This week we continue our X-Ray Questions series, as we look at what you think you need. You can read the other posts in this series by clicking here.
(7) What do you think you need? What are your felt needs?
Questions 2 and 3 exposed your aims in terms of activity and pursuit. This question exposes your aims in terms of what you hope to receive, get, and keep. Felt needs are frequently taken as self-evident necessities to be acquired, not as deceptive slave-masters. Our culture of need reinforces the flesh’s instincts and habits. In most cases, a person’s felt needs are slang for idolatrous demands for love, understanding, a sense of being in control, affirmation, and achievement.
First, understand that your needs are already known by (Matt. 6:8-15) and taken care of by the Lord (Matt. 6:24-32).
Second, understand that our culture drives/reinforces these felt needs through both electronic (t.v., internet, and radio) and print (magazines, books, and photography) media.
Third, by reflecting on the things we think we need, we can gain a good understanding of the ways we are seeking love and affirmation from others. It also shows us what we think we need to control and/or achieve, in order to gain affirmation.
For instance, we may believe we need a new car, new clothing, a certain degree, job, apartment, etc, so we will be accepted and loved by others. Instead of finding our acceptance and love in our relationship with Christ, we are seeking acceptance and love from others through certain possessions that tell the world we are successful.
When we truly reflect on the reasons we desire the things mentioned above, we learn what we hope to, receive, get, and keep from buying a new car, new clothing, acquiring a certain degree, job, or apartment.
On the one hand, we may be seeking these things as a status symbol. On the other hand, we may be seeking these things for our own comfort and protection. When we seek these things for comfort or protection, we are seeking to control the universe, rather than subjecting ourselves to God’s rule. We forget God is in control that He alone is the Sovereign Ruler of the universe.
We should repent by realizing we do not need to manufacture a certain status that gains us acceptance, love, or affirmation from the world. As Christians, our status before God should be enough because through it we gain genuine and everlasting acceptance, love, and affirmation from God.
Through our belief in Christ, we are made sons of God. Our relationship with God is repaired, and we enjoy the love, mercy, grace, and acceptance of God through Christ. As a result, we should not desire, nor do we need, the acceptance of the world.
Here are a few passages from God’s word to meditate on this week, as you consider your felt needs: Matt. 6:8-15; 6:25-32; 1 Kings 3:5-14; all the prayers in the Bible express reoriented felt needs.
All X-Ray questions taken from David Powlison’s book Seeing with New Eyes.