Read Philippians 4:10-20.
“.. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. … my God will meet all your needs.” (vs.12-13,19)
Not everything I think I need is a truly a need. I think I “need” a Dr. Pepper every morning when I get up (coffee? yuck!). I think I need a better complexion, but you know, it still isn’t happening. I think I need some problem to go away, but guess what – it just might be one I get to live with.
We all think there are things we need. But let’s stop playing around – we’re not talking about soda pops, complexion or solutions to perceived annoyances. We’re talking about things like food, clothing and shelter, right? Now those are real needs, right?
Guess what? Those aren’t “needs” either. For God knows the only thing I really need in this world is for my spirit to be willing to be shaped more into the likeness of his Spirit. And if that means tinkering with the things I think I need in order to improve the opportunities for the one thing I truly need actually to grow in my life, God will do that.
For example, God is patient. And if God sees me in need of becoming a more patient person, he just might allow some things to come into/remain in my life that we call on me to become patient (cf. Rom. 5:3-5). God is gracious. If he sees a grace-deficiency in my heart, he just might allow my path to be crossed with situations that call out for me to see the need for more grace. God is spirit (cf. Jn. 4:24). If he sees me becoming more material-minded than I need to be, he just might allow some material things I’m leaning on to be swept away so that I can have a chance to see more clearly that this world is not my home and that I do not need to store up my treasure in the things that rust eats up and thieves can steal (cf. Matt. 6:19-24).
Paul understood that. That’s why he said he believes God would meet all the needs of every believer (vs.19) and yet had no problem with God letting him go hungry or allowing him to without “normal needs” at times (vs.12). That’s because he knew God was far more interested in him growing a heart like his – a heart of peace and contentment, for example (vs.12) – than he was for Paul to have plenty of food and stuff to surround himself with.
And the same is true for every believer in Christ still today.
You see, this world is not our home; we’re just passing through. We don’t need this world. Consequently, living as long as we can and as well as we can while we’re here is not at all what we’re to be about as disciples of Jesus. Instead, learning from God what he wants us to become in spirit and habit as well as practicing that through all of life’s experiences is what we’re about.
Heavenly Father, in Jesus’ name, help me daily to learn this secret – to find you and be like you in every situation, and with that, to be content. Amen.