“But as for me, I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; Lord, do not delay.” – Psalm 70:5
It’s hard for Americans to be needy, because we have so much. Our overflowing blessings of electricity and running water and Starbucks coffee tend to consume us, when, in reality, we need so fiercely to let God consume us. What am I saying? I’m saying we need to be needy even though we have so much. We need to thirst for God not because He’s given us so many blessings, but because despite our prosperity, we need him just as much as if we were poor.
Think of the rich man who confronted Jesus. He asked Jesus what He must do to inherit eternal life, and Jesus said he must sell all his possessions and follow Him. The man went away sadly, leaving the disciples shocked by what their teacher had said. When they ask Jesus about it, he says, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:23-24).
Doesn’t that rich man sound like so many of us Americans? How sad to think that it’s literally impossible to go to heaven if you are rich, according to Jesus. But He doesn’t stop there. Continuing on, he declares, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:25).
So we as materialistic Americans are able to inherit the Kingdom of God? No. We as needy Americans are. We who, though we have much, have hearts that are continually surrendering to Jesus Christ, and freely giving away the wealth God has blessed us with. Because that is faith. True faith is when we live in the new life God has given us and test out God’s ability in our lives, instead of leaning on our own frailness.
Jesus himself said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
May we be poor, in the spirit! May we humble ourselves so God may lift us up in due time. We have a calling to be free of pride, free of sin, free of shame, because that is the truest freedom that exists.
So many Christians are afraid to go down the path of humility, of searching God, of reading His Word, of praying hard, and especially of doing good works. Because they fear of falling into legalism. They may not consciously realize they fear it, but nevertheless they either avoid doing these things, or grudgingly do them a small amount. So many Christians try to prove to the world that they are just like everybody else and that they love them, but the reality is, in order to truly love people, we have to be different from everybody else. Because in order to love them, we must tell them the truth, and we must show a love so different from the world’s love that they have to notice its radiance exuding from our faces. God’s love through Jesus Christ is so rare, because it is the love that lays down one’s life for another; it is the humility that says “no” to ourselves, and “yes” to God over and over again. It is such an aching neediness for our Lord that we continually place Him as well as other people above ourselves, out of our deep reverence for the King of Kings. And the truth is, making yourself realize your need for God does not mean legalism. It means joy.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” – Psalm 28:7
It’s hard for us to be needy, because we have so much. But nothing is impossible for God. May we care nothing for money, and care only about Jesus. Maybe Jesus won’t tell us to sell everything we have as he told the rich young man to, but I guarantee you, He will urge us to thirst for the Living Water, though we have it running abundantly in our homes, and He will plead with us to hunger for the Bread of Life, though we consume hundreds of loaves of bread each year.
Never give up on humility, even if you can’t seem to hear God at all. Take heart, for Jesus has overcome the world. Have faith that, whether He comes quickly or whether He delays, He is already your help and your deliverer. You don’t need to worry that God is upset at you, because if you believe in Him, He has paid the highest price for you to be His own. If you confess your sins, admit your desperate neediness for a Savior, and seek him in earnestness, even pleasing God is possible, for Jesus has redeemed your life from the pit with His very body on the cross.
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6