I Shall Not Want

“Jen, Jen, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed” (see Luke 10:41).

Have you heard the Holy Spirit speak words like this to you? I certainly have. And I am grateful for His faithful witness, reminding me of what is true.

“You are worried and upset about many things.” True.

“Only one thing is needed.” Yes. Jesus—only Jesus.

This, my friends, is good news! We can be set free whenever we find ourselves entangled with worry, frustration, despair, or whatever else has stolen our joy. The key is to know the truth: the truth about ourselves and about Jesus.

Self-awareness is a spiritual discipline that—when practiced with a listening posture in cooperation with the Holy Spirit—brings freedom. I will never be set free from what I do not confess. Denial and stubborn self-will always leave me stuck.

As I listen to the voice of the Spirit, agree with the truth He speaks, and act on His promptings, I find the way forward to life.

Musicians, both ancient and modern, have helped me give voice to my confessions. David the psalmist frequently acknowledged His need of God’s deliverance—not only physically but also emotionally and spiritually.

Contemporary musician Audrey Assad has given me helpful words to pray. In “I Shall Not Want,” she asks God to deliver her from a variety of personal entanglements, including the love of her own comfort and the need for acceptance. I appreciate the specificity of her confessions. And I appreciate her declaration of freedom: “When I taste your goodness—when I experience the deliverance you bring—I shall not want.”

At times, our prayers may be a simple acknowledgment of a Savior. There are moments when we don’t know the cause of our angst, but we know the Source of our deliverance. Cry out to Jesus. He will hear and answer. But this is not an excuse for spiritual laziness. Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, we have opportunity to know the unique root issue of our heart. God knows the truth about each one of us. Jesus invites us to come to Him and learn from Him. He reassures us that He is gentle and humble in heart and promises that we will find rest for our souls (see Matthew 11:28–29).

So, today I bring my confession: “From a life of self-sufficiency, from the fear of disappointing others, from a need to be respected, deliver me, O God.” Once again set free, I declare, “Apart from You, I can do nothing. I turn away from self and turn to You. Today, I gladly receive from You all that I need for life—and I shall not want.”

I invite you to pause and consider what the Spirit may be speaking to you. Find your freedom through confession. Read the Psalms. Perhaps listen to “I Shall Not Want.” Find the words you need to be set free.

“Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God” (Psalm 31:5).

Jen Vogel

Jen served as national director for Alliance Women from 2015-2023; she serves in a variety of ministry capacities, including on the President's Cabinet for The Alliance. She enjoys reading, travel, and completing the New York Times crossword puzzle daily. Jen and her husband, Doug, attend Dover Avenue Alliance Church in Orange City, Iowa.

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