“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”
Easily one of the most quoted verses in the entire Bible. Sermon after sermon have been given, admonishing Christians to only want the Lord.
If we break that down to the basics- we should not want for anything, right? If the Lord is carefully and generously guiding us, then our hearts should be whole and we should always be content. RIGHT?!?!?!
Right. (Bet you didn’t expect me to confirm that.) That IS how we were created.
Back in the very first days of the earth, Adam and Eve walked in the cool of the day with their Creator, and literally everything was right and perfect and good in the world. They had everything they needed, mainly because their Lord was their one and only shepherd.
And then the fall happened. Sin entered the world and an ugly red stain covered everything. Men were subjected to worshiping their work and forever questioning their purpose. Women were filled with the temptation to first exalt their husbands and families.
And humanity as a whole experienced the depths of shame (Genesis 3:8-10).
So yes, we were created with a giant, enormous, God-shaped hole in our hearts. And yes, with Him, we shall not want. BUT, because of sin, there will always be desires that aren’t inherently bad (some are inherently GOOD), and yet still have the tendency to creep in to try and fill the hole that can only be filled with the One who created it.
David hits the nail on the head when he says “shall” (definition: expressing a strong assertion or intention). Even the man after God’s own heart recognizes that we ultimately INTEND with all of our best might for the Lord to be our all, as He should be. But even the best of intentions are subject to be broken. And that’s the struggle of living on this side of Heaven. We know that we should not be in want because the Lord is our shepherd. But the reality is, we will always need to run back into the arms of the Father to be reminded that He is everything we need. Time and time again, there will be wants that creep in and try to overtake our God-shaped void. That’s our human nature. But our rightness nature, whole and made new in Christ, will gently call to us again and again that there is no need to want outside of the fullness of the Father.
I truly believe that this will be THE tug of war in our hearts until the day we dance across Heaven’s gates, realizing we are now with the One who we have longed for for so long.
Broken humanity is not an excuse to worship anything outside of our Creator. Just because we are sinful by nature does not mean we throw up our hands and place our human wants and desires above the Lord. Yet, we definitely shouldn’t feel despair because we want outside of the Lord. This is NATURAL. Shame is not from the Father, and feeling guilt over wanting anything beyond the Father is devastating and not what He wants for you. This is where grace upon grace upon grace shines brightly in our lives.
But, I encourage you not to settle for natural. When Christ made His home in your heart, you became supernaturally righteous. So yes, you will want and desire things outside of Christ, and NO that is not wrong or sinful or bad. But also- these wants and desires should never creep into first place, replacing Christ. And when they do (because as humans, this is inevitable), the Father’s arms are open wide- reminding us over and over and over and over that He is all we could ever want and all we could ever need.