Thursday Thoughts: Spiritual Needs

Last night in our small group, the topic of discussion was Mark 8:13-21, where Jesus is teaching his disciples to be careful about their spiritual self and not just their physical needs.

It was a good discussion in our group. One of the discussions was why do we focus on our physical needs so much and not our spiritual problems?

First, our physical needs is something that we can see and feel. It’s hard for us to put away our physical needs. I can’t mentally say I’m not hungry for long periods of time. I can’t say I’m not sick. No matter how strong I am mentally, I will be reminded by those conditions.

Second, I can relate more with physical needs that others have. This gets into that I can see if someone else is sick. I can see if someone else is struggling financially. Spiritual needs I cannot see as well if at all. Therefore, I can’t relate my spiritual needs to someone else, and I can’t say we have something in common. So spiritual needs start becoming more embarrassing, because we don’t think others struggle with the same issues.

Third, Spiritual needs are easier to ignore. Unlike physicals needs where there is a physical response, i.e. hunger pains, fatigue, etc; spiritual needs do not have that. We can be bothered by them, but mentally we can stop thinking about them.

As mention in the second point, we get embarrassed by our spiritual issues because we can’t see others’ issues, so our spiritual needs start becoming more and more private. Many times in churches we try to act like we’re perfect, that we don’t have any issues. When ones do talk about their spiritual issues, for example, struggling with their faith, they get told things like “you must not really be a Christian if you struggle with your faith”; even though the person criticizing the person has probably had the same struggle, they just don’t talk about it.

We need to remember that we all have issues spiritually. We need to remember that church is the hospital for the spiritually sick, and that we all are spiritually sick/lacking. Even though we may not have the issue one person has, we very easily could down the road. As Christians we would be far better off talking about our spiritual needs and struggles, than just our physical needs. Are our physical needs important? Yes, but our spiritual issues impact us for eternity.

Don’t Be Like Pharaoh

Moses going to the pharaoh is a well know story in the Bible (book of Exodus).  God tells Moses to tell the pharaoh to let the Hebrews go, if he doesn’t a plague is unleashed.  Pharaoh calls Moses, saying he will let his people go the next day, then his heart is hardened and he ends up not letting the Hebrews go.  Repeat this several times and it takes the killing of Pharaoh’s first born to let the Hebrews go.

How often are we like this in our lives?  How many times do we know God is putting struggles in our life because we won’t let go?  Finally, we get the message and we say that we will let go starting tomorrow.  Yet when tomorrow comes around, we have hardened our hearts where we like where we are at.  Then we go through the process again, where we have struggles and we tell God again, we will change and let go of our sin.  Then we continue to do what we do.  We continue to do this over and over until it takes a major wakeup call, as like it did with Pharaoh with the death of his son, to get us to finally do what God was speaking to us to do.

We all do this.  We procrastinate changing because we know it’s going to require giving up something, like friends, money, time, etc.  When we know it will be better in the long run, but we don’t want to give up what feels good right now.  We mean well when we say, we’re going to change for the better, and at the moment we mean it.  That’s the problem, we have to react to that moment when we know we need to change.  If we don’t, we will never truly change without a major wake up call.  We rationalize that it’s better to start on a new day, to start fresh.  WRONG!  That’s our mind and heart being flawed.  We end up not making the change.  If we know we need to change our diet at 7 pm at night, eat a healthy snake before bed.  If we need to exercise, so some exercise then.  If we need to start reading our Bibles, start then.  That puts an action to your though, it’s the first hurdle of getting past procrastination and making a lasting change.  We are creatures of habit, and we have to start changing our habit right away to encourage a new habit.

If you know a change has to be made for the positive, don’t be like Pharaoh, change now, don’t wait!