I love ice cream and frozen yogurt. I love it so much, I could eat it every night. Sweet Frog is my favorite place to go. They have a variety of different flavors and a buffet of toppings to choose from. I’ll pull the lever to add chocolate, add some peanut butter, and whatever else I’m in the mood for that day.
Then I stroll down to their buffet of toppings: crumpled up pieces of Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, a scoop (or two) of cookie dough, a sprinkle of this and a sprinkle of that, and last but not least, top my mound of sugary goodness with chocolate and peanut butter syrup. If heaven had a taste, I bet this is what it would taste like.
Wants vs. Needs
If you can’t already tell, I have a bit of a sweet tooth. I’m always in the mood for ice cream. Eating ice cream is less of a life requirement (some may argue it’s a need) as it is a personal want to satisfy my sugar cravings. In all honesty, I should cut back on my sugar consumption if I don’t want diabetes when I’m older.
The things in life that we want are not always what we need. Do I need ice cream to live? No, but I certainly desire to eat it. The difference between a need and a want is fairly simple. A need is something you have to have to survive (i.e. water). And want is something you desire to have (i.e. wanting ice cream).
Physical vs. Spiritual
Sometimes we can become so blinded by our wants that we fail to see what we truly need. But occasionally, we confuse wants with needs. And other times, we refuse to accept what we need is for our own good because it goes against what we really want. The things in life we want are not always good for us. But it’s the spiritual needs that truly bring life. The struggle between wants and needs comes down to the struggle between the fleshly desires and spiritual needs. St. Augustine once argued that man’s most basic need is spiritual, not physical.
What does the Spirit Need?
Here’s the thing. What we want comes from the desires of the flesh. And we often neglect our own spiritual needs, which can lead to terrible spiritual health. So what does the Bible say about what are our spiritual needs? Some of the spiritual needs are:
Do not be Anxious:
We all have some form of anxiety driven by everyday life. We worry about whether we can afford next month’s mortgage payment, or how we will afford to pay to fix the car. We are stressing from worrying about what tomorrow will bring. According to the American Institute of Stress, the top two causes in the United States are job pressure and money. The stress caused by these two stressors is having a negative impact on our personal and professional life. And if you notice, both of these stressors we have little to no control over.
The cure for our anxiety-ridden lives is to know that God will provide for our needs and worrying about tomorrow is simply foolish. Worrying does no good. In fact, worrying can shorten the length of our life. So cast your worries onto the Lord and TRUST in His plan, and stop being so anxious. Worrying starves your soul of life.
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:34)
Delight in Prayer:
We should view praying as less of a burden of our time rather than a blessing to be able to spend time drawing closer to our Father. In a sermon preached by Charles Spurgeon on the passage from Mark 11:24, he pointed out we should look at “prayer as your element, as one of the most delightful exercises of your life; if you shall come to esteem it more than your necessary food, and to value it as one of heaven’s best luxuries”. How many of us look at prayer as a necessary food and value it as a luxury? We should find pleasure in praying and delight in our time with God. Praying can be such a satisfying source of spiritual nourishment if we change our perception.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24) And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. (1 John 5:14).
Lastly, Drink from Jesus
We can keep drinking water, but we can never be satisfied no matter what. Same thing when it comes to eating food. We may eat and be full, but we will just be hungry later on. But Jesus is the living water that can quench our thirst. In John, 15:5, Jesus says,
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
To having the living waters flow through us, we must read the Word that was given to us, the Bible. We should reflect and meditate on the Word of God throughout the day. And even pray on it. When we drink from Jesus, He will satisfy our spiritual needs. But when we are apart from Him, our spiritual health becomes dehydrated.
As much as I love ice cream, it will never satisfy me. We all struggle with satisfying our physical wants, that we neglect our spiritual needs. Our spiritual health is very important, and we should start asking ourselves questions to assess what our spiritual health looks like.
Reflection: How would you rate your anxiety level today? Do you worry a lot? When you pray, do you see it as a blessing rather than a requirement? Do you find joy in your time of prayer with God? How often do you read God’s Word and meditate on what He is saying to you? What habits will you make to assess your spiritual health?
Christian, Husband, Political junkie, Braves fan, Marvel Nerd, craft beer aficionado, and a sinner saved by grace. He has a passion for helping Christian men grow in their faith. He is the founder and editor of Joshua’s Outpost.
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