Sense of Need and Devotion

The people in Laodecia had lost their focus, lost their fervor of spirit. They had no real devotion. The Lord called them lukewarm. Why? There was no sense of need.

We sing a number of songs that have their roots in slavery. Slaves were very religious. From such roots came graphic songs like, “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen, nobody but Jesus.” The need was so compelling that it produced a devotion in the most difficult circumstances. It produced in them a closeness to the Lord that’s hard for us to conceive today. It was their basis of great faith in the Lord. They put their trust in Him. In their heinous circumstances they had no one else to trust; they had absolutely nothing. “Rich” was not in their vocabulary. Neither was poor: “poor” suggested that they had something. They had nothing. In the midst of their great need they had Jesus, nothing but Jesus. Jesus became everything to them, and they were greatly devotion to Him. For slaves, there was no realistic prospect of a future. No prospect of any possibility to end the nightmare they found themselves in. No hope…but they found hope in Jesus.

It’s no different for us. From the worst possible enslavement, despair, and hopelessness comes a glimpse of heaven. If we don’t recognize that we need of salvation, Heaven means nothing. Streets of gold and a throng of people gathered around the throne of God to spend eternity singing praises to Him means nothing. But for people who are saved and recognize their need of devote themselves to God, Heaven is amplified. People who have no sense of need, who feel comfortable, independent, and rich have the same need, but don’t realize it.

Foxes Book of Martyr’s speaks of people who had a need; people who had an unwavering devotion. They are there because of the courage that grows out of that kind of devotion. They were people who were put to the test and died rather than give up their devotion to the Lord. What would explain their martyrdom? Need.

Martyrs understood the shame and pain, having watched others die. They knew the suffering both graphically and personally. But when you read about them, they did not have a sense of need compelling them to escape. They did not have a compelling sense of need to live. Their sense of need was anchored elsewhere. They had developed a sense of need not to dishonor the Lord. A sense of need that would drive them to accept anything because of their commitment to the Lord. When their life was threatened, they did not have to think about how to respond. Their sense of escaping death was not as strong, by comparison, as their sense of need to honor the Lord. They regularly and courageously answered, “I’ll not forsake my God.” They had a deep and well-defined sense of need.

We can’t afford to be like the Laodecians who say, “I have need of nothing.” Without a sense of need we will fail. We will not come to the Lord; we will not worship Him. We will not be steadfast in our service to Him. We will not be faithful in our hour of crisis.

Finally, we will not go to heaven without a sense of need.

“Nothing matters more than knowing God.” (Larry Crabb)