Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Needs vs. wants

Philippians 4:19-20

     And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Now glory be to God our Father forever and ever. Amen

     People love to quote this particular scripture, especially when they’re in dire need of something specific, like money for the electric bill or a new microwave to replace the one that blew up. But we each need to understand the context in which this verse was written.

     Paul was writing this during his imprisonment in Rome. Can you imagine? He was in prison simply because he was a Christian. He had not committed some terrible, unforgiveable crime, but rather, was trying to share the fact that Jesus Christ was the long awaited Messiah. That simple belief and proclamation placed him in prison, and it’s from that same prison that he is writing this verse, proclaiming that God supplies all of his needs. I’m sure he wasn’t experiencing comfort and luxury in prison, but yet, he gives glory to God for all that he has, without one hint of grumbling and complaining.

     Let’s take a look around us, today. Do we have a roof over our head, food in our refrigerators, and clothes on our bodies? If we can answer “yes” to each of those questions, then we have all that we NEED. Everything else that we own is just a bonus!                        

     What we consider “needs” and what God considers “needs” are two totally different perspectives. Does God bless us above and beyond our needs? Absolutely yes! But we need to learn and understand that we could function and live with a lot less stuff that we consider absolute necessities. If we would de-clutter our lives by just a small fraction, we would be free to serve God with reckless abandon. Many times, we are connected to our possessions by a ball and chain, forcing us to work untold number of hours in order to maintain and afford them. By just maintaining our needs, we would rid ourselves of so much stress and turmoil.

     But who is willing to give up the status quo that the world around us says is necessary? Who is willing to swallow pride and self-worth in order to gain freedom and satisfaction? Peer pressure is a powerful stronghold that continues beyond the high school years, and we all fall victim to it. I believe God is calling out to today’s generation to step out of the worldly, materialistic mold that we’ve all been shoved into, and begin to blaze a new path of freedom and radical discipleship that others can follow and emulate. It’s only when we get to the place where we don’t care what those around us are thinking or saying, that we can become more like Paul when he thanked God for supplying all his needs, even in the midst of a cold, dark prison cell.

     Where are you today? Do you have all that you NEED, but yet, desire more? Do material possessions give you the fast fix that you crave, but leave you longing for more? Challenge yourself to go a week without buying one thing that’s not on your NEEDS list. Consider going to God in prayer and quiet time the next time you long for a material possession. Consider taking the money you spend on luxuries and give it to someone in desperate need.

Have a great day!

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