Being a child development major I became very familiar with Maslow's hierarchy of needs, but never quite agreed with it. Maslow's theory states that without the fundamental and basic needs or 'deficiency needs', a person cannot 'self actualize' or in other words realize their potential. Realizing ones full potential is where one is not only aware of their own potential but also aware that others are equally important. These basic needs that are to be met before a person can achieve this 'higher level' of existence are esteem, friendship, love, security, and physical needs.
But if Maslow's theory of self actualization is accurate then why are some of the poorest people who are lacking physical comfort, love, or security, some of the most 'self actualized' people you'll ever meet? I have been among children who have nothing but the clothes on their backs, but when given any food or a special treat, they will gather their friends to share what they can't enjoy without letting others be a part of it, even if it means they get a tiny little piece left for themselves. These children have no one to fully meet any basic need, but they prove that with God as validator for their existence, they have not only become 'self actualizers' but Christ actualizers. They are aware that their basic needs are met in Christ therefore they want to treat others as they would want to be treated.
It is obvious that Maslow was looking at human nature form a naturalistic view where, with the absence of faith, he is stating the poor cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Jesus came to turn human wisdom and revelation upside down and with his statements turned Maslow's hierarchy of needs upside down as well. Only the spirit of God can allow us to examine ourselves and show us our need for reliance on Him alone. He doesn't help us 'self actualize' to help others for that sake alone, we become aware of who we are before God because in His presence we become aware of our ultimate need of him, and how selfish human nature really is.
The sin of Adam not only caused us to self actualize incorrectly but it made us think we can climb this hierarchy of needs on our own. That is the exact reason Adam and Eve fell. It was the pride of man that made them think that somehow it is their right to become self actualizers and determine good and evil for themselves. How did they even know what the term evil meant when they were in wholeness and perfection up until they experienced 'evil'. Evil must of been any action done being separate of God in your own will. Once they chose to be separate from God this one time, when they ate of the forbidden tree, they chose to say I know better than the one who created me what choices I should make for my life.
This is still the spirit of the world at work in us, constantly whispering in our ear,"You will have knowledge of both good and evil, you don't need God to tell you what is good and what is not, you are your own person." We easily submit to this lie because it is so close to God's promise that His sheep hear His voice and therefore will be able to determine good and evil. The good news is that his sheep do hear his voice and because of that they will walk in the ways of the Lord. The bad news is that it won't be a voice saying don't go there, don't do that because your walking into evil. It will be a still small voice saying, "Come unto me and rest, because of your willingness to follow me only, I will guide you into the places you will go." Sometimes it will seem that God is taking us into evil, into deserts, and we will say, God why did you allow me to get led there, I suffered because of where I went. But he will say, "Where is evil in the places that I am with you, did I not say I have given you authority to trample over serpants and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy? That NOTHING by any means shall hurt you? Then why do you say you were without that authority in those places?"
Were Adam and Eve without authority when the serpent came to them? Of course not. They chose to say, "I want to be aware of self and choose what is good, I don't trust that God can choose correctly what is right for me, and even if He can, I want to be able to do it for myself!" They got what they asked for and sadly much more. Being in self awareness for the first time, they saw that man is not anything worthy of His grace. They hid and probably experienced the action of trembling for the first time as God came to where they were hiding. Thankfully, though a fearful thing it is to be in the hands of an angry God, it is also very humbling and heart transforming to be in the hands of a merciful One.
And that is how He chooses to deal with our sin of pride to this day. We can be fearful and keep hiding because we realize we've chosen wrong, or we can humble ourselves before our loving Father and reclaim the authority we have in His Son. Accept our fault as being the pride of man, unworthy of any good standing with the Most Holy One, and live in the calling of reconciliation and oneness where He will lead us not into temptation, but into His glorious riches in Christ.
May God direct you and lead you by His loving hand as you gaze your eyes on His eyes of perfect love and quiet your spirit to Him :)