Do You Need Anything?

DOGWOOD - darkerDo you need anything today?  Are you experiencing a lack of love, faith, hope, mercy, patience,  health, finances, material good, companionship?  The list could go on for quite a few more lines, but you get my point. We all experience times of insufficiency — even downright poverty — in any number of areas in our lives.  And, often we do one of two things when we find ourselves in those situations: we either worry, or we work ourselves into a dither trying to fix the situation and make up what we lack.

But God has something to say about our need.  In 2 Corinthians 9:8, He tells us, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance fore every good deed.”

Now most of us know — and can even quote the verse in Ephesians 1: 8, which says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith.” We know that our actual salvation comes from an act of God on our inner man — our spirit (the REAL us). We acknowledge that it is not our own doing that saves us. To be sure we must believe and accept the finished work of Jesus Christ in order to appropriate that salvation, but we do not do any work that “saves” us or gives us that “born-again” experience. All the work is done by God alone. He works on us. He imparts Himself to us. He cleans us and makes us holy by the blood of Jesus. He gives us His own Spirit.

But very few of us are as familiar with the verse from Corinthians that we quoted above. Nor are we as familiar with Ephesians 2:6-7, which says He “raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus in order that in the ages to come, he might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”  Now this passage tells us something very similar to the passage from 2 Corinthians 9:8.  Both verses say that God is wanting to bestow on us good things. In fact, according to the verse from Corinthians, He wants to bestow lots and lots of good things — so many, in fact, that we will have all sufficiency in all things.

Now “all things” means “all things.” The term covers spiritual, emotional, and physical needs. It includes those spiritual qualities that we are always reaching after in order to be more like God. Where do they come from? Can we work them up if we try hard enough?  Do we have to go through some kind of horrible test or trial in order for those things to be developed in us?  There may be people who try to tell you that those are the ways we become Christlike, but, my dear brothers and sisters, those people are simply wrong. How do I know they are wrong? Because God Himself tells us where those things come from.

He tells us in Galatians, chapter 5, that those qualities are fruits of the Holy Spirit Himself. They come from Him, and as we come closer to the Lord and allow His Spirit to have His way in us, those qualities grow in  us.

He tells is in Hebrews 13:9 that His plan is for our hearts to be strengthened by grace and not by works. He wants our spirit man to grow strong and Christlike as a result of His grace giving to us and working in us, not by our struggling to work hard enough to bring it about.

He also tells is, in more explicit terms, in 2 Peter 1:3-4, that it’s His own power and His own promises (His Word) that impart to us the Divine attributes and nature of God:  “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. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature ….” So everything of “godliness” and “the divine nature” are granted to us by God’s power and His Word. (The only “work” we have to do is stay in His Word and believe it — which, of course, means that we live by it.)

Beloved of God,  the holy attributes and characteristics of God do not come to us, nor are they matured in us, by anything we can do ourselves or by anything this cruel world can do to us. To believe other wise is an insult to our loving God who has provided the way for us to become more like Him every day by our receiving and walking in His excellent promises, thereby releasing His magnificent power to work in us.

And if God will bestow on us His very own nature and character as a free gift, how much more will he bestow on us the less valuable — but just as necessary to life in this world — necessities of life — including health, finances, material supply, and friendships.

The word “grace,” as it is used in these verses is from a Greek word that means to act on someone or something in a cheerful,  kind, benevolent manner and to cause corresponding effects in the life of the one acted upon as a result.  It comes from a root word that means to be cheerful and to experience happiness and a calm sense of well-being. So the action of God’s grace brings about cheerfulness, joy, and well-being. Those are the results that God wants in our lives as the product of His being gracious to us.

That’s why Ephesians says that His way of showing the riches of His grace is to be “kind” to us. And that’s why verse 11 in that same passage from 2 Corinthians 9 says “You will be enriched in everything for all liberality.”

There is nothing we can ever need that the Lord wants to withhold from us. He longs to bestow kindnesses on us and show the world how gracious He is. But let us not forget to focus on the end results of that kindness and that enrichment in all things. In both verse 8 and verse 11 of 2 Corinthians 9, we learn that God’s plan is to so bless us that, not only will we have all of our own needs met, but we will then be able to reach out to others — “In all liberality” — and bless them in the name of the Lord. Now, that’s being truly blessed — when we can have enough for ourselves and then bless others with enough to meet their needs too.

Brothers and sisters, let’s stop struggling in this life.  Let’s allow God to be gracious to us the way He longs to be. Let’s get into His Word and remind ourselves — every hour if necessary — until we are convinced that it is true and until we have learned to live every day in that grace.

“God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good work.”