Read Philippians 4:4-20
In 2013, the animated film Frozen was released—and within days, millions of parents heard the same refrain from their daughters: “I need an Elsa doll! I need an Elsa dress!” Stores quickly sold out their stock of Frozen merchandise, from dolls to costumes to lunch boxes. Two years later, Elsa dolls were still among the top five best sellers from online retailer Amazon.
Many of us think of praying for our needs in the same way: “God, I need a job! God, I need a car! God, I need healing from this disease!” Often our requests are reasonable; human existence does require food, shelter, health, and provision for our physical needs. And God welcomes our requests and cares about what happens to us. But notice that throughout our study of God’s blessings, we have not seen any of these items mentioned. Perhaps God’s perspective on our needs differs from our human viewpoint.
That helps us understand our reading today, which describes another dimension of our identity: our needs are met in Christ. If we understand our needs as merely what is required for our physical existence, then verse 19 might seem like a hollow promise. Millions of believers in Jesus have not had their physical needs met. They were not spared from the lions in the Roman Coliseum; they died in plagues; they lost jobs and health and children.
The clues to this promise can be found in the rest of this passage. The apostle Paul describes the contentment that results in trusting in God’s strength and the blessing of being cared for by his fellow believers (vv. 12–18). He notes the joy and peace that overflow in our lives when we are reminded of our identity in Christ (vv. 4–7). These are our deepest needs, and they are all met in Christ.
APPLY THE WORD
This text does not mean it is wrong to bring our requests to God for material needs or physical health. But it should shape our perspective for what God thinks are our deepest needs, and we should prioritize those requests. In your prayer time today, ask the Lord to meet your deepest needs for joy, contentment, and peace.