What is the difference between what we WANT and what we NEED? This is a discussion I have with most year groups at some point throughout the year. Although it seems quite simple, it can actually be quite a difficult concept to get your head around. We often come up with examples to help us. The ones we often use are: I need food, I want chocolate; I need a drink, I want a Coke; I need a phone to be able to keep in touch with my parents; I want an iPhone (other makes are available!); I need a roof over my head, I want a huge house with a swimming pool.
We have probably all used the term need, when actually it is something we want. We may feel we need it because everyone else has one, but is it actually necessary?
Need suggests necessity. There are certain things we, as humans, need to survive. Oxygen, water, food, sleep to name the most important. But we often have so much more than is necessary. Most of us will eat and drink more than we need to in order to survive, that’s just called being healthy, but often we will eat and drink considerably more than we need to, because we want to.
Our promise this week is from Phillipians 4:19 and says
And it is he who will supply all your needs from his riches in glory because of what Christ Jesus has done for us.
We are told that God will supply all that we need. God will not supply all that we want, but all that we need. In the film Bruce Almighty when Bruce is given God’s powers he answers all the prayers with ‘yes’! This is mainly out of laziness. But inevitably it leads to problems, one person loses weight on the ‘Krispy kreme’ diet, one person gets taller over night, because lots of people win the lottery, nobody wins very much. Riots take place and Bruce has caused chaos just by saying yes to everything.
A lot of people struggle with the idea that God doesn’t always answer prayers. But what this verse shows us is that we have to trust and hope that God will provide all that we need. But more importantly, we have to trust that God knows what we need. There are many theological explanations for the question of God not answering prayers, which I’m not going to go in to now. BUT maybe actually what we need is to change the way in which we pray. Rather than asking God for specific things that we think we need. Asking God to provide what we need to get through a tough situation that we are going through.
Sometimes we need to take responsibility for ourselves as well. There may be things that we want to achieve in our lives. We can’t just ask God to make that happen! We have to do certain things to get there, whether that is working hard at school, training etc… We can’t ask God to make us good at something, but we can ask God to provide us with the strength and stamina to pursue those dreams.
We will have all asked our parents for something, claiming it was something we needed, and there is a likelihood they will have said no! Why? Because they know best! God is our father and we have to trust that he knows best!
Prayer: Father God we thank you that you love us, and you know us. We thank you that you provide all that we need, and pray that we will be able to put our trust in you. Amen
Challenge: Let’s be practical: think about something you would like to achieve. What do YOU need to be able to do to achieve that?