God provides – What does this mean?
The Bible is full of God's promises to provide. It begins with His promises to provide for His creation. Jesus reminds us that He provides food for the birds of the air (Luke 12:24). Since the beginning of time, God has placed the renewable resources upon the earth sufficient to feed, clothe, and house all the people and animals who have ever lived upon the earth. He will continue to do so until the end of the age when He creates a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1).
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While we often think that, if God really loves us, He should provide anything we want, God wisely differentiates between our needs and our desires. In His sovereign omniscience, He knows that where our treasure is our heart is also (Matthew 6:21). Our wants may not line up with our needs, but God provides what we need out of His love for us. God would never give us what He knows would not be for our benefit. Growing into the image of Christ is our most pressing need, and God provides all we need to accomplish that goal (Romans 8:28–29).
But God does not promise to provide for those who reject His means of salvation, Jesus Christ. Only through faith in Him can we claim to be His children and become holy as He is holy. Psalm 84:11 states, "No good thing does [God] withhold from those who walk uprightly." Only those who walk uprightly through the power of the Holy Spirit will be blessed by God's endless provision of good things, both physical and spiritual.
Jesus teaches His disciples to ask for provision, and our dependence on God and our faith in His ability to provide is affirmed each time we pray, "Give us this day our daily bread" (Matthew 6:11). In Matthew 6:24–34, Jesus tells His disciples not to worry about food or clothing. The Father knows our needs. If He feeds the birds of the air and clothes the lilies of the field, how much more will He provide for His children whom He loves?
God's most important provision is for the needs of our soul and spirit. He provides us with joy (Acts 14:17), peace (John 14:27), counsel (Psalm 16:7), comfort (2 Corinthians 1:4), power and strength (Psalm 68:35), and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). Through His abundant love and mercy, He "has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 1:3). He also promises to generously provide wisdom to all who ask (James 1:5). Along with His promise of wisdom is the assurance of His love and guidance along the way (Psalm 31:3; 48:14).
We often wonder why our prayers sometimes go unanswered. This happens because we don't know what is best for us or we ask for the wrong reasons: "You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions" (James 4:3). The motivations of our hearts are important to God. He is also faithful to provide what is for our best, which may not necessarily be what we ask for. If our motives for asking are pure and we are truly seeking God's will, there is nothing He will deny to us. In these things, He is truly Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord-Who-Provides.
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