All People Need the Lord
This article was originally published in the May 1986 edition of our magazine.
We are all needy people. Pick up a news magazine today, and you’ll probably see an article about healthcare. But it’s not just the sick who have needs—people who are well have needs also. You may read in your daily paper about a food crisis in some far-away place. But it’s not just starving people who have needs—people who have plenty to eat are still needy. Scan a religious publication and you will find information about the need for evangelization of the world we live in. But it’s not just the people outside of the church who need God’s help—people who attend church do too.
Compare two Scriptures written by the same man on different occasions. Paul the Apostle paints a picture of the great contrast between living with dire spiritual needs, and living without condemnation. In reflecting on his pre-Damascus Road experience, he wrote in Romans 7:24, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” At that time, he certainly realized he had a need, didn’t he? He must have been despondent, even desperate, about his condition. He seemed to have been living in the very grip of Satan.
The same man wrote the passage in the next chapter which says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit . . . . For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:1, 13, 14). What a dramatic difference between the conditions described in these two chapters!
I have a cousin in Tennessee whose name is Elko. He called me recently, as he does from time to time, and during the conversation he told me about a happening in his own life. He said one of his best friends had committed suicide, and he was asked to be a pallbearer. During the course of the funeral the preacher asked, “Is there anyone here who feels a need for God’s help? Raise your hand right now if you do.” Elko said, “Here I was, sitting in the front row with the pallbearers. But I knew that if I ever needed God’s help, I needed it then. My best friend was dead and life is so uncertain. We never know who might be next.” So Elko raised his hand.
Then he said, “The preacher preached the rest of his sermon right at me. But I took it. I knew I needed it and that I was guilty. I needed to get back to God. And when I raised my hand, I had this feeling come over me, a warmth and assurance. God in mercy reached out right there and touched me—I knew He did.” Then he added, “After the funeral I told someone that the preacher had preached his whole sermon right at me, and that person said, ‘No, he didn’t. A number of people behind you raised their hands too.’” Elko wasn’t the only one present at that solemn occasion who recognized his need for God. The minister’s appeal touched many hearts.
Sinners are not the only ones who need God. Let’s ask God today to awaken us to the fact that we as Christians are a needy people as well.
But sinners are not the only ones who need God. Let’s ask God today to awaken us to the fact that we as Christians are a needy people as well. Excuses might deprive us of help that God is waiting to provide. Some need of yours might remain unmet forever if you postpone bringing it before God. You may be saying, “Yes, I know I ought to. Maybe I will sometime, somehow.” Whatever your condition today, saved or unsaved, don’t wait until some startling event or tragedy brings you to a realization of what you lack. God wants us to do away with the excuses we have for not presenting our needs to Him. Let’s say, “I’m needy and well I know it. Certainly I am going to confess the fact that I need God, and I need His help now.”
If we have been saved for many years, perhaps we have a need for spiritual revival. It is possible for a person to be fervent in spirit, prayerful, one who seeks God and has the joy of the Lord showing in his life, but then lose that fervor. If we find ourselves in that condition, we must turn to God and say, “Revive my spirit, stir up my very being that I might hunger after righteousness.” The Bible says, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). The one who hungers and thirsts after righteousness will be filled, not somebody else. So if there is a need for that hunger, why not admit it? When we admit our needs, we take the first step toward having our needs met.
We need God to help us overcome spiritual lethargy, indifference, and carelessness. We won’t find what we need by attending a self-help seminar. Oh, we might feel better and learn some lessons there if we’re looking for therapeutic answers. But spiritual vitality is far beyond anything that can be attained through education. In order to make any real spiritual progress, God must move us, and we must respond.
If we admit our needs and respond when God prods us, we’ll find a new joy and vibrancy in our Christian experience.
Spiritual stagnation is a terrible state. Think for a moment about what stagnant water is like. It’s been there for a long time. Perhaps it’s grown warm in the sunshine, and is filled with debris. There is nothing fresh about it. You don’t want to drink that water or even wade through it barefooted. And so it is with the Christian experience. If it becomes old, lifeless, and filled with “debris,” it is not very appealing. But it is difficult for a person in that condition to stir himself to change; it’s hard to admit that one needs a fresh dip or a revival, and human nature often leads one to do whatever is easiest. But if we admit our needs and respond when God prods us, we’ll find a new joy and vibrancy in our Christian experience. God will satisfy our innermost longing and help us to know Him in all His fullness. Then the joy of the Lord will be ours.
Perhaps you have a need for increased faith. Let the Lord settle that need for you! “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” we read in Romans 10:17. Read His Word carefully and prayerfully, and ask Him to let that faith begin to grow in your heart. If you are honest in your desire, God will prove to you that His Word is alive and that He still does miracles today.
Do you need God’s help in the small matters of day-to-day living? Perhaps you are dealing with a hard situation on the job. Maybe one of your children is causing problems in the home. Financial difficulties may be weighing you down. God cares about these details of your life, and He will help you. He will send His Spirit to teach you how to pray, put the right words in your mouth, bring things to remembrance that you need to remember, and help you forget what you ought to forget. But we must say, “I need Your help.”
Sometimes God shows us our needs by putting His finger on some area of our lives. Perhaps we need to learn to listen more and talk less. Maybe we need to develop more patience. Maybe we need to discipline ourselves more carefully in how we spend our time. But God is not a God of condemnation only. Along with showing us a need, He gives us grace to overcome the problem. He provides measures by which we can receive His help. Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). So we’re building on the sureties of God’s Word when we ask God for His strength to meet our needs.
If you don’t know what the need is in your life, say, “Lord, help me understand what I need. Show me where to improve.” God will make it plain when you honestly seek Him. He will tell you the whole truth. No matter where you are, what church you belong to, what your Christian experience has been before—none of that matters. What matters is where you stand before God today. And if you ask Him to show you, He will do just that.
As long as you have your back turned to God, you’ll find no lasting answers to the needs in your life. But when you turn your face toward Him, pray, and let Him have His way, you’ll find He will meet those needs. You will have victory that you could never achieve through the best of your own efforts.
What are your needs today? God will meet them if you will just ask Him.