(Philippians 3:7 & 8 CEV)But Christ has shown me that what I once thought was valuable is worthless. Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ
Some time ago I wrote a message concerning Self- Actualization. If you like you can look it up in the archives of the web-site. As God laid it on my heart to once again concentrate upon this subject matter I found it very interesting how easily we can forget things we seemingly have already learned. I guess the first thing I want to do is to clarify the purpose of these messages. Some of my goals in writing these words are to first uncover the truth of God's love for you. In that, I believe that I must keep the main thing the main thing, and present the gospel, which is the good news that Jesus Christ is LORD. The second goal I have is to encourage you and give you hope in your daily life. It is my desire to make every message relevant to the things we are going through every day. I want to be able to apply this truth to my life in order to better enjoy the abundant life that Christ came and died and rose again to give us. Then the third would be to unveil the mystery of God's word. I want to present the Bible in plain English. So that you can understand what God is saying directly to you. I think that another passage of scripture that would go with today's message would be the passage that speaks about how the Spirit is drawing us closer and closer to Him taking us from glory to glory:
(2Corinthians 3:15-18 CEV)When the Law of Moses is read, they have their minds covered over with a covering that is removed only for those who turn to the Lord. The Lord and the Spirit are one and the same, and the Lord's Spirit sets us free. So our faces are not covered. They show the bright glory of the Lord, as the Lord's Spirit makes us more and more like our glorious Lord.
In today's humanistic world this concept of becoming a better person, or achieving a higher standard is measured through a hierarchy of needs. What the world tries to do in eliminating God from their lives is to give themselves some standard to go by. After all, if you have nothing to aim for then you will get nothing every time.
So along came Abraham Maslow. Maslow was this academic type that everyone could look up to. He taught Psychology in the height of the pop psychology generation. And if you get the opportunity to study him more you will find that a lot of what he suggests is basic truths. The biggest problem I find with it all is that it leaves out God. We, especially as Americans, are always thinking about Me, Me, Me, Me, we are the Me first, second, third and fourth generation. If you look over history you can see that this selfishness is the brink of the downfall of a nation. So, in order to try to keep a good balance ,we are going to look at the hierarchy of "felt" needs that we as humans have, but taking it a step further, we will tie it into our real need, which is to be at peace with God.
Let me go ahead and give you the different stages of Maslow's hierarchy of Needs, then what I want to do is to give them some God perspective.
5. Self Actualization
4. Self - Esteem Needs
3. Social Acceptance Needs
2. Physical Safety and Security Needs
1. Basic Biological and Physiological Needs
On the bottom of the scale is the basic physiological needs. This is the survival stage. We need food and water, air and shelter. Although this may seem very simple there are still many people in the world today who struggle just to get these basic needs met. In reality these are the strongest of our needs, because without food or water or air to breath nothing else would matter. In the Bible we discover that is is God who gives us the breath of life.
(Genesis 2:7 KJV)And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Then we also have learned that man not only lives on bread alone but upon every word of God, and then even more, that Jesus is indeed the bread of life.
(John 6:35KJV)And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
The second stage of Maslow's hierarchy of needs is security. We all have safety concerns, and a great need to be secure from harm. There is danger in this world, from nature itself, to the animal kingdom, to man against man. King David knew from where his security came from, and we can discover throughout the Bible how God is our protector.
(Psalm 18:2 CEV)You are my mighty rock, my fortress, my protector, the rock where I am safe, my shield, my powerful weapon, and my place of shelter.
(2Thessalonians 3:3 BBE)But the Lord is true, who will give you strength and keep you safe from evil.
(Isaiah 54:17 KJV) No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.
The third stage is our social acceptance. This is our need to belong and to be loved. Many people have all the material things in the world but they do not amount to a hill of beans without love. Even when Elvis Presley who seemingly had it all was asked ,if now that he was rich and famous , was he happy? He said. "No, I am the loneliest man in the world." Six weeks later he killed himself. God teaches us over and over the importance of our relationships with one another. From Genesis when he said "it is not good that a man should be alone" and he formed woman. To the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. we are instructed in relationship building. In fact it is Jesus' prayer for us that we would be one:
(John 17:18-23 KJV)As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
The next to the highest need in the Humanist view, is the need for Self-Esteem. The Humanist always put themselves first above everything else. Not to be too overly critical, the realization of our need to respect ourselves is very important in our growth, both spiritually and physically. After all, we need to remember that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. I have also seen far too many "Christians" walking in despair and depression thinking that lowliness was equal to righteousness. I believe that Jesus held his head high. I believe that God wants you to know that you are indeed blessed and highly favored of Him and that you are the head and not the tail and that you are a Child of the King of Kings. So, yes our self-esteem is important but even more important is to keep in remembrance that "but for the grace of God, go we." What I mean by that is we can have self-esteem because it is Jesus that has quickened our spirits and cleansed us from all of our unrighteousness.
Now we get to the pinnacle of the Humanist hierarchy of needs; Self Actualization. The term itself denotes that you fully become who you are. In other words a painter will paint, a poet will write poetry, a mother will nurture children, a leader will lead. In this view you are what you do! I have talked about how I have never met a Christian who did not want to be a better person. I have met some who are real slow in that growth process. I have also met some non-Christians who have a great desire to "be all that they can be." Then in the same light I have met some non-Christians who are content to stay just the way they are, and have no intention of ever changing. The difference between self-actualization, and what I am calling God actualization is who is being actualized in our lives. As for me I hope for a fusion of who God has created me as an individual to be and Him, Himself being actualized in and through me.
A few of the characteristics of a self Actualized person are listed below:
|See problems as challenges and not as something to complain about or make excuses for.|
|They are comfortable with themselves despite their own personal idiosyncrasies.|
|They have a few close personal friends rather then many superficial acquaintances.|
|They are not susceptible to social or peer pressure.|
|spontaneous and natural|
|creative and original|
The list could go on and on but you get the idea. It is the person that you may have always wanted to be. Self-confident and secure, intelligent and good looking. The all-American man, or woman. I believe that these are great attributes and good things to aim for. However, even Maslow in his last days knew that there had to be more.......
Towards the end of his life he began searching for deeper meaning. Unfortunately, like many who will do anything they can to avoid the truth of God's love for them all he found was more confusion. He began working on what he called the "Fourth Force" in Psychology. He tried to draw on Eastern religion and meditation. In the year before his death he stated that "human beings have an absolute need for something bigger and higher than themselves."
Let me take you back real quick to the message I wrote in the past about this subject.
In reference to the passage of scripture from Philippians 3:12 I wrote the following:
"(Philippians 3:12 KJV)Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
First I want us to look at the passage above. Paul was
saying that he had not apprehended or attained perfection. The N.I.V.
puts verse 12 this way: (Phil 3:12 NIV) Not that I have already obtained all
this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for
which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
The word I want us to look at is this word perfect. This is the idea of reaching the height of perfection. The Greek word used here is teleioo. It comes from the prime root tello, which means the point aimed at or the design. That is where we get the word teleological. The teleological argument for the existence of God is the argument of design. The intense design of everything in the universe suggests that there has to be a designer. The reason I point this out is because I want you to see how the height of our calling is in fact realized when we come in agreement with and cooperation with the design and plan that God has for our lives.
So now letís put our trust in the promises of
God and see how He declares the fulfillment of all our needs. (Phil 4:19 KJV)
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by
Christ Jesus. This is such a wonderful passage of scripture I recommend that
you spend a little time and read the entire book of Philippians. It is only 4
short chapters long and it will bless your socks off.
What I am trying to say in today's message is that we are a needy people, but our greatest need is God for it is God who can supply our every need according to his riches in glory. What is it that you have need of today. Is a a physical need, am emotional need, and social need, or maybe a spiritual need. Jesus is the answer.
In researching this information about Maslow, I wondered what would turn a nice Jewish boy so far away from God. I discovered that his childhood was anything but pleasant. He was the only Jewish boy in the neighborhood, so he would isolate himself. His father drank heavily and cheated on his mother and would ridicule him in public. His mother was even worse and showed him no love even to the point of killing his pet kittens in front of him and putting a lock on the refrigerator. After studying both what this man taught and discovering why he thought the way he did, I fell nothing but sympathy for him, yet to think of all the thousands of people he has lead away form the truth saddens me even more.
Yes, we are a needy people, but one of the main things that Maslow taught is that you could never reach the highest levels of personal goals without first satisfying every level below it. In other words there would be no chance of anyone who had to struggle to make ends meet to become self actualized. That is so sad. The good news however is that to become God actualized all you have to do is to put your trust in Him. You can be homeless or the most wealthy person in the world. You can be a loner or the most popular person in the world. You can be safe and secure in the bosom of middle America or on the front line in the war on terror and still come to the full knowledge of the presence of God. You can be filled even right now to the overflowing with the goodness of God. You can become god actualized right now.
Oh! how good it is to know the truth. Oh How wonderful it is to embrace the truth. Oh, how I hop you too can open your heart and mind right now and let God enter in, washing all of your sins away, and lifting all your burdens. You can become the man or woman that God has called you to be by right now asking Jesus to forgive you of all your sins and welcome Him into the inner most part of your heart. Then lay all your burdens at His feet and rest in His loving arms. He is omnipresent, (everywhere) omniscient, (all knowing) and omnipotent. (all powerful) All of that can be actualized in your life. He told us that He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings and that the fullness of God could be within us. God is not just leading you on. He wants you to fully experience His love.
I believe that that is what the Bible meant when it said trust in the LORD with all you heart and lean not upon your own understanding....
(Proverbs 3:5-10 KJV)Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.) Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.