You hear it a lot in church. I need God. Or maybe you have sung “I need Thee every hour”. Or maybe even “I need Thee oh I need Thee, every hour I need Thee”. Of course this leads me to ask, do we know what it means to need God? Or do we truly need Him?
That word ‘need’ is a funny word. The etymology of the word shows that it was born out of the idea that something would “be necessary, be required (for some purpose).” The definition in today’s language shows that need means, “to have need of; to require.” (wasn’t it a rule that you couldn’t use the word in a definition?). One of the underlying ideas behind this word study and definition is the idea that “need of something” serves “some purpose”. And so I think about this with our language toward God. Why do we say we need God? What purpose do we think He might serve? I mean most of us seem so bent on providing for ourselves or our loved ones. We work so diligently to insure that our “physical needs”, our desires and our wants are satisfied. We carry on as if all of this depends on us and so I wonder, where is our need for God?
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus talks about our worry about material things and provisions. He ends up this portion of the teaching with this very familiar phrase, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” – Matthew 6:33 I think sometimes we get the cart before the horse in this scenario. In our pursuit of all of these things prior to God’s Kingdom we somehow supplant our need for God with our need for things and we loose out on what it really means to need God.
I want to need God. I don’t want to need things. And yet I find myself in a world where my need for God is choked out by all of this other stuff that seems to take over my needs. I think that’s why Paul said this in his letter to the Philippians, “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ…I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:8,10-11. Paul, who wrote 2/3s of our modern New Covenant canon wrote that all accomplishments, achievements, pursuits, etc. outside of Christ were garbage. And he wanted, longed, desired, dare I say needed to know Christ.
I want to need Christ like that. I want to find myself desperate for God in every avenue of my life. That is my prayer today and I hope it is yours as well.