So Ben, What’s God talking to you about?
God’s been talking to me about provision but from a strange place.
In Matthew 4 after Jesus is baptized by John in the Jordan, the Spirit leads Him into the wilderness to be tempted.
And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” – Matthew 4:3
I want to focus on just one aspect of this temptation, though there are many. After all, Jesus experienced every temptation we do.
The devil tempts Jesus to provide for Himself.
Again–I know that’s not all that’s going on here, but I realized that the devil tempts Jesus to do the very thing we spend our lives doing.
The more I ponder this, the more I think I’ve been missing something in my understanding of kingdom living my whole life.
Before I dig deeper, let me highlight the Lord’s answer.
“It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'” – Matthew 4:4
Jesus says we are to live by every word God speaks to us. The “Word” here is Rhema, not Logos–spoken word, not written word. And in fact, Jesus lived this way. He said, I only do what I see the Father do and say what I hear the Father say. How did Jesus live day to day, how did He eat and drink?
When He wanted to throw a party, He sent the boys to a particular man who would give them a room to use. When He wanted to feed multitudes all He needed was a boys lunch–more accurately–all He needed was a word from God. When the tax man came, He sent Peter fishing–and not net fishing which would have been like saying “go work for it,” but “throw in a line” fishing. When He needed a donkey to make His entrance into Jerusalem, He didn’t call Uber.
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:19
We all know this verse, but here’s a fact–most of us believe something much different. The average Christian I know believes this version:
I will supply all my needs according to my toil and hustle, and if I have a shortfall, desperate prayer to Jehovah Jireh, and some belt-tightening will rescue me.
Peter tell us:
seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. – 2 Peter 1:3
If you have ever given to a Christian charity then you know the mountain of junk mail that you’ve just signed up for. Have you ever had this thought which I have all the time: Why can’t you be more like George Mueller who never asked for support, but simply trusted God. If God ordained it, He’ll supply it. Stop begging.
Does this mean God didn’t ordain my life? Am I toiling for a living because that’s what God ordained for the common man, but the full time Christians should live by faith. Woops. There it is. I’m exposed. I’ve chosen to fall for the lie Jesus resisted. I’ve taken the bait and spent my life toiling.
Let me drop two more scriptures into the mix here.
…Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. – Genesis 3:17
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us–for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE” – Galatians 3:13
I’m not suggesting all the Christians in the world quit their jobs. Work is not the enemy here, but toil originates with the curse.
We know Paul made tents for a time to support himself and his ministry.
Let’s start with a simple change in perspective.
Let’s make hearing the voice of God our first and most important job. Stop thinking of Him as the safety net or the One Who fills our shortfalls, but rather the One responsible for all supply. Let’s ask Him to light our path and show us how to walk in His provision.
Paul, in his discourse about giving in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 says the Lord gives seed to sow, food to eat, and plenty to share. If our finances drive our lives from stress to stress instead of from glory to glory, we’re not doing it right.
Finances place high in reasons for divorce.
Finances figure among the top reasons for suicide.
God does not intend for His people to be stressing over money. Stop trying to provide for yourself! If you are a child of God, it’s His job to provide, and your job to listen and obey.
What do you think?