Needs vs. Wants: What is it you need?
BY PASTOR BRANDON YOUNG
A need is something required to survive. A want is something that an individual desires, but can continue even if they never receive it. The primary distinguishing feature of a need is that it sustains life. For us to live spiritually, we must do the will of the Father. It is needful that we labor for the Lord. We spend much of our time, energy, and effort on our earthly wants instead of our spiritual needs. Our twisted, inflated, selfish appetite (the Bible calls it our flesh) strongly desires the things and experiences that this world offers. We deceive ourselves into thinking these things are actually needs. What the flesh desires are exaggerated, distorted and misrepresented versions of genuine needs.
1 John 2:15-17 says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
Scripture calls our wants “loving the things of this world,” “the lust of the flesh,” “the lust of the eyes,” and “the pride of life.” We labor so much in what we want to do, rather than from what God needs us to do. We must operate on what we need to do instead of what we want to do to see God do great and powerful things in our lives, and in the lives of those around us!
In John 4:3-4, the Bible says, “He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. And he must needs go through Samaria.”
Jesus had a need to go through Samaria, and there was a woman there that needed him. You will find a woman in the passage of scripture who had tried to fill her great need with her wants. She was so empty. She had been married five times and the man she was living with was not her husband. She drew water in the hottest part of the day because the other women who drew water in the morning and in the evening shunned her lifestyle. Most Jews did not travel into Samaria, but Jesus did because that was the will and plan of His Father. He travelled on a hot day into Samaria and sat down upon the well to rest himself. Jesus also had needs for He was human. He was really thirsty, and he asked this Samaritan lady for a drink of water. Once again, most Jewish men would not have spoken to a female Samaritan, but Jesus is definitely not most men. He told her that if she knew who he was that she should ask him for water, and that the water he could give her would be living water. He told her that this water would prevent her from thirsting ever again! He went on to tell this lady everything about her, and she begin to realize that he was the Messiah. She left her water pot, and ran back into the city to spread the good news.
Let’s say the water pot represents all her earthly wants and desires. She left it behind once she met Jesus, and she then realized that what she had needed for survival all along was Jesus! She tried to fill this void in her life with wicked deeds, but only Jesus could fix it all! If we could drop all our fleshly desires and cling to Jesus, we would flourish spiritually, and we would have a complete peace and contentment. We often live our lives in anxiety, worry, and frustrations because we always want something else. We look for something to will give us joy without success.
The Samaritan woman convinced many others to follow the Lord based on her testimony. I believe that they immediately saw a difference in this woman’s life! I encourage you to read the entire passage in John 4. As you read, please think about what you need to fulfill God’s plan for your life. Then think about all the earthly wants and desires that prevent you from doing what God needs you to do. Let’s leave our water pots behind and go tell somebody about Jesus! He will meet all of our needs and He gives us many of our wants. He is all we will ever need!
(Brandon Young is Pastor of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton.)