From the moment of birth we cry out for the satisfaction of our physical and psychological needs. We want to be fed. We want to feel comfortable and secure. We want to be loved and cared for. When, as babes, we don’t get what we want, we demand it with a good healthy cry. Mother hears, and comes to our rescue.
Times passes and we grow up. Yet our basic needs don’t change from infancy through adulthood. Psychiatrist William Glasser states: “No one seriously disputes that in all cultures and in all degrees of civilization men have the same essential needs. It is also generally accepted that needs to do not vary with age, sex, or race. A Chinese baby girl had the same needs as a Swedish king” (Reality Therapy, p. 9).
It is obvious that our most basic need is for food and water. If this need isn’t met we will soon die of starvation. However, there are yet other hungers in man which, if not satisfied, will also cause serious problems and eventual death.
Human beings not only have physical hungers which must be satisfied, but mental hungers which must be fed in order to stay healthy and alive. For centuries philosophers and religionists have observed these mental hungers and have speculated on exactly what they are and the best way to satisfy them. Within the last century a whole new “science” has been born in an attempt to understand human needs – psychology or the science of human behavior.
Since the dawn of time man has been a mystery to himself, a paradox, a study in contradictions. He loves and yet at the same time kills. He builds and destroys. He craves excitement and the unknown and yet grasps for security. His pursuit to satisfy his desires can lead to great destruction as well as great achievements. What is it that drives him to try to conquer the world or to sail uncharted waters? Why does he want to run the fastest mile, climb the tallest mountain, or set foot on the moon?
It is said that after Alexander the Great had led his Macedonian army in conquering the world, he wept because there were no more armies and nations to conquer. With the world at his feet he still wanted something more.
In all of man’s pursuits there is within him a vacuum that has not and can’t be filled by any earthly endeavor.
What is the missing food man is looking for in the refrigerator of life which would satisfy his seemingly insatiable hunger? Sigmund Freud thought that everything you and I hunger for could be explained in terms of two basic needs: the sex urge and the desire to be great. American philosopher John Dewey said the deepest urge in human nature is “the desire to be important.”
William Glasser expresses that “new scientific” finding this way: “First is the need to love and be loved. In all its forms, ranging from friendship through motherly love, family love, and conjugal love, this need drives us to continuous activity in search of satisfaction” (Reality Therapy, p. 11).
As a matter of fact, psychologists claim that it is a lack of love which is the cause of all individual human problems! Glasser explains it this way: “When we cannot satisfy our total need for love, we will, without fail, suffer and react with many familiar psychological symptoms, from mild discomfort through anxiety and depression to complete withdrawal from the world around us.”
Isn’t it strange that the psychological sciences have come to recognize what the Bible has taught for thousands of years? One might think that science now agrees with the Bible, there is a great need for man to love others as well as to be loved. Jesus Christ called this need “the second great commandment of God.”
But understanding that man’s greatest need is love does not automatically solve all our problems. The question arises, “Well, just what is love and how should it be expressed in actions toward others and ourselves?” However, the weakness in this definition is that what may be reasonable to one person, group, or society might be totally unreasonable to another.
For instance, the Israelis and Arabs (whose differences have led to war) both feel their actions are reasonable and responsible. However justified a war may seem to either of them, it is hardly expressing love.
The key to solving the world’s ills is love; however, some people’s understanding of love is vague, subject to various interpretations. It is situation ethics wrapped up in a new package. Surely there is a better definition of love than this, and there is! But the answer is a metaphysical one. Science therefore has not and will never discover it via the scientific method.
What man does not seem to understand is that he is actually not “all there.” At birth he has within him a spirit. Not a “ghost.” Not a spirit being – but spiritual essence, in the sense that air or wind or water is physical essence. This spirit imparts the power of intellect to the physical brain. But with it he is incomplete, not “all there.” He needs another Spirit to make him really complete, to supply that which alone can satisfy his real need, which is spiritual, and not physical. It is the Holy Spirit of God.
And God is love, so God’s Spirit provides God’s love, a spiritual love. God’s Spirit is not only love; it is life, eternal life. It is Godly power. Man doesn’t know it, but that is his real need, and the only one that will satisfy.
Man will never properly understand what real love is until he comes to realize he has a spiritual need which is greater and even more important than his need to love his fellowman and himself. The secret of who and what man’s greatest need is was revealed by Jesus Christ when He said: “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Matt. 22:37-38).
Jesus Christ here shows that God is that missing spiritual element and that He must be involved in one’s life before true love can b e expressed. It is for that reason Jesus placed the command to love God above man’s need to love others and self. In order to properly obey the second command, one must obey the first. It is God’s Word that reveals spiritual understanding that we cannot discover scientifically.
The Apostle John said, “God is love” (I John 4:8). In short, God’s only command to man is to become as He is – LOVE! God explained His command to love further in the “two great commandments.” These simply show the parties to be involved in God’s one great command to love. Love God, neighbor, and self, God did not stop here in explaining His kind of love. He did not leave it to man to decide how His command to love was to be expressed. God gave the Ten Commandments to us as a further detailed explanation of exactly how He expects us to fulfill His two great commandments.
Many churches teach that “Jesus Christ did away with the commandments, and therefore we don’t have to keep any law today except the law of love.” This is a rather ridiculous and contradictory statement when one comes to realize the integral and vital relationship between true love and the commandments. The commandments are necessary in one’s life, for they direct one in the proper expression of true love. One cannot “keep the law of love” unless he keeps the Ten Commandments! The apostle John realized this vital relationship when he said: “This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (I John 5:3).Certainly they are not grievous, for they show how God’s love is to be expressed to all parties in the love relationship of God, fellowman and self.
Paul also understood this, he said: “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loves another hath fulfilled the law (here is where man stops reading, but let’s go on, for Paul explains how one fulfills the law). For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness. Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, Love works no ill to his neighbor, therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13:8-10).
Again Paul said: “Is the law sin (a bad thing)? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet” (Rom. 7:7).The Ten Commandments of God are not bad, for it is by them unloving actions, or sins, are exposed.
Paul said, “The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Rom. 7:12). Of course they are, for they direct one away from unloving actions to loving actions toward God, and fellowman, and ourselves.
Although the commandments of God show us how God’s kind of love is to be expressed in physical actions to God and others, keeping them does not mean we have the love of God in our hearts! Love is more than just an action! Any action is hollow if they motivation behind it is not based upon giving rather than getting.
It is possible that a person could be a wonderful servant to others and thought of by others as a loving, self-sacrificing individual, and yet do it all for the honor, aggrandizement, and acclaim that his services bring. Paul knew this and stated: “Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity (love), it profits me nothing” (I Cor. 13:3).Paul in effect said that a person could give of himself to others and even give away all his possession to the poor and still not have love, that a man could go so far as to give the ultimate sacrifice, of his own life, and still not have done it out of love. If just keeping the commandments is not love, what is? Remember the apostle John said, “God is love” (I John 4:8). Love is God’s very nature and essence. John also shows us that God is made of a nonphysical substance: “God is a Spirit” (John 4:24).So God is love and is made of spirit. True love is not an action or a feeling. Love is God, a Spirit Being! How interesting it is to see that the Creator of man is what man needs and that is love!
We have now arrived at our answer to what love is. God is love and is the only source of true love. And it is from Him that we must obtain the real love we need.
God’s love is unconditional. Christ expressed it this way when He said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have you” (Matt. 5:44)? This is an unconditional love. Simply stated, it is: “I love you though you may hate me.”
Mere human love expresses itself in a conditional way. It says: “I love you because you are mine or because you love me back!” Jesus Christ stated the philosophy of human love when speaking to His disciples: “If you were of the world, the world would love its own” (John 15:19).The world offers love, but with a string attached. It is an “I love me if you are mine or love me” type of love.
God’s love gives in order to engender more love, John explained the results of God’s love for us: “We love him (God), because he first loved us’ (I John 4:19). And “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).God’s love is willing to sacrifice itself in order that hate in others may be turned to love.
Human love “gives” in order to “get.” John referred to this love in the world when he stated: “Love not the world (its sinful ways), neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I John 2:15). A man can “love” as John said, yet not have God’s love in him. The “love of the world” is motivated by and in behalf of self, the way of “getting.”
But how does man receive the love of God? The apostle Paul said, “The love of God is she abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us” (Rom. 5:5). Either a person has been given the Spirit of God, or he has not. If a person has real love, he has the Spirit of God in his mind, Paul said: “ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Sprit of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom. 8:9).
When God gives man some of Himself, His very spiritual essence, something new is created within man. The Bible says he becomes a “new creature” (II Corth. 5:17), or a “new man” (Eph. 4:24). This “new man,” composed of the spirit in man and the Spirit of God (Rom. 8:16), is truly something special. It is the “new man” that can show forth the true love of God in his life and actions.
But what does man receive when he is given the Spirit of God? He receives a small portion (seed) of the very essence of God, which contains all His basic spiritual characteristics. Love is the best single definition of that Spirit: however, other “fruits” are revealed in the Bible. Some of these are joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (Gal. 5:22-23).
Paul describes the characteristics of God’s love working in man this way: “Charity (love) suffers long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (I Cor. 13:4-7). How wonderful a world we would have if human beings had this kind of love in their hearts and minds! Humanity has been vainly searching for the fruits of love for thousands of years. However, they cannot be found on earth, for true love, joy and peace and all the other characteristics of God are spiritual in nature, and can only come from having the Spirit of God. It is only the Spirit of God that will give man access to the deep, satisfying, happy life that man’s restless soul seeks.
Soon God is going to bring to all mankind their heart’s desire, true love, His Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ is coming back to this earth soon to set up the kingdom of God which will rule all nations and peoples with God’s law of love. Christ will put a stop to the total destruction of the world which Satan’s way is bringing. And he will offer God’s love to replace the mere human love that is now in people’s hearts.
You do not need to wait until the return of Christ before you receive what God made you to need so desperately. You can find access to the complete joy, peace and happiness that our soul longs for right now! God will give you His love, a bit of His very spiritual essence, now if you sincerely want it.