What Is “Need Love,” And Do I Have It?

Click on the picture to access CCEF Now in PDF format.

Came across this interesting snippet today in CCEF’s first online magazine.

[CCEF Now, pg. 3]

In a recent video series, Dr. David Powlison shared four resources [The Book of Common PrayerLuther’s 95 Theses #1 , Lewis On “Need Love”Luther’s Prayers] he has found helpful for counseling ministry. In the following excerpt from the [third] video, David discusses a quote from The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis.

We have so much to learn from our brothers and sisters who have gone before us. Christians who lived in generations before ours dealt with the same kinds of issues that we do. They too processed and personalized the Bible’s revelation, and some put those reflections into their own words in hymns and books.

That is similar to what we do in counseling because most of counseling is in our own words. Biblical counseling is not simply a litany of Bible citation. There may be instances when we open to one particular passage and spend time there, but most of what is said is in your words and in the words of the person you are counseling.

One living and rich paraphrase of the truths of the Bible is a quote from C. S. Lewis’ book, The Four Loves [read it here]. The quote gives a marvelous depiction of the fundamental nature of our relationship with God.

“Man’s love for God must always be very largely, and must often be entirely, a Need-love. This is obvious where we implore forgiveness for our sins or support in our tribulations.

“But in the long run it is perhaps even more apparent in our growing – for it ought to be growing – awareness that our whole being by its very nature is one vast need; incomplete, preparatory, empty yet cluttered, crying out for Him who can untie things that are now knotted together and tie up things that are still dangling loose.”

In this quote, Lewis captures something that has numerous implications. For example, he says that man’s love for God is a “Need Love,” but the way he unpacks it is exactly the opposite of the need theology and need psychology that is popular in our contemporary culture. When Lewis speaks of a need love, it is not a need for self esteem, a need to feel loved, a need to feel significant, or a need for excitement in our lives. He’s referring to our need for forgiveness of our sins and a need for support in our tribulations.

Lewis turns on its head the entire way that our modern world thinks about the nature of how God’s love and human need meet. We need God to untie the knots inside of us and in the world around us.

Visit our website to watch the full video and to search for other free online resources [on Apologetics and Counseling, and Other Pastoral Work].

One Comment

  1. Susan Z. Duggan December 19, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    I was fascinated by Lewis’ view of Need-love. Sometimes we decry our prayers as ‘just’ being requests for our various needs, yet this shows that much of our being is an “ought to be growing — awareness that our whole being by its very nature is one vast need…crying out for Him who can untie things that are now knotted and tie up things that are still dangling loose.” Thank you David, for bringing this C.S.Lewis back to my memory.

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