Four Needs for Peace and Contentment
In my life, I have met Christians and non-Christians who have joy and peace. They are well-rounded, stable people. In studying these people and myself, I have found four needs in our lives that need to be met to make a person happy with life. The stronger these needs are met the happier we are. And if any one of these areas is weak we are negatively affected by it. These needs are satisfied by both Godly and worldly sources. The worldly sources only satisfy for a period of time, but the Godly sources satisfy forever.
1) LOVE: Everybody needs to be loved by somebody. Not for what we have, or how we look, but just for who we are. Not because of how we perform or live up to expectations. Good spouses and parents are pretty good at this but sometimes they let us down. God, however, can be completely trusted to love us at all times regardless of what we do, what we have, or how we look. He is the ultimate father. We are delicately and wonderfully made. And the only one who can truly tell us how much we are worth is the one that created us. He is also the only one that can determine beauty. In His eyes, we are all beautiful because He has different eyes than we have. He is not subject to cultural programming that tells us humans that certain shades of skin, hair color, and shapes are attractive. If you’ll look at the styles of previous generations, you’ll notice how fickle and therefor irrelevant people’s opinion is. The things that were stylish and attractive back then are ridiculous now. And the things that are stylish now will be ridiculous to some other generation someday. People’s opinion of us shouldn’t matter at all.
By the way God sees beauty in all of us, but He also sees slothfullness. The only thing that would look unattractive to Him is when we don’t take care of the beautiful thing He has given us. And it only seems fair that this is the only thing that we can change. We can’t change our face, heigth, hair (or lack of it), or skin shade but we can change how big we are.
2) SECURITY: Everybody likes to know that someone is taking care of them. Women and children have an easier time accepting this in the natural realm since men are supposed to take care of the family. But all people, including men, feel inadequate for the challenges of life. And this is rightly so because we are meant to have God’s help in life. Like the ultimate heavenly father, He wants to take care of our every need with out any favor in return. If we will learn to trust Him for everything in our life we will have awesome peace, knowing that He’s taking care of every single thing. Nothing will bother you because you know that if it was really important, He would take care of it. You’ll develop an attitude of, “well if it doesn’t matter to God, it doesn’t matter to me.” Remember that faith is real important here. The more faith you have the fewer things you will be bothered by. With a little faith, you will have peace when somebody cuts you off in traffic. With a lot of faith, you will have faith when your job is unstable or when your life is in danger. The Moravians demonstrated this kind of peace during a terrible storm on the ocean and it caught John Wesley’s attention.
Phil 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV)
3) PURPOSE: We all need a reason to get up in the morning. Most people are motivated by ignoble things like money, sex, and power that don’t really provide true satisfaction. The satisfaction they give is not only weak to begin with, it is sure to fade with time. All the things we seek after get old after a while. That’s probably why famous people who “had it all” take their lives. They “had it all” but didn’t have the only thing that really satisfies. When we have Jesus we don’t need anything else. And our greatest purpose in life, what we live for, is to tell everybody else about Jesus and have fellowship with Him. When Jesus lives in us He gives us love for people and we want to tell them about Him. See the Joy of Service page here on this website.
4) FUTURE: We all wonder what the future holds. Is it something we dread or look forward to? Not only do we have the assurance that God is taking care of us today and all of our days on earth; Christians have the promise of God for a great future beyond the grave too. When life gets tough we can always look forward to this promise of eternal life in heaven with God. This promise may seem too good to be true, but it is easy to believe when we consider how good, faithful, and true God has been to us here in this life.
The last thing that I could mention is not a need but an attitude. Sometimes our lives may have all of the above but if we are not content with our particular circumstances, we will not have peace. We should focus on these four important things above and be content with our circumstances. Circumstances like our job, lack of friends, etc don’t have to depress us. We can learn to be content in every circumstance if we realize what the priorities of life are. We are here because God loved us first, and created us to love and serve Him. Our purpose in this life is to develop a relationship with Him and to tell everyone about Him and when we’re done with that, we will die and go to spend eternity with Him. That’s all that matters. All the other stuff is just menial. Learn to be content in any circumstance like the apostle Paul.
Phil 4:11-13 I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (NIV)