Updated: Feb 24, 2020
Growing up, money was a constant issue. Over and over and over we experienced money stress and if one thing rang loud during difficult seasons, it was my mother confidently proclaiming "God will provide!" My upbringing was not lavish, yet, I had all I needed, physically. I was never hungry. I was clothed. Had a great home across the street from a fabulous park. My grade school was a block away. My mother provided the necessities well, but, she was incapable of providing all I needed.
As christians, we have a heavenly father whose ability to provide and supply for our every need is much different than our earthly ability to provide as humans. Christianity is a personal relationship with the real God who unconditionally loves us and promises to supply all of our known and unknown needs, including spiritual, emotional, relational, personal and yes, physical needs.
"The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing." Psalm 23:1
A shepherd is one who feeds (sheep need to eat daily), leads (sheep get lost easily and wander off) and meets needs (sheep need guidance and direction). Without a shepherd, they are truly defenseless. Jesus, the good shepherd, laid down his life for his flock, supplying us a way to have relationship restored with God. Jesus knows his sheep and he feeds them the bread of life through his word. He leads us in the way we should live our lives by showing compassion and love for others. He supplies our highest need through offering himself as a sacrifice for our sin so that we may lack no good thing. As such, when we give our lives to Christ, we become adopted into the family of God and we are his children. As his children, we are heirs to all God promises us.
God is the source of everything you need to live. He wants to lavish you with his provision. The problem for some of us is that we think our definition of need is the same as God's definition of need. Not so. God knows what we need before we even ask, but what he supplies may not necessarily be what you think you need. He, despite what some prosperity gospel touters would have you believe, is not a vending machine rewarding big faith with a Rolls Royce or unlimited income. He supplies us strength through hardship, grace after a mess up, comfort during loss, peace in turbulent times, joy after sorrow, patience through adversity, kindness to show compassion and self-control when faced with temptation, and the list goes on and on. He is much more concerned about our character than our comfort and our holiness than our happiness. He wants to create Christlikeness more than reward us with wordly, material possessions.
When we put our security in things that can be taken from us, we are building houses and hopes on sand that washes away in the rising tide. Our health, our income, our jobs, our retirement plans, our families, our homes can all be gone in an instant. Therefore, our security should be in our one and only true source, our relationship with God, which can never be taken. When that is where we look to be fed, led and have our needs met...we lack nothing in being able to achieve his will for our lives. His supply is limitless for his sheep...his children!
"At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:18-19
What God gives to us, he wants to give through us.
In the above two verses, Paul is expressing gratitude to the people of Philippi for their generosity in supplying him with food, clothing and money. So often we see the last verse used incorrectly. Paul is saying that as the Philippians gave so generously to him, God will in turn supply their every need, only exceedingly more (according to his riches in glory). Paul knew and trusted deeply in his source. Notice he says will supply, not may supply, not might supply, not maybe supply. To Paul, it was as good as done. We should trust so profoundly too.
Love supplies. There is nothing you need that God cannot supply. God's goodness is not based on your goodness. It's based on his character. You do not have to be good, for God to be good to you. But he does expect us to "love one another, as I have loved you" and so we are bound to supply for each other's needs.
If I've tested God in one area, it's in trying to out give him. I lose every. single. time. Try it
Listen more than God.
Give more than God.
Be patient more than God.
Smile more than God.
Answer prayers more than God.
Volunteer more than God.
Lead more than God.
Understand more than God.
You won't win, but what you'll find if you try this, like my momma said, God will provide more than you could dare to imagine. And you will be richer than you ever dreamed possible, but not in the way you think you need.