According to His Riches
Philippians 3:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus”.
There was a time in my life that I thought this verse meant that God would give me what I wanted. I read “every need” and heard “every desire”. I struggled to understand why God wasn’t giving me the things I asked for. The problem was that I was “leaning on my own understanding”. I was taking this verse out of context. I had not yet learned to let scripture interpret scripture. I fell for the trap of reading the “catchy verse” and failing to understand its meaning within the context of the rest of the chapter or book that it came from.
After reading the whole book of Philippians (multiple times) I began to understand that what we see as needs are not necessarily actual needs. When I learned that Paul wrote this letter while imprisoned in Rome it gave me a new perspective on “needs”. Just a few verses before this one Paul shares that he learned contentment (probably while being imprisoned, and through other various trials). He wrote, “...for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.”
Clearly, Paul didn’t have everything he wanted while he was in prison. He even had physical needs. However, he encourages the Philippians that God will supply all their needs. When we say that God is always working for our good and His glory, that means our spiritual good, and that may (and probably will) come about through some struggles. We can tend to have a low view of how God fulfills our needs. We tend to focus on our bellies, our clothes, or our wallets. But who in all of this universe can secure our very soul? Who is the one that can not only satisfy our bellies, backs, and finances but also our eternity?
Throughout scripture we see God use difficult circumstances to make His people more like Him. So, if like me, you sometimes struggle to see how God could use your circumstances for your good, read through some of Paul’s letters, and ask God to change your perspective on what is good.