Our Bible verse for today: “And my God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Distinguish between wants and needs.”
Do you know the difference between a want and a need? Many people confuse the two. Food and shelter is a need. A new iphone is a want. Protection in a dangerous situation is a need. Praying for the Braves to win the pennant is a want. The dictionary tells us that a need is something that is a necessity and which is required; a want is something that is desired and wished for, but not really necessary.
When praying for God’s guidance it’s important to distinguish between a legitimate need and something that is only a want. Over and over again throughout the Bible God assures us that He is aware of our true needs and that He is committed to caring for us. The words of Jesus in Matthew 6:25-34 may be the most reassuring passage in all of scripture regarding this (it’s the “do not worry” passage). In that passage Jesus assures us that our Father in Heaven knows what our needs are and that He will provide for us, if we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.
Likewise, in Philippians 4:19, the Apostle Paul boldly proclaims his confidence that his God (the God that he knows so well and so personally, and who has provided so well for him through all of his own times of trial and need) will also supply all of our true needs.
Beyond that, God will often also grant us our wants as well. We know from scripture and from personal experience that God blesses us abundantly, over and above what we had hoped for or expected. But, it’s essential that we remain clear in our own minds which things are genuine needs and which are only wants. And should we get confused about it, I think God will help to clarify things for us, probably by denying us the want we are confusing as a need, and He will do it in order to help us see that we really don’t “need” that thing after all.
We can be much bolder in our prayers about things that are genuine needs. But when it comes to things that are merely wants and nice-to-haves, it’s still okay to pray for such things, but we better be sure to tell God we understand and appreciate the difference. Otherwise He might have to teach it to us.