This morning I was thinking about how we spend most of our lives trying to arrive at a place or condition in which we are fully self-sufficient. We have this idea that if we have no needs, then we will have finally “made it” in this life!
As a follower of Christ I am learning that God has a very different agenda for our lives. He is steadily working to expose our needs and to get us to acknowledge our needs…to even boast in our needs!
I am not talking about giving people license to mooch off the system or to become wards of the state! I am not suggesting that everyone should have an entitlement mindset. I am really speaking more in a moral, spiritual, and relational sense. Okay?
Here’s a pretty important quote from the most important Man who ever walked the earth:
Upon hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)
Sinful pride seeks to live independently of the God who made you and the resources He has designed to meet your needs. Because of a false sense of self-sufficiency we often fail to perceive the grace of God.
There’s a famous story in the Old Testament about a man named Jacob. He was born coming out of his mother’s womb grasping his twin brother’s heel, who was born first. His name means supplanter or deceiver. He had this mindset and personality that was always trying to manipulate and work things out on his own. There are a lot of life-lessons in his story, but one really potent lesson is found here:
“Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” (Genesis 28:16)
The context was one of anxiety and strife. Jacob was actually fleeing a potentially violent situation, largely caused by his own manipulations. And in the middle of the night he had an encounter in which God very personally revealed Himself. God made some amazing promises to him.
But it is doubtful that Jacob would have had this encounter without the precursor of acknowledged weakness and need. And it is so common that we actually fight against this kind of scenario happening in our lives!
God is ever working to bring us into a place of acknowledging our need of Him…and we are continually working at avoiding such a place.
But God has more endurance and patience than we do! Sooner or later your weakness and mortality will catch up with you. Over and over we see it in the Bible. Those who recognize their own weakness and cry out to God are the ones who come away with an experience of God’s nearness, peace and salvation.
Ever wonder why the angels first announced the birth of Christ to some poor shepherds working the night shift? It’s not rocket science! These guys were at the bottom of the food chain.
When the angel said, “Tonight a Savior is born for you in Bethlehem,” they didn’t reply, “A savior? What in the world for. We’re all good here. Maybe you should try down the road?”
To the contrary, they made haste to go see this Savior! Life has its way of humbling a fellow. Brokenness and humility have a way of preparing us for special grace. So if you are one of those “blessed” with a fresh realization of your need during this season, don’t despair! Let the pain and pressure realign your focus. Look to the Christ of Christmas.
During this season, rather than spending so much time trying to figure out what to buy for people who seem to already have everything (i.e. have no real needs), why not spend time asking God to help us all realize how much we really need Him and one another!
Who knows, maybe we will say something like Jacob did, “Surely God was in this holiday and I never knew it.” In my estimation, that would make for an awesome Christmas!