Wednesday, September 30, 2009

God-Actualization vs. Self-Actualization

What’s life about? For many, it’s about proving that they are a “somebody.” Some call it “self-actualization.” The late and influential psychologist Abraham Maslow made this term into an emblem for the “me-generation.” According to psychiatrist Sally Satel, Maslow maintained that, in order to flourish,

"Human beings must first satisfy their basic needs for food, water, shelter, and safety. As soon as these basic needs are met, a new set emerges: “belonging needs” and “esteem needs”…Individuals who felt safe, loved, and confident…could then move on to a higher state of creative or ethical being…"(One Nation Under Therapy, 60)

This is Maslow’s arduous ladder of success to self-actualization. It’s essentially up to us. However,

"Maslow claimed that only a small percentage of human beings, no more than 2 percent manage to reach this higher stage of being."

Not very encouraging to those of us who want to be the “somebodies.” Nevertheless, Maslow continues to remain popular among the multitudes, all assured that they are the 2 percent! Such is human arrogance and denial!

In contrast to this, in Christ, we are all important and beloved (Ephesians 3:17-20). We don’t have to worry if we’ll make it because we’ve arrived (Galatians 2:20)! It’s no longer about us, but about Him (Romans 8:31-32)! He has taken charge of our lives, and we represent His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). We don’t have to worry whether we are good enough for this honor—and we aren’t!—because He has given us the gift of His righteousness:

"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Cor. 5:21)

What a relief to be God-actualized!

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