Wants and Needs

Unprecedented affluence indulges an insistent immediacy.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NIV

My thoughts and comments today are about, “wants and needs.”

We often confuse what we want with what we need. You need a few things. You want a lot of things. Some things you want at the wrong time. Some times you just want the wrong thing. Life is complicated and disappointments are frequent, if you live as though you should have whatever you want and whenever you want it. Even if you had anything and everything that you want, you still would not be happy and content. You just wouldn’t; life doesn’t work like that.

What comes too quickly or easily isn’t as appreciated as things that require added patience  and greater effort. Unprecedented affluence indulges an insistent immediacy. Most of us have far more than our grandparents ever imagined possible, and even more than our parents ever possessed. And still we want more and want it sooner. Deferred gratification is missing in today’s culture. Today, we expect instant gratification that a former generation never knew. People desire to have the best and assume they need to have the latest as well, without regard to expense.

Right now is rarely wiser than soon or later. Our parents and grandparents saved for what they wanted rather than having the option to charge it. When did immediate purchases on credit cards replace layaway? Are we better for that? No one needs everything they think they have to have, and no one need to have everything they want. What kind of values and example are we providing the next generation?

There is a verse that seems chilling to our insistence that God provide everything and does so promptly. The “He gave them their request, but sent leanness to their souls.” Psalm 106:15 NKJV. Like ancient Israel, I fear there is a leanness of soul that has been the result of demanding to have what we would not first trust God to provide. Consider this. If you don’t have what you want and can’t afford its cost, maybe God knows better than you that your want is not your need at that time. The Bible offers a caution, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your own pleasures.” James 4:3 NIV. Father always knows best.

In God’s view, this is no small matter. I was stunned as I read aloud the blunt words of the verses before and after this one. God described this needless consumption and spending as an adulterous relationship with the world – seduced by a false lover, rather than prizing a pure devotion to God. Read James 4:1-10 NIV. Where does such an unholy attitude start? James words were clear, “You want something but don’t get it!” See Hebrews 13:5 NIV.

Have you ever wanted something so badly that you felt you could not live without it? That is an open door to debt and financial bondage. Debt allows people to rely on an unpredictable provider. Sadly, parents who cannot say no to themselves certainly cannot say no to their children and teens. And one generation’s debt addiction passes to the next, who simply adds to their debt while not knowing any better than to do so.

If you insist on obtaining by your own means what God does not supply, there is a leanness of soul that signals the absence of His blessing. Read Psalm 106:6-15 NKJV. My Dad once warned me, “Be careful what you insist on having; you might succeed.” And older and wiser, I would add, “And be the poorer for for your misdirected success.”

I would rather have less with God’s provision than to have more without His blessing. Learn to trust this truth, “And with all His abundant wealth through Christ Jesus, my God will supply all your needs.” Philippians 4:19 TEV. His source and resources are abundantly beyond your ability to measure or comprehend.

Today, I pray for you to be content with what you have and trust God for what you need.

Christian Communications 2018-509

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