Over the years, I have often sought out Men’s Bible Studies at my church for the purpose of fellowship with other men and growing with God. I encourage you to find a Men’s Bible Study that you can attend, even if only for a bit. As guys, we need to be around other guys because it sharpens us. Other men will often see in us what we have trained ourselves to ignore and cover. They will also challenge us, as we see what other men are able to do. A good Men’s Bible Study should encourage you where you are and stretch you to be more of a man of God than you ever thought possible.
Recently, one such Bible study has been going through a condensed version of Counseling God’s Way by Bob Hoekstra (for the online courses, you can go here). The essential point of Hoekstra’s book and course is teaching a man or woman how to counsel someone in a way that glorifies God, namely that the only tool one needs to counsel someone is the Bible. In the process of discussing this, Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs came up.
Looking upon Maslow’s triangle (well-known to many college graduates and to psychology students), God struck me with an incredible thought. Maslow’s Hierarchy falls apart in the light of the Gospel. Maslow talks of multiple needs, but all of mankind’s needs boil down into one real need; we need Jesus. The Word of God actually blows Maslow’s Hierarchy out of the water. It entirely crumbles!
In Philippians 4:11-12, Paul says, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”
The incredible reality is that mankind really only has one need: Jesus. If I have Jesus, it doesn’t matter if I am hungry or full. I will be blessed and content because I am fixed on Him. If I have Jesus, it doesn’t matter if I am lifted up or crushed because I am fixed on Him. I trust Him to provide for my needs, be it with money to buy what I need or bringing my needs through some other channel. If I am lifted up, I praise Him. If I am crushed, I thank Him for being my worth and for calling me worthy! If I am without, I trust in His provision and do not worry. If I am abundantly blessed, I am blessed to give to others.
Maslow’s Hierarchy has no way to account for this, and it crumbles in the face of the only true need of mankind, the need of a relationship with the One True God of All, Jesus.
This is why I keep pointing you back to Jesus. To be clear, I am not trying to diminish the pain you may be going through! Not in the least! My own testimony of the shock of my divorce includes the fact that I technically should not be alive. The amount of nicotine, energy drinks, and coffee that I was consuming to stay fully functional was incredible! God bless my boss who would find me asleep at my desk some days and let me rest there. Pain is real! It frackin’ hurts, dadgummit!!!! IT HURTS!
What I am saying is that when we focus on our pain, it will not get better. When we focus on ourselves, we will fall short and the pain will often get worse, or we will seek out destructive means to quell the pain (sex, pornography, alcohol, drugs, food, etc.). Instead, if we will set our eyes upon Jesus, He can begin healing us. Love can grow within us; forgiveness can become a reality. Most of all, we’ll find our needs being met, often in ways that defy common thought or logic. I cannot tell you how many times I had a need that was suddenly fulfilled by someone who felt impressed by God to do something, be it food, clothing, or shelter!
But even without these “needs” met, with our perspective squarely fixed on Jesus, we will be where we should be, in Him. And as men firmly fixed within Jesus, we will be able to see our situations with new eyes. We will become reflections of Jesus, and “the things of this world will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” I speak not from lofty halls of thought, but from the trenches of life. I have seen that which I speak of!
Vires et Honorem