And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
We humans don’t like the fact that we are needy creatures. We love autonomy and view dependence as a sign of failure, a flaw of some kind, a lack of proper planning or ambition. But why do we take this view? It’s almost as though our reasoning can’t separate the presence of need from the presence of sin. But is sin the cause of human need?
A quick examination of Genesis 1-3 answers this question with a resounding no. In pre-fall Eden, Adam and Eve were created to need. Even before the fateful plucking of the forbidden fruit, they depended on God for the breath in their lungs, for the food in their bellies, for water, land, and light. They had needs--both physical and spiritual--before sin ever slithered into the picture. God created them needy, that in their need they might turn to the Source of all that is needful, acknowledge their need, and worship. Instead, they angled for autonomy.
Like them, we see human need as a flaw and self-sufficiency as a crowning achievement. We become plate-spinners and ball-jugglers. With our lives collapsing around us, we paint on a smile and fake our way through another Sunday at church, denying our need for authenticity. We take out another line of credit, denying our need for financial stability. We ignore symptoms of illness, denying our need for medical attention. We work late into the night, denying our need for rest. We starve ourselves to a size 2, denying our need for food. I’m fine. I’m better than fine. And I certainly don’t need help. We turn from the God-worship that should have resulted from seeing our need to the self-worship of believing we are self-sufficient.
God, in his infinite wisdom, created us to need him. And he also created us to need each other. Genesis 2 reminds us that it was not good for the man to be alone. Rather, it was good for him to be in relationship. The New Testament expands this idea to include the fellowship of believers, comparing us to one body with parts that depend on each other, making self-sufficiency both illogical and unthinkable: “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you’” (1 Corinthians 12:21). We were created to need both God and others. We were not created to be self-sufficient. Nor were we re-created in Christ to be so. Sanctification is the process of learning dependence, not autonomy.
So set aside the plate-spinning, ball-juggling idolatry of self-sufficiency. Be quick to confess your tendency to trust your own resources rather than acknowledge God as your provider. Not only that, be quick to ask for help from others and receive it graciously when it is given. The kingdom of heaven belongs to the poor in spirit. Its King meets us and saves us, not in our self-sufficiency but in our lack.
Blessed are those who need. And most blessed is he who supplies all our needs according to his riches in glory.
Suggestions for Prayer
- Ask God to show you where your heart has lied to you. What sin have you justified, minimized, or concealed?
- Ask God to show you a situation in which you need to ask for help from others.
- Thank God that he has met your greatest need once and for all through the atoning work of Jesus Christ.
Jen Wilkin is a speaker, writer, and teacher of women’s Bible studies. During her fifteen years of teaching, she has organized and led studies for women in home, church, and parachurch contexts. Jen and her family are members of the Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas. She is the author of Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds and None Like Him: 10 Ways God Is Different from Us (and Why That's a Good Thing).