Small Thinking, Small Living

by Lester Young

From the jtGn archives…

You know, Philippians 4:19 may be one of the most recognizable and widely quoted verses in the Church today. And it should be, because certainly “my God will supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” If God said it, then it’s the truth – and the truth doesn’t change. Facts may change, circumstances may change, people may change, ‘the times’ may change, but Truth never changes (Malachi 3:6; John 1:1, 17:17).

However, with that being said, it only seems natural to ask, “Why, then, do so many of the Church’s needs (and when I say the Church, I mean the people who comprise it) seem to be not met?” People are sick, in debt, living from paycheck to paycheck and run down by their circumstances – just like the rest of the world. Although there are undoubtedly a number of reasons why Christians find themselves living ‘under’ their circumstances – and absolutely none of them God’s fault, by the way: such as, lack of faith, lack of knowledge of His will, lack of seeking God sincerely, sin, etc. – I believe one of the most notable and powerful causes is also one of the most utterly overlooked.

Referring back again to Philippians 4:19: it’s not at all unusual to hear a Christian repeating this verse, typically to someone who’s run into some type of trouble. Now, speaking words to encourage and help build up is certainly a wonderful thing, something that we’re indeed commanded to do (Romans 14:19; Ephesians 4:29; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 1 Timothy 3:4). The problem, however, tends to manifest itself in our mindset about just what this verse is actually saying.

In my opinion, we seem to be seriously – almost inextricably – entangled in that word ‘need.’ I’ve run across people who have told me, “Yes, amen! God will certainly meet your ‘need'” – that is, basically just enough to keep you from dying. In other words, He’ll watch over you and ration you out juuust enough provision so you can scrape by for right now – so that you can keep your nose above water long enough for you to work things out on your own. (I…I just can’t tell you how encouraged I was.)

Now, don’t get me wrong…those dear folks meant well. Their hearts were undeniably in the right place and I thank God for them. But we can all mean well and still be quite wrong. Been there, done that. The fact of the matter is that we’ve generally been ‘need’-based in our thinking; and if you take a moment to consider it, you’ll come to the realization that the word ‘need’ is undeniably related to the overall concept of ‘lack.’ Lack, of course, is connected to the ‘fear’ of not having enough, and it’s one of the bondages of the curse of the Law – which, by the way, we’ve been freed from (Deuteronomy 28: 51, 55, 57; Hebrews 2:15; Galatians 3:13-14).

God’s mindset, on the other hand, is just the opposite: it’s squarely and firmly rooted in the heavenly format of ‘abundance.’ A closer look at the wording of Philippians 4:19 will bear that out. The Amplified Bible says it like this: “And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full or brim) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” So, not only will God supply whatever it is we need, He’ll do so liberally – all the way up to the very top of the cup (and Psalm 23:5 tell us it’ll actually be considerably more than that!) Even more revealing is the fact that He’s not trying to mete out that supply to us in proportion to our meager little needs: God’s idea is to measure it out to us relative to His glorious riches. In other words, He’s not doling it out based on the exact amount you need, His thinking is lavishly focused on the vastness of how much He’s got to give to you! Can you see the different mindset and viewpoint?

God wants us to come up to His thoughts, because they’re so much higher than ours (Isaiah 55:7-9). Why? Because Love gives. That’s just what it does – He simply has to! (John 3:16) Our heavenly Father wanted a family so He could have somebody to bless, because that’s Who He is and what He does. But He can only give us according to what we’ll receive from Him by faith (Ephesians 3:20).

It’s time to get rid of our small, God-limiting, need-based thinking and begin thinking big, talking big and receiving big. We’re living in a world that needs help in all kinds of ways, spiritually and materially; and it’s a whole lot easier to give something when you’ve got it than it is when you don’t got it. 2 Corinthians 6:12 (The Message translation) exhorts us this way: “I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!” (See also Isaiah 54:2-3)

So the next time you find yourself shrinking away from something big the Lord has put in your heart or catch yourself thinking, “Oh, no; that’s too much…God wouldn’t give me all that!”; just remember: that ‘smallish,’ miserly, limiting thought is not from God; it’s your own. Well, actually, to be fully accurate, it’s from Satan – so by definition you know it’s a lie, and you know what you should do with it (John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 10:5). Because with God our Father Who loves us, absolutely nothing is impossible – and absolutely nothing is too good for you! (Luke 1:37; John 17:23; Romans 4:21)

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