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Wants and Needs

August 12th, 2010

“God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches.” Philippians 4:19 NIV

“The wise do not spend before they earn, or more than they earn, nor all they earn.”

My thoughts today are about “wants and needs.”

It’s not a pleasant thing to have less than you feel you need. The problem is that too often your own estimation of how much you need is cushioned on the side of having extra. In general, we all want more than we probably need. It seems so obvious, but let me state my position clearly: the Bible does not promise that God will supply all your wants; God does promise that He will meet all your needs. Wants do not determine need. “God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NIV.

God’s promise is not a license for you to put yourself in need from excessive spending or improper stewardship, and then bring your voluntarily assumed obligations to God for payment. Of course, you cannot knowingly get yourself in debt unwisely and then expect that God provide what you lack. The promise to meet your need applies to the necessities of everyday life, not the niceties. Necessities are food, drink, clothing, and shelter. Jesus said, ”So don’t worry about having enough food or drink or clothing . . Your Heavenly father already knows all your needs.” Matthew 6:25-33 NLT.

Let’s consider excessive spending. Easy credit has put more people in financial jeopardy than any other single thing. It is not the borrower who benefits from credit; it’s the lender. Solomon wisely wrote, “The borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7 NIV. It is simple practical wisdom that you cannot spend more than you have without getting into trouble.

God has a promise to Israel and a goal for you: ”The Lord will bless you . . you will lend money to many nations, but you will have no need to borrow from any; you will have control over many nations, but no nation will have control over you.” Deuteronomy 15:6 NLT. Borrowing forfeits control to someone other than God. Having no need to borrow; that’s God’s hope for you.

Credit is fueled by financial impatience to have what you want, the seed of which is often a lack of trust in God to know what you truly need and provide it when you need it. People often have the process reversed, bringing to God the needs they have created, when God wants to bring to you what you need. And then people wonder why the promise doesn’t work the way they wish it would.

My Dad quoted to me what became a basic, financial understanding for a young teen, “If your outgo is more than your income, then your upkeep will be your downfall.” I do not assume that was original to him, but it was how he lived and taught me to live. I’m the better for it.

Stewardship has four dimensions to balance: earning, spending, saving, and giving. Care for the first two properly, then saving and giving are much easier to do; fail the first and the others are less possible. The wise do not spend before they earn, or more than they earn, nor all that they earn. That is how God meets your needs, and provides you the extra for saving – to bless you family’s future, and giving – to the Kingdom of God, and others. See Proverbs 11:24-26 NLT.

My prayer for you today is that you trust God to provide all you need.

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