Addiction isn’t limited to substance abusers. The mark of an addict is when a want becomes a need – at least in his mind. This is easy to see when one struggles with substance abuse. In those cases our very body responds as if the thing we desired is an actual need. We call that process withdrawal. While it is painful to experience for the abuser, it is equally painful to watch when you love the person who is fighting for his life.
Pursuing wants as needs is not limited to what excites the physical body. It affects our thoughts, our emotions, and eventually our will. When the desire for what we want becomes too great, we find we have no resolve to stand against it.
Eve reveals this truth, when she saw that the fruit was good for food (a need), and desired to make one wise (a want). The very thought of the fruit ignited within in her a desire. She wanted it. She hungered for it. She took it.
Think about this, she had every food imaginable in the Garden of Eden to meet her needs, but she couldn’t keep her eyes off the tree that was forbidden. She believed she would lose something of herself if she couldn’t at least try it. It felt like a need, but it was only a want. She was deceived.
Adam followed suit. Not because he wanted something that he didn’t have, but because he feared losing something that he did. Adam undoubtedly remembered his earlier loneliness. After all, even God acknowledged it was not good for man to be alone (Gen. 2:18). Adam needed God. But he wanted Eve. He would rather die with her than live without her. So, knowing what he was doing, he took the fruit from Eve’s hand (1 Tim. 2:14).
In both cases, they had wants that they perceived as needs.
What do you desire so strongly that it feels like a need? Do you believe you’d be less of a person if you had to deny yourself that pleasure?
Satan is strategic in stirring this desire within you. God defined love as giving up what you want for a brother’s need. That’s exactly what Jesus did for us (1 John 3:16-17).
So be careful. If you get your wants and needs confused, you may discover that you can love no one but yourself.