Wednesdays with Jillene: so your wants won’t control you

“When God supplies your needs, your wants won’t control you.”     (Joe McArthur)

Whoa… please stop and read that one again.

“When God supplies your needs, your wants won’t control you.”*

Because really, let’s face it, we live in a time when WANTS are running the show. You can’t even take a trip into a grocery store without your wants being used against you. There is a whole science to the layout of a store and the placement of items on a shelf to maximize your purchases, for the store’s benefit, not for your own. Parents, we know the check-out aisle conspiracy, where stores pack enticing items that children will just NEED to have, so that we (gullible) parents will cave to purchases we never intended to make… and what’s worse is the “Candy Free Checkout Aisle” that is filled with TOYS. Seriously?! Yup, seriously. If that isn’t bad enough, now we are learning about thescience of grocery store layout and item placement to create an environment where we will give into wants and the result? “Two-thirds of what we buy in the supermarket we had no intention of buying.

Crazy.

And that’s just one area of our lives.

Wants are in control; we are out of control.

“When God supplies your needs, your wants won’t control you.”*

I know what it is to be controlled by my wants. Be it the want for the newest of gadgets, the desire for a second (or third) dessert, for more sleep, “me time”, personal affirmation, financial security, and the list goes on… The desires of our heart are strong and wants are powerful.

Wants mask themselves as needs.

Our survival instinct, desires for self-preservation, avoidance of suffering and addiction will all conspire to convince us otherwise. At our core, wants cannot satisfy because behind every want is a need that is deeper.

There is an illness called “Pica” which is characterized by people eating things that are not food, in large quantities and on a regular basis: snacking on paint chips, eating clay, crunching on some potting soil (to name a few). Sounds odd, yes? This seldom talked about eating-disorder is found in 10-30% of 1 to 6 year-olds and also strikes pregnant women. And as you can imagine, it is very problematic leading to poisoning, injury, hospitalization, even death. But people afflicted with Pica have a compulsion to eat these things; they feel they NEED to eat.

Although there are many causes, nutritional deficiencies, malnutrition, neglect, developmental and mental health conditions top the list. Here’s the thing, with Pica someone may feel they WANT to eat paint chips and we can see that what they really NEED is help fixing the underlying condition. Eating paint chips isn’t cool, but simply saying “stop eating paint chips” isn’t likely to resolve the problem; something deeper is at work!

We, too, let our WANTS control us and convince us they are NEEDS. And those WANTS cannot satisfy, often following our wants is to our detriment. Sure, they fill us for a little while, but then we are left looking for more because we haven’t addressed our core NEED.

“When your deepest need is the cross, Christ will be the center of your wants.”*  (Joe McArthur)

BOOM! Wow, that phrase hits hard.

Mark 2:1-12 tell us of one day when Jesus had returned to Capernaum, and as you can imagine, Jesus appearance gathered quite a crowd. So many people had come to the house where he was staying that it was standing room only, with a line out the door. And here come some men, dedicated companions of a man who was paralyzed, hoping to bring him to Jesus so he could be healed. The crowd was too great and they couldn’t get in the door. These friends took action: digging a hole in the roof, “they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man…

(Nope, he didn’t say he’d heal the paralyzed man.)

“My child, your sins are forgiven.”

Wait, what?!

Scripture records the teachers of the law had an incredulous response, I cannot know for sure and therefore am just speculating, but I imagine there were MANY people perplexed by Jesus’ words. I mean, really, didn’t the man NEED to be healed.

He did, and Jesus subsequently healed him, but FIRST Jesus took care of his deepest need.

“When your deepest need is the cross, Christ will be the center of your wants.”*

We sure don’t understand why God does all that he does, no doubt about that. We also don’t always understand why God doesn’t do what he chooses not to do… And the times when we approach God with some BIG needs and he seems to say, “No”… well… that is rough.

In the diGodWillSupplyAllYourNeedsfficult times it is often seen as a platitude to say “God will supply all of your needs!” One of those sayings people offer to someone in a time of great need, but supposedly it doesn’t offer much help at all.

But, what if it does?

What if contained in that, seemingly insufficient, statement from Paul in Philippians 4:19 we see how Paul who had endured so much pain, suffering, torture even, could also say, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Because:

“When your deepest need is the cross, Christ will be the center of your wants.”*

Oh God… how even to begin to pray about all this?! Help us to no longer be content to allow our wants to control us and mask themselves as needs in our lives. Give us the strength to dig deeper and discover the true needs that are hidden and seek to allow you to fulfill those. Father, we’d like to no longer be insufficiently satisfied by relying on our abilities, reasoning and strength to take care of our core desires. Instead, Father we turn to you, asking you to meet our needs. And God, when you work in ways we do not understand and it appears even the deepest needs we can fathom having are found to be still unmet… help us to dig deeper, to the core of the cross. God help us to trust you to meet our need starting there and thereby center our wants upon you! Amen

 

~Jillene

The quotes:

*“When God supplies your needs, your wants won’t control you.”

AND

*“When your deepest need is the cross, Christ will be the center of your wants.”

Come from “Love Out Loud” by Joe McArthur.

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