Quotes about Felt_Needs


It is fashionable to follow the view of some psychologists that the self is a bundle of needs and that personal growth is the business of progressively meeting these needs. Many Christians go along with such beliefs… One mark of the almost total success of this new morality is that the Christian church, traditionally keen on mortifying the desires of the flesh, on crucifying the needs of the self in pursuit of Christ’s likeness, has eagerly adopted the language of needs for itself. We now hear that Jesus will meet your every need, as though He were some kind of Divine psychiatrist or Divine detergent and as though God were simply to serve us (Tony Walter).


We have tended to turn the Christian faith into “a relationship through Christ with a God who is the divine vending machine in the sky, there to meet our every need. ‘Unhappy? Unattractive? Unsuccessful? Unmarried? Unfulfilled? Come to Christ and he’ll give you everything you ask for.” We forget God is not primarily in the business of meeting needs. When we make Him out to be, we squeeze Him out of his rightful place at the center of our lives and put ourselves in His place. God is in the business of being God. Christianity cannot be reduced to God meeting people’s needs, and when we attempt to do so, we invariably distort the heart of the Christian message (David Henderson).


Felt need 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.


This use of feeling is also fuzzy and problematic. It loads implicit authority into our impulses, desires, intentions, choices, expectations, and fears. Far from being givens to obey, these are meant to be examined biblically. The words “I feel like” often obscure our responsibility for our desires. People act as if their “feel likes” were authoritative impulses! Deceptive desires determine choices.


The Bible teaches us that our “feel likes” are frequently desires of the flesh. Most of our “felt needs” are idolatrous desires. They are meant to be killed by the Spirit, not indulged. Such is the way of life, freedom, wisdom, and joy in Christ.


We should be careful about saying, “Jesus meets all our needs.”  At first, this has a plausible biblical ring to it.  Christ is a friend; God is a loving Father; Christians do experience a sense of meaningfulness and confidence in knowing God’s love.  It makes Christ the answer to our problems.  Yet if our use of the term “needs” is ambiguous, and its range of meaning extends all the way to selfish desires, then there will be some situations where we should say that Jesus does not intend to meet our needs, but that he intends to change our needs.


Scripture questions the whole purpose of psychological needs.  It talks about denying self rather than feeling better about ourselves.  It talks about pride, not a need for higher self-esteem.  Also, it is faulty logic to draw a connection between God’s commands and our ‘need” to receive what is commanded.  If you applied that logic to the command to “consider others better than yourselves” (Phil. 2:3), you would reach a conclusion that is clearly wrong.  You would conclude that since others are commanded to do this, you have a God-given need to be more important than other people!