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Magazine > Content

God's Promise to Provide

By Charles F. Stanley

Thanksgiving is a special opportunity to express our gratitude to God for His provisions and blessing throughout the year. But let me ask you a question. Are there any needs in your life that have not yet been met? Maybe after months of looking for a job, you are still unemployed. Or could it be that you are facing a lingering health issue that is still unresolved? Perhaps you are longing for a spouse, but the Lord has not yet led you to that special person.

I often meet Christians who tell me they have prayed about a certain matter, asking God to provide for their need, but He hasn’t done it. They are confused and wonder why the Lord didn’t answer their prayer. After all, doesn’t He say in Philippians 4:19, “My God will supply all your needs”? If you find yourself in the same situation, do you think the problem is with you or with the Lord?

The Expectation

To gain some understanding of this dilemma, let’s consider the basis for our expectation that God will supply every necessity. First of all, we have His promise, but its validity depends upon His ability to fulfill it. Does the Lord have the power to provide for you? Yes, He does. Everything in heaven and on earth belongs to Him (Ps. 50:10-12).

Since He is able to keep His promise, then we have to ask another question. Does He have the integrity and willingness to do what He said? Again, the answer is yes. He is always faithful to His Word and wants to give us what we lack (2 Cor. 9:10).

Therefore, since we have a God who is interested in every area of our lives and has the ability and willingness to fulfill His pledge, the problem of our unmet needs must rest with us. Let’s consider some common mistakes we make.

Our Mistakes

Sometimes we fail to distinguish between needs and desires. First of all, I want to clarify that having a desire is not necessarily a sin; however, some things we want are not really essential, and many times, they may not be good for us. What gets us in trouble is expecting God to supply things we long for which are not necessities in His eyes.

When I can’t tell the difference, I surrender my desire to the Lord, asking Him to show me if it’s important. Because I don’t want anything outside of His will, I ask Him to take away my longing if it is not from Him. Whenever I do this, He replaces it with something that is His will for my life.

However, some things we yearn for do line up with God’s plans for us. Whenever we want something that will contribute to the development of a Christlike character, He delights in giving it to us. That’s what Psalm 37:4 is all about. “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Our goal should always be to take such delight in our relationship with the Lord and in His plans for us that we want only what pleases Him.

A second mistake we make is isolating a scripture from its context. Many people will claim the Lord’s promise of provision in Philippians 4:19 but fail to take into account the context of that verse. This guarantee was given to believers in Philippi who were actively involved in supporting Paul and his ministry: “I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (vv. 18-19).

The principle of God’s faithfulness in providing for those who give generously is found throughout Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments. And according to verse 19, He’s going to meet our needs “according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” We cannot afford to overlook the context, because it gives the background of the promise and reveals that His resources come to us as a result of our relationship with Christ.

God’s Conditions

Let’s look at the requirements that the Lord has established as boundaries around His promise to supply all our needs.

Obey. We cannot live in sin and disobedience to almighty God and expect Him to give us everything we request. Psalm 84:11 says, “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Those who walk uprightly are not sinless or perfect, but rather, their hearts are bent toward the Lord, and they want to please Him.

God assumes full responsibility for meeting the needs of those who obey Him, but sin blocks His blessings. He will not support the sinful lifestyles of His children, because that is not in their best interest and will not bring Him glory. Sometimes for their own good, He lets them do without in order to bring them back to Himself (Luke 15:11-24).

Ask. Be willing to ask God to supply what you lack. What is your first response when an unexpected problem arises? Do you immediately bring it to the Lord, or do you resort to worrying, maneuvering, or trying to figure out how to handle it yourself? We are told repeatedly in the Scriptures to come to God with our requests (Phil. 4:6). Asking Him for help shows that our attitude is one of humble dependence and not prideful self-reliance. Even if we have the resources to take care of ourselves, we should still recognize that everything we have comes from Him.

Believe. Jesus often spoke about asking with faith: “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you” (Mark 11:24). Christ wants us to be so confident in the Father’s promise to meet our needs that we count it as already accomplished before we even see the answer.

However, I want to caution you about trying to use this verse to get whatever you desire from God by simply “having enough faith.” Prayer must always be initiated with pure motives, or it is worthless. James 4:3 says, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.”

Also, the requests that we offer must be in accordance with the Father’s will (1 John 5:14-15). Remember what I said about context. Never take one verse of the Bible and try to make it say what you want. Only by considering the whole counsel of God can we gain an accurate understanding of His promises. When faith stands upon truth and works itself out in obedience, then we have the full assurance that He will grant our requests.

Participate. God is not going to do anything for you that He has equipped you to do. Suppose I decided to trust the Lord to provide a sermon for next Sunday, but I put in no effort during the week to study and pray. Do you think the Lord would just drop a message into my head on the following Sunday morning? No. He has work for me to accomplish, and He expects me to do it.

Laziness does not merit any blessing from God. If He has given you the capabil-ity of earning a living, He expects you to work. I am speaking not about those who want to work and can’t find a job, but about those who expect the Lord to supply their income while they make no effort to support themselves.

Wait. God not only knows what we need; He also knows when to give it. Some of the things we’ve requested have already been answered by the Lord and are simply awaiting the ordained time for delivery. He has every provision planned and settled in heaven and is never late or early. He always knows the best time to grant our petitions.

If you become impatient and try to rush ahead of Him by doing things your own way, you’ll miss all that He planned to give you. According to Isaiah 64:4, He “acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him.” Although it may seem that He’s forgotten you, if you keep trusting and waiting, He will move heaven and earth to take care of you.

Accept. God’s way of meeting your needs may not be what you envisioned or hoped. Have you ever come to the Lord in prayer with an urgent request and found yourself telling Him exactly how He should intervene? We must be open to whatever way He chooses to provide. His path of intervention may make no sense to us, but by trusting in His omniscient perspective, we can often look back with amazement at the wisdom of His divine strategy (Isa. 55:8-9).

Prioritize. We must keep our eyes on the Lord, not on our needs. The proper focus is found in Matthew 6:33: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Our top priority in life is spiritual in nature—not material or physical. If our main concern is what we need, then we are not seeking the kingdom of God. In fact, we can reverse this divine order by trying to use God to get what we desire instead of placing all our requests under His authority, acknowledging His right to give or withhold.

Since the Lord’s priority in our lives is spiritual, we can know with certainty that He is working in the unseen realm even when we don’t see anything changing in our outward situation. Sometimes the externals have to wait while He accomplishes internal work in us or others. Although He is committed to meeting all our needs, He always does so in a manner that contributes to His ultimate goal of transforming us into the image of His Son.

Remember, our greatest needs are not the most obvious ones, but those that have to do with the development of godly character, selfless attitudes, renewed minds, and surrendered wills. That’s what we should be seeking and asking the Lord to produce in us.

This Thanksgiving season, spend some time thanking God for His less obvious blessings in your life. For example, even though He may not have given financial prosperity, He might have produced trust and contentment within you. Instead of healing physically, perhaps He taught you that His grace is sufficient in your weakness. And through loneliness, maybe He gave you the comfort of a closer relationship with Him. By focusing on the Lord’s spiritual provisions, you will gain a new understanding of His ways, and your gratitude will overflow.

 

Questions for Further Study

Since the apostle Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote the promise recorded in Philippians 4:19, let’s examine his life and see if he really believed the Lord would supply all his needs. As you read, look for ways God provided when it seemed as if He wasn’t doing a very good job of taking care of Paul.

1. Material Needs: Read Philippians 4:10-13.

What was Paul’s attitude toward seasons of deprivation? How did he cope? What valuable spiritual provision helped him endure (v. 13)?

2. Physical Needs: Read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

Describe Paul’s physical condition. Why didn’t God do what he asked? What spiritual provisions did He give instead? What was Paul’s attitude about the Lord’s answer?

3. Emotional Needs: Read 2 Corinthians 1:8-11.

Describe Paul’s emotional state. What important spiritual lesson did he learn (v. 10)? How did others help him during his difficulty?

4. Relational Needs: Read 2 Timothy 4:9-18.

List the various needs Paul experienced at the end of his life. What did the Lord do for him when others failed him? Where was his hope placed—on his present situation or future blessings?

Copyright 2014 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.


27 comments
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  • October 11, 2013 04:32 AM

    by

    thank u pastor i stll belive in christ jesus he we favour me,my pass pained me but i thank god for my live, no job no body want to help me but i now beliv in jesus,god bless u man of god amen
  • February 18, 2013 09:18 AM

    by

    I really wana make up with God cuz my lifestyle doesnt worth looking at...wil God ever accept me bck?
  • September 30, 2012 06:53 AM

    by

    this was a eye opening sermon for me thanks
  • October 14, 2011 02:55 AM

    by

    I am in dire financial need, one that only God can solve...i have been praying about it but still no answer...the owner of the house is already asking for the rent and yet none...is God angry with me?
  • November 30, 2010 07:06 AM

    by

    This article is just what I needed this morning! My husband might loose his unemployment benifits. He is working part time with the hope it will turn into full time job.

    I am going to trust the Lord instead of telling Him how he should help me! Like I did prior to reading this article.
  • November 29, 2010 01:57 PM

    by

    This message is awesome and so right on time. I have been listening to Dr. Stanley every Sunday morning for years and he never disappoints! Keep up the good work in bringing God's word closer to my heart each and every time.
  • November 28, 2010 04:36 PM

    by

    i love this topic...may be i can relate to this situation and this teaching helps me a lot...thank God for reminding me through this teaching...
  • November 27, 2010 09:58 PM

    by

    a thorough lesson to understand what God expects of us and what we should expect from our actions
  • November 26, 2010 12:04 PM

    by

    Thank You to teach us and let us LOVE our GOD internal and make a beautiful relationship with him. Thanks too, for inspire us that HE is with times like we are confronting.
  • November 26, 2010 11:35 AM

    by

    This is GREAT! and great, does not even begin to describe the beauty of this article of LOVE.
    Thank you!! Whom ever wrote this. What a blessing this is, in itself, knowing how to live my life. My love for God grows, i know from obeying His laws and it is so nide to know someone like you Dr, Stanley and whom ever wrote this CARES and has shown me how to Love God.
  • November 25, 2010 11:47 AM

    by

    I was blessed of this message. Thank God, He provided my need
  • November 25, 2010 08:30 AM

    by

    The lord will provide with faith, love, and understanding of his word.
  • November 24, 2010 09:23 AM

    by

    I am have a problem with forgiving myself with pass issue in my lfe. I feel in my heart that I have grown in this walk with Jesus. But there are some thing that still bother me regarding my pass. Please pray for me. I need the prayer and strength that released Paul when he was in Jail. I think about things that happen in the pass and they still bothers me. Why? Help I need help on this matter. Patricia
  • November 23, 2010 06:50 AM

    by Blessings

    Thank you Pastor Stanley for this valuable message.

    God bless.
    Sipra
  • November 22, 2010 05:37 AM

    by

    I read the article and I was blessed, healed and got answer to some of my questions.
    Also it helps me to understand when I ask something to God there is pre condition for his answers.
    Even those his word says ask and will be given to you; there is some requirement needed from us to get the answers.
  • November 21, 2010 09:01 PM

    by

    What an awesome lesson on God's provision for our lives if only we trust and obey.
  • November 21, 2010 10:10 AM

    by

    This was very enlightening for me as I am struggling with issues concerning a personal relationship. I have been alone for over 13 years. Praise God for Dr. Stanley and his God given wisdom. God bless and keep yall safe and well.
  • November 19, 2010 10:47 AM

    by

    This lesson was very helpful to me in my Christian growth. I saw myself rightaway in some of the things I've been experiencing. Thank you Dr. Stanley for explaining - The Wait, Accept and Priortizing paragraphs. It is crystal clear now.
    PEM-
  • November 19, 2010 09:47 AM

    by

    This message has brought me to a new level and understanding of God's willingness and promise to provide all that i need in my life.
  • November 18, 2010 05:48 PM

    by

    that passage was so touchy and it also gives me an idea about prayer how to do it and what my priorities should be.you see i pray everyday but sometimes i honestly dont know what or whom im praying for but after reading this passage i will make my spiritual life and knowledge of god my priority not my needs no matter how important i think they are,and thank you Dr Stanley.
  • November 18, 2010 08:02 AM

    by

    Thank you so much for this wise lesson!
  • November 17, 2010 04:58 PM

    by

    THIS WAS WONDERFUL. IT IS DONE IN SUCH A WAY THAT LETS YOU KNOW THAT HIS DISCIPLINE IS FOR OUR OWN GOOD, THAT HE DOES LOVE US REGARDLESS AND THAT WE DO HAVE A RESPONSIBLILITY IN THIS RELATIONSHIP. THANK YOU SO KINDLY
  • November 17, 2010 10:31 AM

    by

    A PERFECT MESSAGE FOR OUR THANKSGIVING CELEBRATION. A POWERFUL REMINDER OF GOD'S GIFTS AND LOVE FOR EVERYONE. A REMINDER TO ALWAYS PRAY, LISTEN AND OBEY -- AND LEAVE THE CONSEQUENCES TO GOD. THANK YOU, DR. STANLEY FOR ALL OF YOUR DEVOTION, LOVE AND OBEDIENT WORK. YOU BLESS MILLIONS, INCLUDING ME!
  • November 17, 2010 10:05 AM

    by

    Thank you for covering this topic on all levels of a Christians life. Very good counsel from wisdom in reading and applying the word. I really appreciate being directed to get into the word and "chew on it" this is when it becomes living and nourishing - not just head knowledge.
  • November 14, 2010 09:46 AM

    by

    What a true Blessing from God's Word , to put things in the proper perspective for us. when we get caught up in this life and drawn away. Thank you Lord, In Christ Jesus, Amen !

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