Andrew Maslow in 1943 in a paper titled “A Theory of Human Motivation” lays out the 4 needs of mankind. They start with the most basic need of food and water and end with ‘self-actualization’. Self actualization is coming to understand your potential and then reaching that potential. You will find the first 4 needs is all about yourself. Maslow’s teaching is taught in basic psychology classes.
Approximately 25 years later Andrew Maslow realized there was a 5th need – a need for something beyond you. He called it self-transcendence. This is finding spiritual fulfillment in realizing what is true, beautiful, and good. Basically, he was saying there is a need for something bigger and beyond you.
Transcendence means “a state of being or existence above and beyond the limits of material experience“.
The Bible agrees with this and makes it clear we can never be fulfilled or self-actualized just within yourself. When you were created a part of God’s eternal being was put inside of you:
the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7
No matter how successful, popular, wealthy, or wise you are in this life you will never be satisfied until you touch something beyond this realm – until you touch again what was deposited in you at creation – the breath of God or God Himself. He created you this way and no manner of running or denial will change this fact.
Solomon was the richest and wisest man that has ever lived. He had everything he wanted but towards the end of his life he said:
“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 1:2
Soloman learned the hard way fulfillment does not come from things or living out your potential to the fullest, it comes from touching the divine on a regular basis. In chapter 3 he learned this truth:
He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; Ecclesiastes 3:11a
Did you catch that? You have eternity in your heart! Whether you feel it or not something from God’s realm lives inside of you. To get fulfillment you have to touch eternity regularly.
What does this mean for us?
- Things and reaching your life potential are nice but you will never be fulfilled until you commune with God regularly.
- You can be fulfilled by touching God even if you don’t have things or reach your potential.
- Church HAS to give you opportunities to touch the eternal God or is has come short. The primary purpose of Church is to help open a portal between heaven and earth – between the material and the spiritual – between us and eternity.
- When you are depressed, discouraged, or in despair slow down and do what is necessary to talk to God and let the eternity He has put in you return to His eternity.
- Self fulfillment is found not in self but returning home to communion with God.
Eternity is the Cornerstone of all Purpose – Bill Johnson