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Natural vs. spiritual needs
- Jacob Ninan
We all have both types of needs, natural and spiritual. But since we are living on the Earth with earthly bodies we tend to be more aware of natural, earthly needs than the spiritual. Spiritual needs have far deeper roots. If they are not met, they can affect even our earthly lives and not just our life after death. For example, if we hold resentment in our heart towards someone it can cause us physical and mental harm too, like ulcers, migraine, arthritis, insomnia, etc. On the spiritual level we stand the risk of not getting our own sins forgiven (Mt.6:14,15). This can affect not only life after death but also the blessings from the Father here on Earth.
But as materialism takes a stronger hold on the people of the world, it also tends to influence the way we Christians live. Our prayers tend to focus on our material and physical needs. If we look at the prayer requests pouring in we see that 99% of them are about earthly needs. Now it would be altogether wrong and unrealistic to say that we should not pray about our natural needs. Jesus recognised that we have need of them (Mt.6:32). He also taught us specifically to pray for our daily bread, which represents all the things that we need for our life on Earth (v.11). On the other hand Jesus mentioned that 'life' is more important than food and clothes (v.25). We can understand it from what He said about the folly of having great wealth in the world (and all the fame and pleasure associated with it) and losing out on our soul (Mt.16:26). It is a matter of what is more important. We have to be concerned about our natural and spiritual needs, in the right proportion and with the right priority (Mt.6:33).
Our being consists of our body, soul (consisting of our mind, will, feelings and personality) and spirit, with the spirit being the deepest part of it. If our spirit is healthy and prospering, certainly it will bless our soul and body too. How foolish it is to take so much care of our body and neglect the root issues in our spirit! Many people are now becoming health conscious and take much pain to eat and exercise well. Many are also looking to self-help gurus to learn about managing their thoughts and feelings and becoming 'successful.' Relatively fewer people, even among Christians, are taking care of the health and prosperity of their spirit.
Many Christians seem to think that once they have accepted Jesus as their Saviour they have a ticket to heaven. Then they work out for themselves a 'minimum' plan involving church attendance, reading the Bible, giving money, etc., and think that once these requirements are settled they can focus on their earthly lives like everyone else! What about growing in the spirit, being filled with the Spirit, bearing fruit, receiving and ministering spiritual gifts etc.? In this way we not only become better people but also more useful to others. Isn't it every Christian's heritage? Won't it also bring a blessing to our natural lives (Pr.3:7,8).