Psychologists, psychiatrists and other learned men are now coming to the same conclusions through study and observation which Jesus Christ first gave man by revelation nearly two thousand years ago.
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. Time passes and we grow up. Yet our basic needs do not change from infancy through adulthood. Psychiatrist and author 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 heeds do not vary with age, sex, or race. A Chinese infant girl has the same needs as a Swedish king" (Reality Therapy, p. 9).
Why People Do What They Do
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 cannot be filled by any earthly endeavor.
What Is Missing
Dr. Robert Ardrey explained man's search this way: "I feel a restiveness in men. It is a dissatisfaction of a universal sort.... Its outlets are frequently senseless...." It is like "the hunger of a man who opens the refrigerator door, finds nothing that he really wants, and closing the door goes back to bed" (The Territorial Imperative, p. 321). 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 James believed that "the deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated." Alfred Adler postulated that it is man's need for power that explains his actions. Victor Frankel believed that the desire for meaning and purpose in life is man's most basic hunger. But none of these theories provides the complete answer.
Love Is the Answer
The latest and most widely accepted theory regarding this basic need is that the common "taproot" of all human action is our need for love! William Glasser expresses this "new, scientific" finding this way: "First is the need to love and be loved. In all its forms, ranging from friendship through mother 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" (ibid). It could be concluded quite easily that man's every action, be it good 'or bad, is an attempt on his part to fulfill his need for love. Dr. Thomas P. Malone of the Atlanta Psychiatric Clinic says: "Almost every emotional problem can be summed up in one particular behavior: It's a person walking around screaming: 'For God's sake, love me.' Love me, that is all. He goes through a million different manipulations to get somebody to love him" (Dale E. Galloway, You Can Win With Love, pp. 14-15). Some go so far as to state that love is the solution to all the problems of the world today — individually and nationally! Erich Fromm says, "Love is the only sound and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence" (The Art of Loving, pp. 111-112). "This desire for interpersonal fusion [love] is the most powerful. striving in man. It is the most fundamental passion, it is the force which keeps the 'human race together, the clan, the family society.... Without love humanity could not exist for a day" (ibid., p. 15). Glasser reiterates: "From birth to old age we need to love and be loved. Throughout our lives, our health and our happiness will depend upon our ability to do so. To either love or to allow ourselves to be loved is not enough; we must do both" (Reality Therapy, p. 11).
Science and the Bible Agree
However "new" and "scientific" this may sound, Jesus Christ said the same thing nearly two thousand years ago. Love is so important to the health and happiness of mankind that God's law commanded it and Christ expressed it this way: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself' (Matthew 22:39). 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. Christ called this need "the second great commandment of God." Karl Menninger 'said, "If we can love enough... this is the touchstone. This is the key to the entire therapeutic program of the modern psychiatric hospital.... Love is the medicine for the sickness of the world" (William R. Parker, Prayer Can Change Your Life, p. 83). Science has come a long way in recognizing love (as expressed in one of God's "great commandments") as the answer to all man's problems.
What is Love?
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?" Psychologists, philosophers and experts in ethics and morality may say that "love is doing whatever is reasonable and responsible to one's self and others in a particular situation." 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. Menninger is right. The key to solving the world's ills is love; however, some people's understanding of love is vague, subject to various interpretations, incomplete, and therefore unacceptable. 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 pas not and will never discover it via the scientific method.
Man Is Only Half There
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.
Science Has Only Part of the Answer
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" (Matthew 22:37-38). Christ here shows that God is that missing spiritual element and that He must be involved in one's life before true love can be expressed. It is for that reason Christ 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 Commandments and Love
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 "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. The apostle Paul also understood this. He said : "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law [here is where many stop 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 neighbour as thysel f. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law" (Romans 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" (Romans 7:7). The Ten Commandments of God are not bad, for it is by them unloving actions, or sins, are exposed. Love is the fulfilling of the law. But human love falls short. It requires the love of God, "shed abroad in our hearts" by the Holy Spirit of God. Paul said, "The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good" (Romans 7:12). Of course they are, for they direct one away from unloving actions to loving actions toward God, and fellowman, and ourselves. (For more information about the Decalogue, please read our free booklet entitled The Ten Commandments.)
Love Is More Than an Action
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 the motivation behind it is not based upon giving rather than getting. One could even keep the Ten Commandments of God by doing what would appear to be loving services to others, but still not have love. One could give of his time, money and energies but still not be giving love to others. This is so if the motivating force behind one's actions is not based on real outgoing love and concern for others. 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 profiteth me nothing" (I Corinthians 13:3). Paul in effect said that a person could give of himself to others and even give away all his possessions 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.
God's Love vs. Human 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 ill 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 ye?" (Matthew 5:44,46.) 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!" Christ stated the philosophy of human love when speaking to His disciples: "If ye 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-you-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" (Romans 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."
Receiving the Love of God
But how does man receive the love of God? The apostle Paul said, "... the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us" (Romans 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 Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Romans 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 Corinthians 5:17), or a "new man" (Ephesians 4:24). This "new man," composed of the spirit in man and the Spirit of God (Romans 8: 16), is truly something special. It is this "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..." (Galatians 5:22-23). Paul describes the characteristics of God's love working in man this way: "Charity [love] suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth — not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things" (I Corinthians 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, 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.
God Will Give You His Love
Soon God 'is going to bring to all mankind their hearts' 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 your soul longs for right now! God will give you His love, a bit of His very spiritual essence, now if you sincerely want it. For more on this exciting subject, write for the free literature advertised in the box below.