leader of a Christian organization and you may have been in the ministry for many years, but what is it really that is motivating you? Why do we see so many Christian leaders with an insatiable craving for the love and esteem of people? Why such a great need for control or to impress people? They say they are following Jesus, but can you imagine Jesus doing the things they do today? Sadly so many Christian leaders today are no different from leaders in the world. They are also craving for the same love and acceptance and esteem from man. This is the bottom line – If we are not getting it from God, then we will crave for it from man.
If we reflect on this for a while, I think we will realize that not only are all of us plagued by this same problem, all problems in human relationships also stem from this unmet craving for love, acceptance and understanding. Why do we get into misunderstanding with people? Why is there so much miscommunication between people? Is it not because we are so sensitive to how others regard us – whether they accept and appreciate us, or they misunderstand and reject us? Why do people try to control and manipulate and oppress others? Is it not because they are insecure and they are trying to fill their own need for identity, or a sense of importance or worth, and to fill their need for significance – that they are achieving something great?
The truth is, the only one who can fill our deepest longings is God. When God fills our hearts, then we will not crave it from man. We also need to know deep in our hearts that God loves us unconditionally. That means we don’t have to do anything to earn His love. We need to know that He values us – that we are precious to Him. And since He is the one who created us, He alone knows what each of us were created for. It is from Him, and only from Him, that we can find our purpose, direction and meaning in life. And we have to go to Him to know and experience this. It is not enough to know it only cognitively, meaning, just in our heads.
I’ll continue in Kingdom 41.
These are transcripts of audio messages so they are better heard than read. If you would like to listen to them, the audio clips can be found here : https://goo.gl/KN4JYL . It’s a folder on googledrive, so you’ll need to sign in with your google account username and password (or sign up for a google account) to be able to access it.