A word we learn at an early age. A word that relies on the flesh and comes from our sinful nature. A word that leads to selfishness and pride.
- I want more money
- I want a better job/house/car/etc
- I want a husband/wife
- I want a lavish vacation
The list goes on.
The attitude we get when we use the word want collides with everything we are asked to be in the Word of God. You will never find God asking us to be selfish. He asks us to be selfless. God will never ask us to be prideful and arrogant, but to be humble and kind. In our western culture, we think we always need the next best thing, but do we need it to survive? No. We want it to survive. Paul writes in Phillippians 4:12-13:
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.
If you don’t know much about Paul’s life here is a small snapshot. Paul was actually named Saul and he was a wealthy man who persecuted Christians. He had everything he ever wanted: status, wealth, a “full” life. On his way to Damascus God intervened and called him into ministry. Saul’s life did a 180 turn and God renamed him Paul. From then on he lived with what he could get. Sometimes he had enough food and shelter and sometimes he was starving in prison waiting to see if he would survive or join his Heavenly Father.
So when Paul writes about knowing both sides of the coin, you can believe his words.
When I read those verses this morning it hit me in my own situations. I have never had a stable full-time job for longer than 6 months and after that it has been part-time after part-time. I make only enough to survive and when something arises God has provided. I look back over the last 7 years and wonder how I was able to volunteer in youth ministry, go back to school (twice), and make enough money to survive (most of the time)? And those things only scratch the surface. I have suffered loss and grief, I have faced growing anxiety, I walked through a second bought of cancer with a family member, and there has been so many other challenges I faced just in the past 7 years.
I will say I have lived in want during these past years. I wanted to go back to my childhood where I lived in plenty and didn’t have to deal with the struggles of the world. But even though I have had those want statements circling my head, I found a way to continue to wade through the marshes. It is in the second verse above.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.verse 13
I didn’t get myself through the muck. I didn’t miraculously give myself strength to sit at the funeral home and help with some choices for my grandpa’s funeral or wait in the waiting room of the Parkview Hospital with my dad as my mother was going through surgery for cancer. That wasn’t me. That was God.
Ever had a moment when you found strength to do something or go through something hard and you had no idea where that strength came from? That you know for a fact you would have fallen to pieces in the midst of the struggle? That’s God.
Maybe you are reading this and have never experienced that strength. Don’t worry. You can get it too. All you have to do is ask for it. God is listening and wanting you to choose him everyday, every minute, he wants you to come home. Asking for strength doesn’t mean it is going to go away in a flash. I am still dealing with grief of my grandfather’s passing and I am still wading through the muck of anxiety on a daily basis. But the choice I make everyday (or try to make. I am not perfect) is to focus in on God and ask him for strength. He is the only one who can truly walk through the storms of life with us and keep us going without him losing interest or energy.
So God I pray for the people who are reading this devotional and those who aren’t. Give them your strength today. Whatever they are going through, whether it is depression or money, health or parenting, God give them your strength. We need you.
- List out your want statements. (See examples above.)
- Write out a prayer to God giving him your want statements. Then say it out loud. It helps you process it, I promise.
- Where do you need God’s strength in your life today?
- Repeat this out loud: I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
- End in prayer asking God for strength for the things you listed.