The route to personal fulfilment

by | Jul 24, 2023 | July 2023 | 0 comments

“Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:39 (NIV)

You may be familiar with ‘Maslow’s hierarchy of needs’. In it he addresses key elements that people will look for to be satisfied in life. Apparently, the crowning need to be met, once all the others have been dealt with, is ‘self-actualisation’, the idea that people can be the best version of themselves possible, reach their full potential, and achieve everything they are capable of.

It is, perhaps, a sad reflection on our society that many people find that all their basic needs are met and so they are on a mission to try and find their ‘true selves’, although in a context where they have rejected God. This results in people seeking their own happiness from a standpoint where they feel there is no higher power than themselves. Author Kevin Vanhoozer comments on a trend he sees towards medicine and healthcare, diet and nutrition, and exercise and training, and he comments that this supposed means to self-actualisation forces the challenging question, ‘What kind of person do we want to become, and why?’ And the even tougher question, ‘What is the meaning of life?’

It’s interesting that the actual route to self-actualisation is in surrendering our freedoms and desire to see ourselves as the ultimate power. Instead, we become a servant and willingly place our lives in the hands of someone else. That someone else is Jesus, who is far greater than us, has our best interests at heart, and will direct our lives much better than we could do ourselves. 

Whilst there are people lusting after self-actualisation, there are those all around them who are not even having their basic needs met: for food, shelter and safety. Jesus showed empathy to those in need and dealt with their problems, setting us an example of what our priorities in life should be. While we could try and pursue fulfilment through self-indulgent foolishness that neglects our fellow humanity, the divine example is a self-emptying, for the benefit of others.

So, if you’re looking for fulfilment in life, if self-actualisation is your goal, the answer is to give your life in service to Jesus, surrendering your desire to be superior to other people, and instead, to take the form of a servant, willingly used by Jesus in service to those around you.

Father, thank you for your love for us, as shown through Jesus, who was willing to give up his place in heaven to take a lowly position of service to us. Please help us to have the same sense of priority, to be willing to give up our own desire for greatness and instead to be used by you as a servant to others. In the name of Jesus, the greatest servant of all. Amen.


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