“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, NIV).
As an inmate in a squalid Roman prison, the Apostle Paul wrote this hope-filled verse to Christians in Philippi. Paul knew that one day soon he would be martyred by the Romans for the cause of Christ. That fact didn’t change his outlook.
Just a few verses earlier in that same section of the letter, Paul wrote: “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” (Philippians 4:12,13).
How could Paul muster the resilience to write such things at a time when life was so tough? What did he mean by “My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus?” And how could Paul claim to know how to be content in all circumstances? He was rotting away in prison!
Was Paul using hyperbole, or did he really mean these statements literally? Paul wasn’t playing word games. He believed every word. He also had full assurance that these promises apply to anyone who chooses to follow Jesus. That makes them relevant for us today.
Reflect on your life and present circumstances. How do you apply these truths to your life?
First, let’s look at verses 12 and 13. Is contentment really within your grasp regardless of your situation? Paul says “yes!” Notice that he had learned the secret of being content. In other words, contentment is not automatic. I believe the veteran apostle got to know God in a very intimate way through the many trials he experienced—that God loved him and would always be present in Paul’s life no matter what. Knowing this, Paul wanted nothing except to do God’s will. No matter how difficult his life on earth got, he knew he was a pilgrim passing through. His real citizenship was in heaven, and one day soon he would be with the Lord for all of eternity.
Is this your perspective? Do you believe that contentment is attainable for you? You, too, can learn to be content as you get to know God in a more intimate way. You, too, can learn to be content even through difficult trials because the Lord loves you, is present with you, and wants to conform you into the image of His son, Jesus Christ. Just think—someday you’ll be transported to heaven where there is no pain, no tears, and no sorrow. You’ll instantly know that whatever the cost, heaven is worth it.
Second, it’s important to understand that God will provide for every need you have, but your list of needs probably doesn’t match what the Lord has on His list. Let’s be honest—in America, God has supplied far beyond our needs. The never-ending tsunami of ads targeting our fleshly desires has not only left many Americans with an unquenchable appetite for more, but also with a mindset that classifies everything as a need. Further, retailers have done a good job convincing us that every so-called need they identify is something we deserve. When God doesn’t supply all our needs (using our judgment, not His), wrong thinking can lead us to believe Philippians 4:19 is simply not true. So we blame God. Can you see how misinterpreting Scripture can damage our relationship with our Provider?
The Lord guides you in a similar manner. Remember, the Lord created you. He has known you since before the foundation of the world. He has good plans for you, plans with hope and a future (see Jeremiah 29:11). The best plan for your life is the one God has designed for you. He knows your needs and your wants. That said, Jehovah Jireh (the name means God is our provider) will provide everything you need. You can trust Him to provide.
In closing, let me challenge you to do something. Think back on your life and recall times when you or a loved one had a desperate need, and it was beyond your ability to meet that need. I’m thinking of our lovely granddaughter, Jillian. I vividly recall the situation in the days leading up to her birth. Doctors recommended that Jillian be aborted. The problems she experienced in her mother’s womb made it highly unlikely she would even survive at birth, much less live any kind of normal life.
Our son and his wife viewed things differently. They trusted that God knew their desperate need and would provide. They said “no” to abortion. Today, Jillian is a lovely young lady who recently celebrated her 13th birthday.
Jehovah Jireh knows you inside and out. You can trust that He will provide “all of your needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus.”