It has been over 70 years since Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Human Motivation and Needs’ was published and it has since gained immense popularity across the areas of business and personal development. The theory illustrates a list of human needs that must be met for one to achieve ‘self-actualisation’ and it reflects much of the contemporary psychological models that are focused on providing people with self-esteem. A vast industry exists to help people to begin to believe, express and to just be themselves, which is hardly surprising when many people experience low self-esteem that may stem from their childhood, broken relationships, tragedy, and the ferociously competitive environment of work and society in general.

Of course, life as a believer in Jesus Christ does not preclude anyone from understanding more about oneself because the quest for one’s identity is essential to fully understanding the characteristic and skills the Lord has bestowed upon you for the ultimate use of glorifying Him. However, a Christian must be careful not to follow the way of the World and to seek comfort from the thoughts of “I am great”, “I love myself”, and “I’ll do whatever pleases me”. The Apostle Paul writes to Timothy about the last days and that people will be lovers of self rather than lovers of God. (2 Tim 3:1-5). People should seek a balance where they neither despise themselves nor suffer from self-flattery and that balance will be achieved when people place Christ at the centre of their lives and seek to glorify Him rather than self.

The disciples James and John had asked Jesus if they could take up thrones at his side when he entered into glory (Mark 10:37). It is clear their request was self-centred and focused on receiving status, prestige, achievement, and success. Such a self-centred view is incompatible with the way of the cross and if Christ came to serve others and to give of himself, then that is what James and John had to do and so must we. Everyday we must turn away from the idolatry of self-centredness and from putting our desires, our ambitions, and ourselves before Christ and others.

 “If anyone would come after me he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me”

Mark 8:34

Serving Christ and glorifying God through denying oneself is the only way to finding oneself as The Lord Jesus said:

“Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it”

Matt 10:39

So, with regard to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Motivation and Needs, we must all replace those self-centred items and in their place put Christ, for:

 “My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus”

 Phil 3:19

May the Lord grant us the wisdom and knowledge to refrain from using scripture as merely a self-help tool, but rather as strength and encouragement for us in our perseverance through all the challenges we face by being a follower of Jesus Christ.