Scripture: (Philippians 3:12-14 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. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
I believe it was 1981, my sophomore year of college at Herkimer County Community College, in upstate New York, that I was first introduced to the term self-actualization. Although self-actualization is a psychological term it was in an advertising class that it was being taught. Self-actualization is the pinnacle of the humanistís hierarchy of needs. The highest achievement of man is viewed as self-actualization. The man who developed this theory was Abraham Maslow. Maslow taught that there was a hierarchy of needs that as each level was reached a person could rise to the next, the top being self-actualization. At first I wondered why this humanistic psychology was being taught in an advertising class then I realized that the key to advertising was to find a need and fill it even if it had to create the need itself. In todayís message I want us to look at Maslowís hierarchy of needs in a biblical perspective and see how with God we can not only reach this pinnacle of the humanistís desire but we can press on towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus the LORD.
It amazes me how people will take God given principles right out of the Bible and take God out of the equation and call the idea their own. Why is it that the Humanists and Atheist work so hard to get God out of their lives? The Bible teaches us that pride comes before a downfall and when we become too proud to acknowledge God there will come a mighty fall. But God tells us that if we would just humble ourselves and call onto Him and give up our wicked ways, He would forgive all our sins and heal our land. You see God knows what we have need of and He will provide for all of our needs according to His riches in Glory as we learn to put our trust in Him. So as we take a look at Maslow's Hierarchy of needs lets not forget where our provision comes from and give God the Glory for our increase.
To quickly explain each level of this model we start with the basic physical needs. These include air and water and food. Many of us do not have any idea what it would even be like to not have these simple needs met. In this great county of ours we have been blessed to the point that almost without even thinking about it we have these basic physical needs met. But not everyone on this planet is so lucky. There are people in many third world counties and even some right here in our own land that struggle for even the basic elements of life. But when these basic needs are met our next logical need becomes security. This would include our gaining safety and shelter. Now in some parts of the country in the middle of winter this shelter need comes before food or even water. But for the most part when we think about fulfilling this need for shelter we think about renting an apartment or at the top of this step would be reaching the American dream and owning our own Home. This security stage also covers things like job security, like there even is such a thing these days. But once we have a feeling of security then we can rise to the next level on the hierarchy of needs and fulfill our need for relationships. This means developing the deep relationships in our lives that last a lifetime. Lasting marriages and long time friendships fall into this category of need. These first three stages are called deficient needs. By this they mean that these needs must be fulfilled or else you will experience some form of deficiency in your life. The next two categories are growth needs. The first being esteem then going on to self-actualization.
Now to save us all a lot of time and keep you
from being as bored with this as I am, letís get back to the word of God and see
how God has, thousands of years before Maslow, laid out these needs and promised
to fill them for us. From there you can see where you are on this scale and
press on towards your true calling. You see in the humanists view manís highest
expectation would be to be what he is. Maslow would say that a musician must
play music and a poet must write poetry and so on. But with God manís highest
potential, your potential, goes beyond doing what you do, to fulfilling a higher
calling, using, that which you do. Iíll try to explain that further in just a
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.
First of all God wants us to know that He is
the God that Provides. Abraham called the place of offering Jehovahjireh. (God
will provide) When we trust in the LORD with all our hearts and lean not upon
our own understanding we discover that God is indeed the one who has provided
all things for us all along. God is also our security and strength. I have to
admit that there are plenty of times when it is down right real smart to be
afraid. In 2nd Chronicles we read how the King of Judah dealt with
his fear. (2 Chr 20:1-4 KJV) It came to pass after this also, that the
children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the
Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle. Then there came some that told
Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the
sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazontamar, which is Engedi.
And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast
throughout all Judah. And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the
LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.
Jehoshaphat had a real reason to be afraid, but
he took his fear to the LORD, and read Godís reply to His people. (2 Chr 20:15
KJV) And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem,
and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor
dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but
Do you want real security? Then put your trust in God. Do you want real fulfillment? Then open up your heart and let Him in. The next topic, which is relationships, God spends a lot of time on in His word. We were not meant to be alone. When God saw Adam in the garden He said it is not good that man should be alone so He gave him woman. Proverbs tells us that if a man finds a wife he finds a good thing. The New Testament tells us that we Men are to love our wives as Christ loves the Church. King David talked how it is good that men dwell together in unity and the writer of Hebrews instructs us to not forsake the assembly of believers, as is the habit of some. We need to hang out with other men and woman of God. We need to develop deeper relationships that will build us up in the faith. We need each other. And we need God. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. That takes us to the next level on the hierarchy of needs chart which is esteem. We have all heard that you cannot love someone else until you love yourself. Well, the problem is that sometimes that is not that easy to do. Too often that guilt and shame from past mistakes along with the memories of hard things that people may have said about us keep us from giving ourselves the love we need. You have to realize how much God loves you. God knows you better then you know yourself and He loves you. He created you and wants you to know that you can put the past behind you, embrace yourself with the Love of Christ Jesus and look forward to a bright future.
Finally, God wants you to know that you can become, and are even now being changed into, the person that God has called you to be. Only believe!!!! All things are possible for those who believe. There is so much that God desires for you. Reach out to Him today and receive your calling. Reach out to God today and discover your actual self-actualization.