By Jady W. Copeland
Man was created a being with physical, mental, psychological and spiritual needs. He was not created like the lower animals, but in the “image of God” and with the characteristics of God. From the dust of the ground God made the body of Adam (Gen. 2:7) and “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7). Thus, He made the body and gave him physical life to animate the body. But also, God made him “in the image of God” (Gen. 1:27) and thus gave him a “spirit” that will never die. Each part of man has “needs” and it is significant that the Bible reveals that God who not only created man, but also had the power, wisdom and willingness to supply every part of man with every need which his creation has. This is not only a tribute to an all-merciful God, but evidence of One who knows all things and is able to supply all things. There is no physical need or appetite that God has not satisfied in the realms of nature. He gave man lungs, but what good would they be without air to complement them? We get hungry, but He provided food to satisfy that hunger. There are literally thousands of illustrations that could be given to show that every physical need that man has, an all-wise God made provisions for satisfying.
The same is true in the mental or psychological realm. God gave man a mind to use for His glory; there is no need we have but that God satisfied for man’s mental health. Likewise, it is true that man has a longing for spiritual worship, service and devotion to a higher being. God provided for this need as He gave us provisions for worship and service to the One who desires, deserves and describes this worship. Let us look briefly into the three areas to see how perfectly and logically God provides for our needs. If He knew our needs and would not provide them, He is not a merciful God. If He knew our needs and could not provide them, He is not all-powerful. If He could but did not know how, He is not an all-wise God.
Man, being a physical being, needs food, water, air and other elements that sustain the body. God told man from the beginning, or soon afterwards, that he would have to work and provide for his food by the “sweat of thy face” (Gen. 3:19). We have a generation of people now that need this lesson more than at any time in the history of our nation. Like the TV advertisement says, we need to obtain our money the “old fashioned way,” by “earning it” (read 2 Thess. 3:10; Eph. 4:28; 1 Thess. 4:11). The “me generation” seems to think that the government, mother and daddy, or someone owes them a living; about the only “four-letter” word they are not familiar with is “work.” But God’s provision for man to make his way is by earning a living; when this is done, everything needed is provided by an all-wise and loving God. God does not promise us that we will be wealthy, but He does promise the Christian that he will be provided for in the material things (Matt. 6:33).
Likewise in the psychological or mental realm of our being (which you may want to put in the physical area as well), God has provided for health. Someone has said that three things are necessary for mental health: (1) Something to do, (2) someone to love, and (3) something to look forward to. This being true, we see God’s wisdom, mercy, and power in providing for mental health. He overlooked nothing.
God gave us plenty of work to keep us busy. We work eight hours per day in providing a living for our families, as noted in the first part of the article. And if we get seven or eight hours of sleep (which makes for health) and take an hour or two for eating our food, that leaves us only seven or eight hours for all the other activities of life. Much of this time is spent merely in the business of living. For the man, the chores around the home (and the same for the woman in the home) keep him busy. For the child, there is the activity that is good and necessary for a healthy person that is done aside from school and related activities. But there is something missing in this budget of our time and that is the spiritual activities that God provides. The Christian has more to do in the matter of teaching others, telling neighbors and friends about the Christ than he will ever get done. The problem is that we often do not sit down and budget our time and give place for such spiritual activity. If we don’t, it is too easy to put it off. We know that our neighbor needs the gospel and we know that “Uncle John” and “Aunt Mary” have never heard the gospel, but we have just “never gotten around to talking to them.” If mental health is partly based on keeping busy, then God thought of that and gave us more to do than we will ever get done. Perhaps that is why he said, “Look therefore carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise; redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15-16).
Secondly to have mental health, we must have someone to love. God fixed that, too. As babes, He gave us parents to love. (I’m afraid the Women’s Liberation Movement has decided that is not necessary, for they largely reject the idea that children need a home.) Yet authorities tell us that the love a child gets early in life and the way he is treated has much to do with his mental health. Then, we have brothers and sisters to love, and a relationship which, if managed properly, teaches us how to get along with others. Then there is God’s provisions for love of husband and wife in the home (read Eph. 5:22-25 and Titus 2:3-4). Again in spite of the Women’s Liberation Movement, God knew what He was doing. And finally we recall the statement of our Lord who said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second like unto it is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matt. 22:37-39). Love can be known only by the action it prompts, and if we “demonstrate” our real and genuine love for God and fellow-man, not only will we spend a lot of time in His service (note the previous point), but we are supplying a great need that makes us mentally healthy as well. In fact, life is just one great span of loving someone. The trouble is that too many have mis-placed their affections, and love the world and worldly things instead of properly placing their love on the good, the beautiful and the spiritual things. Jesus said, “If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments.” A life filled with proper love not only satisfies this need, but it causes us to be a great servant of the Lord and causes us to fill a need in the lives of others we are able to help.
Thirdly mental health needs something to look forward to. God did not forget. He provided worship to which the Christian looks forward. As we approach the first day of the week, Christians look forward to fellowship with the saints. More than this, we look forward to heaven. Paul is the classic example of this as he relates in 2 Tim. 4:6-8; Phil. 1:21-24; 3:13-14. This world would become rather dreary at times were it not for the hope of heaven after this life is over. Yes, God has supplied the psychological needs of man in that He has provided love, something to do and something to look forward to.
And most importantly, God supplies our spiritual needs. A poor man who is something less than a great physical specimen can have a good life and, finally, be saved. Someone less than a genius can be a Christian and be very serviceable to his family, his community, his country, and the Lord. But we must be spiritually healthy to be saved. This is not to say we are all equal in service (especially in the eyes of man) but we can all be Christians though we may have different abilities and places in the church.
Man’s great need was a Savior, for he was a sinner (John 8:34; Rom. 3:9). God supplied that need in Jesus Christ (John 3:16). Without the Christ, man could not have had a sacrifice and man would have been hopelessly lost because of his sin. God, being rich in mercy, was willing to provide that sacrifice – the only person who ever lived who could have satisifed that need. The sin in which man found himself has been described as bondage (John 8:34; Rom. 6:16-17). It has been described as darkness, but Jesus brought us light that shined in darkness and His word is spoken of as “light” (John 1:4-9). Man needs spiritual guidance and God provides this too (Jer. 10:23; Prov. 14:12). Man needed an avenue of worship, and God provided the way (John 4:24). As the song says, “Oh, what a Savior.”
The brethren supplied Paul’s needs at Philippi or from Philippi while in prison (Phil. 4:10-18) but then he closed his letter to these brethren by saying, “And my God shall supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). 1 am grateful that I serve a God who knows what I need, has the power to give what I need, and is merciful in my weaknesses to supply every need. What about you?
Guardian of Truth XXV: 20, pp. 305, 315
May 14, 1981