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Imagine Seeing People as God Sees Them -Needy by Design (Part 5)

B. God’s Design—Opening Our Eyes and Heart to Address Two Crippling Lies

Two very significant implications for life and ministry derive from the truth that God created us to need both Him and each other.

  • First, none of us can rightfully say, “All I need is God.” To do so is to reject other people as a channel of God’s loving provision. When we speak of our needed redemption, “Christ is all I need.” Yet for life abundant as He intends, we need both Him and one another. Adam lived in a perfect, sin-free world and had a deeply personal knowledge of God. If anyone had grounds to think that an intimate relationship with the Creator was all he needed, Adam sure did.

  • The second implication is closely related to the first. Just as we cannot claim, “All I need is God, ” we must not convey the message; “You only need God.” To do so is to communicate a message of condemnation. “You should be able to take care of yourself without needing other people. If you still have needs, you do not have enough of Christ. If you were more consistent in your quiet time, if you had more faith, if you loved God with more of your heart, soul, and mind, you would not be needy.” As important and necessary as faith and quiet times and loving God are, God has chosen to involve people in meeting the needs of other people.

  • The “you only need God” message is crippling Jesus-followers everywhere today. This message is irrelevant to the real needs of people because it represents only half of the Great Commandment. We may have the “love God” part right, but love for God is incomplete without love for our neighbors. Dismissing our need for one another is the equivalent of saying to a starving beggar, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed” (James 2:16). To the single adult, it may sound like this: “You should not be lonely because Jesus is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” We might communicate to a faithful ministry worker, “Your need to be appreciated is nothing more than pride. God sees your labors, and His reward should be enough.” Or we might say to people who have been abused or abandoned, “You just need to forgive and forget and move on with your life.”

By God’s design, we need Him and other people. Therefore, our complete message to a hurting world must be: “I need you, and it is all right for you to need me. We both need an intimate, loving relationship with our Lord.”

C. The Savior’s Need

For us to “see people the way God sees them” challenges us also to consider the humanity of the God-man Jesus.

Consider these passages of Scripture:

  • In Luke 2:52, Jesus grew in favor with God and man

  • In Philippians 4:19, the apostle Paul says that “God will supply all your needs,” and in verse 18, he acknowledges that God met some of his needs now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent.

  • In 2 Corinthians 1:3, Paul exalts the God of all comfort, but in verse 4 he reminds us that we are often comforted so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

  • In 1 Corinthians 12:21, Paul says that every believer is a member of Christ’s body and that we need each other. It would be absurd to say, “I do not need you!

  • In Revelation 3:16, the apostle John rebukes the church of Laodicea because they have become “lukewarm” (irrelevant), and in verse 17, he specifically confronts the exalted self-reliance of those who declare, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.

Walking in the Light of God’s People Through Faithful Engagement in Fellowship (John 12:35, Matthew 5:14).

The Son of God faces the darkest hour in the history of creation (Matthew 26:37, 38). The One who knew no sin will soon become sin for His disciples—for you and me. He has vulnerably sought the prayerful support of Peter, James, and John. Now they seem oblivious to the Master’s need.

Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” (Matthew 26:40). See the disappointment in His eyes as He returns to His place of agonizing prayer. Amazingly, the scene plays out again and again. Three times the Master shares His pain and need with His closest friends, and three times they let Him down.

Meditate on Christ’s words, “Could you not pray with me for just one hour?” What does it do to your heart to meditate on the saddened Savior? How does it make you feel to hear the words, “Could you not pray with me?

For each of us to see people with the compassionate heart of Jesus, we start with the Spirit’s deepening work of compassion for Jesus. Allow the Holy Spirit to sensitize your heart to the needs of the Savior and the needs of others around you.

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