What does it mean that Psalm 23:1b says that ‘I shall not want?

This is an extract from CHAPTER 3 of the book I wrote called Psalm 23 Unwrapped available on Amazon- Enjoy!

I Have All I Need

We have explored the God is our Shepherd in the first part of verse one. Now we will examine the second part and ask the question – why do we have no need?

 Needs are a part of our human existence. From the time we draw in our first breath to our last, we have needs. Humanity has one main thing in common, and that is to fulfill our needs so we can survive and thrive. When David says “I shall not want” he is acknowledging how completely reliant he is on God as his Shepherd. “I shall not want” because God, as a good shepherd, will ensure I have everything I need. “I shall not want,” not because of what I have done or can do, but because God loves me. “I shall not want” because I know God personally as Shepherd. This is comforting indeed and makes sense in the light of the first part of this verse. However, what might this look like in the highs and lows of everyday life? 

Social scientists, Medics, philosophers, and theologians alike, tell us that the fundamental human needs are not recognized as every little individual need, but as a category of needs. It is generally recognized that there are seven categories of basic human needs, as shown below. These needs are interrelated and form a system that may look slightly different for each individual, and yet these needs are the same in all humans across all cultures and at all times. People in different periods of life will fall at various places on the scale of needs. This is the reason why there is no set order, which is why I have not numbered them. However, to remember what these  categories are, the categories of requirements are represented by S.U.C.C.E.S.S,

Subsistence

Understanding and growth

Connection and love

Contribution

Esteem and Identity

Self-governance (Autonomy)

Significance and purpose

I will take the point individually to untangle their meaning, determine the relevance to us, and where verse 1b fits into all this. You will find the meaning of the other points in my book, Psalm 23 Unwrapped available on Amazon

Subsistence is the need for survival, safety, security, self-care, structure, and control. Generally, it incorporates everything needed to sustain life. This includes physiological needs like food, water, air, breathing, excretion, reproduction, warmth, shelter, rest, and sleep. Personal security, work, resources, property, and health are the to thrive. It also covers self-care needs, like leisure, entertainment, healthcare, etc.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, cases of depression, alcohol and drug abuse, and suicide have significantly increased across the world. In order to survive and thrive, we have the need to control the structure of our lives making us feel safe and secure. During the pandemic, we have experienced imposed locked downs and unwanted social restrictions. The control and structure of daily life have, on the most part, been taken away, which has increased our vulnerability to negative influences. Therefore, finding help to put back a secure structure of some kind is especially important. It has been said that people search for meaning in religion at the most vulnerable times in their lives. This is true. 

We need to accept that our need for control and certainty is always unsettled because we live in an ever-changing world. The only thing we can guarantee is that change will happen. The people around us and our environment are always changing, and we can become exhausted with it all. However, change can be of benefit, and very often, it is not until we run out of our own resources do, we then search for something outside of ourselves, and many people look to God.

Jesus taught the eight beatitudes, which are in essence, about beautiful attitudes. We find these in the gospel of Matthew:1-12. Beatitude 1 v 3 says this… “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “

The poor in spirit are those who feel a deep sense of spiritual destitution and need before God, and so recognize the need for God’s intervention in their lives. Another word for this is ‘humble’. Humbleness is an intentional approach to gaining meaning and purpose. The kingdom of heaven is theirs, because they seek it, and therefore find and abide in it. In order to find the kingdom of God, there must be the emptiness of self (ego) before there can be fullness, and so poverty of spirit precedes riches and grace in the kingdom of God. So, in a sense, we have no need.

The Lord, who is our Shepherd, becomes and provides all that we need. This is because we have put God in control of our lives, so the supply emanates from within that divine relationship. In other words, we have placed our subsistence issues in God’shands. We are following the Shepherd despite the dark valleys of life. Consequently, we feel secure and safe. We adopt the conviction of needing nothing because the Lord is the Shepherd taking care of things, giving us a personal sense of life meaning and a greater sense of individual agency.

Pause and think about your life and experiences to find a unique sense of life purpose and significance. It might be worth to give it some thought to how your Shepherd is providing for you.

Why we are a Greedy western society- Need or Greed?

This is a short expert from my book, Psalm 23 Unwrapped, available from Amazon to give you a flavor of the content- enjoy!

How can I tell if it’s a Need or just Greed?

If we have all that we need, why do we keep gathering those things to ourselves that we think we think are necessary?

I think we can have a distorted view of what our needs really are. These days we are bombarded with advertising that sells us stuff that we are told we need before we knew we needed it! We have grown up with continual advertising negatively affecting our psyche. Marketing is part of our moment-by-moment lives and we are so accustomed to it, that we respond quite unconsciously to advertising. In fact, social science confirms that we very rarely buy something unless we have been sold the idea at least 5 to 7 times.

We usually do not respond to advertisements unless we are inundated with pictures of that beautiful item that we didn’t know we needed. The item pushed on us may be a little bit outside of our budget, but we disregard that. Our heart starts pounding, and we respond somewhat emotionally. We convince ourselves with self-talk like-

 ‘Well, perhaps I do need this, perhaps this would help me to make my life easier, or maybe this will make me happierAll my friends have this, so perhaps I really do need this.’

Having persuaded ourselves, we take ourselves down to the shops, or we click the buy button on our laptops, and before you know it, we are a little poorer than we were 5mins ago. The day comes when our parcel arrives, or we walk out of the shop, and we look at this beautiful thing wondering what the heck am I going to do with it?!!

We are all familiar with this kind of lifestyle, it is very typical of our modern lives, which often leaves us dissatisfied. We try to fulfill our category of needs through ‘things’, but it doesn’t work. We find ourselves wanting more, striving for more. We get ourselves in debt, so we have difficulty sleeping at night with worry. We assure ourselves that we need more and more to justify our spending. Perhaps we have lost the real sense of the word – need

Is that the true meaning of Psalm 23:1b I shall not want? I think not. There is a saying that there is a fine line between need and greed and are spelled remarkably similar. We do not really hear about the word greed very much, and most of us don’t like to consider ourselves as being greedy. After all, it is not the thing to be. It is not a desirable trait to have. So, we never really think about greed very much at all. But in actuality, that is what most of us struggle with – greed.

 We are a greedy society and encouraged to be so through advertising. Greed is when you are not satisfied with the perfectly good things that you have, and you want more, and more, and more – and more!

 Advertisers tell us what we need, and some people will do absolutely anything to get more. The scary thing is that some folks will commit murder or robbery, and all sorts of other horrible things to get what they think that they need, but really, it is under the guise of greed.

So, if I shall not want has nothing to do with greed, what does it really mean then? I invite you to read my book to find out!

How to Take Action in 3 easy Steps: God won’t manage your life; that’s your job!

As a follower of Christ, we need to allow God to led us step by step. However, that does not mean that we don’t set goals or work on projects. One the contrary. God calls us to a vision and a mission to act upon. God places the acting upon our shoulders. It’s entirely up to you to put the call God placed upon your life into action.  Goals and project help to fulfil your objectives to implement Gods call on your life.

Step 1

Identify your goals.

Step 2

Sort the goals into projects.

Step 3

Break down the project into small tasks.

THE TAKEAWAY

Eugene K. Choi is a activation coach who helps individuals discover real breakthroughs in their lives. On his blog his Shares his personal faith struggles and  points out that God is able to work with whatever choices you make -good or bad. God is not there to give you step by step instructions on every decision you make. His will for your life isn’t about what you do but more about who you are becoming. If you become who God wants you to be, your choices will reflect your character. 

Over the years, I have found it imperative to write down all my ideas. I sort them into goals and develop projects. From the project, I break it down into tasks so I can bring the project to life. I use many different tools for this, like the Kanban board system. This helps me to manage what I believe God is telling me to do. God won’t manage your life; that’s your job! God put Adam and Eve on this earth to care for it and subdue it, in other words, to manage it. God has given your life to care for and to be the manager of it. God is the leader and your cheerleader, but it is YOU who puts it all into practice.

START WITH PRAYER

It’s not too late to set your goals and projects and set out your tasks. Where to start? I encourage you to start with prayer and, if necessary, fasting. Talk to God as with a friend. Ground-breaking prayers are often the simplest and most sincere cries of Your heart. Be diligent and set time aside; it might be half a day, one day, several days or a whole week. Whatever is suitable for you, make sure that you have a journal and write absolutely everything down those pops into your head. Jot it all down that is illuminated from Gods Word or that somebody says that resonates. If you write them down, you won’t forget them or misunderstand the concept, and you can see the pattern, the ebb a flow in them. We see God in the patterns and the movements of creation, and we can perceive God’s will in the movements and the patterns of our lives..

THE TAKEAWAY

Over the years, I have found it imperative to write all my ideas, thoughts, and God words to me down. I sort then into goals and develop projects from them. From the project, I break it down into tasks so I can bring the project to life. I use many different tools for this, like the Kanban board system. This helps me to manage what I believe God is telling me to do. God won’t manage your life; that’s your job! God put Adam and Eve on this earth to care for it and subdue it, in other words, to manage it. God has given your life to care for and to be the manager of it. God is the leader and your cheerleader, but it is YOU who puts it all into practice.

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Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post!

Paula Rose Parish

Happy New Year 2019!

I want to thank you for the lovely cards and well wishes I received from you over Christmas, much appreciated, and I look forward to fellowshipping with you this year, please contact me to make a time for me to visit with you. The Christmas season can be a wonderful time and is still here until Epiphany arrives on the 6th January.  Somehow, I don’t think we consider the 12 days of Christmas from 25 Dec -5 Jan; which can be a time to regroup after a hectic Christmas holiday. Jesus told us to give no thought for tomorrow – Matthew 6:34 Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. But he’s is NOT saying don’t plan. He is talking about the unknown that tomorrow might bring and worrying about it and missing the blessings of today. He is talking about living in the NOW, enjoying this moment because you will never experience this moment, this day ever again. Jeremiah 29:1 says… For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. So, God is into plans, and our plans should match His for us so we can be happy.

I belong to a health club. Each year they bring in new gym equipment, I guess to keep the people interested. The place is packed out in January, but come February, things get back to normal and my guess is that most people have given up on their New Year’s resolutions- to get thinner, fitter and healthier. There is nothing wrong with New Year’s resolutions because it’s all about a fresh start, I made some and many of us try hard to keep them. The good news is that with each new year, comes an opportunity for a fresh start. But then, this is so each week. Every Sunday is the first day of the week which affords us a new beginning and we can put the past week well and truly behind us. Learning from its lessons and starting again for a new week afresh. Indeed, we could go further and say Gods mercies are New Every morning, Lamentations 3:22-23. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. And we see this pattern in the first three words in the Bible – in the beginning – there is a new start from the dawn of time, from chaos to light. In Gods’ world, there’s always a beginning, no matter if it’s the first, second third or more!

For many of us, 2019 is a blank page. You may have some appointments, holidays and plans in your new diary, but by and large, it’s not all filled in. So, what are you going to do with this time, this gift of time given to all of us? We could squander it, or we could use it for Gods glory while drawing on His new mercies every morning. It starts with us giving our all to God. Ask God to be your time clock, for His will to be done for the day. Then you will find, come hell or high water that it is all in his plan. Maybe you are being tested and need to learn something that no other circumstance can teach. Having said that, I don’t believe God tests us with sickness or disease, and there are several good theological reasons why I say that, however, God does use all circumstances and will turn them around for our good if we give it to Him and trust Him. Whatever happens this year, Christ is all in all and loves You very much- give him a go and see yourself grow, in faith, love, a hope of a bright tomorrow. The fresh start may be a part of His loving plan as you put yourself in his loving hand, today, tomorrow and all year long!

God bless you all and Happy New Year!!!