Can God Meet Emotional Needs?
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14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
I. What is an Emotional Need?
e•mo•tion An intense mental state that arises subjectively rather than through conscious effort and is often accompanied by physiological changes; a strong feeling. The part of the consciousness that involves feeling; sensibility. - MS Bookshelf
"An emotion is a controllable response to a stimulus that passes through a learned value filter and expresses itself in a learned behavior. An emotion can be positive (life-enhancing) or negative (destructive), godly or sinful." - BC 1/99
”What is an emotional need? It is a craving that, when satisfied, leaves you with a feeling of happiness and contentment, and, when unsatisfied, leaves you with a feeling of unhappiness and frustration. There are probably thousands of emotional needs. A need for birthday parties, peanut butter sandwiches, Monday Night Football, I could go on and on. Some have them, some don't. “ - From Harley @ marriagebuilders.com
”These "personal" needs are intimacy with God, fellowship with other people, and self-worth....we must have unconditional love and acceptance, a feeling of being cared for, and a lifestyle that makes an impact on others with good and lasting effects. Our self-worth is enhanced to the extent that those emotions and qualities define our lives. Yet another way of describing these basic needs is that we need a sense of belongingness, an assurance that we are considered worthy by someone important to us, and a feeling that we are useful and competent. When I believe that someone important to me wants me and accepts me, I can regard myself as "good," approved, capable, and adequate to deal with daily life, partly to satisfy that person... Security includes being able to regard ourselves as loved, accepted, and cared-for as individuals. Significance involves being able to regard ourselves as important and valuable to others in impacting their lives for good. " - Minirth & Meier, The Healthy Christian Life p 139-143
"An emotional need, as opposed to a desire, is a lack, which if unmet prevents you from doing the will of God." - BC 1/99
II. Types of Needs
(Power, Pleasure, Possessions.)
Security Freedom from fear - sense of being taken care of. (Mt 6:25-33)
Significance/Worth Being: Loved; ..Needed ; ..Valued; ..Understood; Belonging; Lonely-Friends Worth-Validation/Affirmation.
Validation: I’m OK, my perceptions of reality are accurate, or valid; it is OK/not OK for me to have been treated this way...
Wanting to be liked; In control (shop til drop); Sympathy: self pity - poor me; Complain worry (taught); criticize others;
Justice; Competence: be strong, adequate; Social: talk, share = double joy; halve sorrow.
III. How God Meets Needs
Looking to another finite, fallible person to meet my needs is futile; it’s temporary at best, using rather than loving that person, stunting my growth.
An emotional need is met by awareness and embracing of the Truth that the All-Sufficient Creator God has initiated a permanent relationship with me and lovingly gives me everything I need to do His perfect will and have godly contentment in the midst of any circumstances.
Pour out your feelings to God (not people) being Honest to God (Matt 26:38)
Recognize that God is able to change you or your circumstances, meeting your need/thorn with internal or external grace
Align your will with the Father’s knowing that The Father Knows Best (Lk 22:42)
Yield yourself unreservedly to embrace and do God’s perfect will
Mr 12:30 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first...
Heb 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to Whom...
2Co 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
Phil 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. 19 But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ.
IV. How God Gives Us...
Affirmation (See Outline on Self-Worth) Mt 25:21 His lord said to him, "Well done, my good and faithful servant: you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter you into the joy of your lord."
Pleasure Ps 27:4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in His temple.
Comfort Ps 94:19 In the multitude of my thoughts within me Your comforts delight my soul. 2Cor 1:3 Blessed...the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort with we ourselves are comforted of God.
Perspective Ps 3:3 But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head. 4 I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill. Selah. 5 I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me.
Safety Ps 4:1 Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; have mercy on me, and hear my prayer. 6 There are many who say, "Who will show us any good?" Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us. 7 You have put gladness in my heart, more than in the season that their grain and wine increased. 8 I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. (Ps 91:5-7)
Defense and Joy Ps 5:1 But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You.
Assurance Ps 6:3 My soul also is greatly troubled; but You, O Lord-how long? 6 I am weary with my groaning; all night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears. 8 Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity; for the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping.
Worth Ps 8:4 What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?
Justice Ps 9:2 I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High. 4 For You have maintained my right and my cause; 9 The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. 10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.
Security Ps 10:17 Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will cause their heart to be secure; You will cause Your ear to hear,
Encouragement Ps 13:2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily...3 Enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; 6 I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.
Joy Ps 16:8 I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope. 11 You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Satisfaction Ps 17:15 As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake with Your likeness.
Support Ps 18:18 confronted me in my calamity, but the Lord was my support. 28 For You will light my lamp; the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.
Comfort Ps 25:16 Turn to me, and have mercy on me, for I am desolate and afflicted. 17 The troubles of my heart have enlarged; bring me out of my distresses!
Strength Ps 27:10 When my father and my mother forsake me, the Lord will take care of me. 13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!
Help Ps 28:7 Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.
Gladness Ps 30:11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness...
Courage Ps 31:23 Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints! For the Lord preserves the faithful, and fully repays the proud person. 24 Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.
Freedom from Fear Ps 34:4 I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. 5 They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed. 9 Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him.
Satiety Ps 36:7 How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. 8 They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures. 9 For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light. 10 Oh, continue Your loving-kindness to those who know You, and Your righteousness to the upright in heart.
Delighted Desires Ps 37:4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Loyalty Ps 38:8 I am feeble and severely broken; I groan because of the turmoil of my heart. 9 Lord, all my desire is before You; and my sighing is not hidden from You. 10 My heart pants, my strength fails me; as for the light of my eyes, it also has gone from me. 11 My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague, and my relatives stand afar off. 12 Those also who seek my life lay snares for me; those who seek my hurt speak of destruction, and plan deception all the day long. 15 For in You, O Lord, I hope; You will hear, O Lord my God.
Deliverance Ps 40:11 Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O Lord; let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me. 12 For innumerable evils have surrounded me; my iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up; They are more than the hairs of my head; therefore my heart fails me. 17 But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinks upon me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God.
Anti-Depressive Ps 42:2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. 5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.
Anti-Anxiety Ps 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear...
Restoration Ps 51:8 Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
Refuge Ps 62:5 My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. 6 He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. 7 In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. 8 Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.
Rejoicing Ps 63:1 O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. 5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips. 6 When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. 7 Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. 8 My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.
Care Ps 66:16 Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will declare what He has done for my soul. 17 I cried to Him with my mouth, and He was extolled with my tongue. 18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear. 19 But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer. 20 Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer, nor His mercy from me!
Comfort Ps 69:16 Hear me, O Lord, for Your lovingkindness is good; turn to me according to the multitude of Your tender mercies. 17 And do not hide Your face from Your servant, for I am in trouble; hear me speedily. 18 Draw near to my soul, and redeem it; 19 You know my reproach, my shame, and my dishonor...20 Reproach has broken my heart, and I am full of heaviness; I looked for someone to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.
Loyal Companionship Ps 73:22 I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. 23 Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. 24 You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. 25 Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. 26 My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 27 For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish; You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry. 28 But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Your works.
Being Understood Ps 139:1 O LORD, you have searched me, and known me. 17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with You.
V. Some Thoughts to Feel Deeply About
A. God is sufficient for all our needs (physical & emotional) and wants. (II Cor 12)
B. We all have needs, but not necessarily the same needs.
C. We need to be aware of our needs so we can go to God with them, for Him to meet them.
D. A desire is not a need; but is met the same way.
E. God meets our needs/desires when we have a right relationship with Him.
F. Part of having a right relationship with God involves yielding our rights and expectations. (Mt 5:29; 19:12)
G. God may occasionally, temporarily meet our needs through a person/the Body.
H. If we look to people to meet our needs/desires, we exclude God from the process. (Must look up not down).
I. God frequently meets our needs (particularly social) through ministry (denying self for the benefit of others). (Mt 16:25)
J. It is possible to experience abundant life being deprived in solitary confinement in Samaria/Siberia for sharing your faith.
K. In case you were napping:
An emotional need is met by an awareness
Extra Credit: Find the Biblical Truth (verse) that contradicts the following lies. John 8:32.
Some irrational misbeliefs that may be the source of a lot of disturbed emotions are: (MM Healthy Christian life p 140-141)
"It is necessary for me to be loved and approved by others.”
"I must always be perfect in my achievements and above criticism in order to be worthwhile."
"I can not help the way I feel."
"Because I am a Christian, God will not allow negative things to happen to me."
"My feelings are always a true sign of God's love, presence, and guidance."
”God can't use me unless I am spiritually strong.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion/Response:
1. Are feelings God-given? If not, where do they come from? If so, are they amoral? Why is it important to be aware of all of them?
2. What is the natural, worldly way of dealing with unmet emotional needs and desires? How and why should that change in a believer’s life?
3. If God is sufficient for all our needs, why do so few Christians take advantage of His sufficiency? Why the gap between knowing and feeling?
4. What should one do if one’s marriage partner doesn’t follow through on their vows, or fails to meet their spouse’s emotional needs?
5. How could Paul and Barney be beaten yet rejoicing? Suffering need, yet content? Were they out of touch with their feelings?