Want versus Need….

“So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”

Matthew 7:11 NLT

Have you heard the saying, “God doesn’t give us what we want, He gives what we need.”  I have-many times and unfortunately I believed it for many years.  After all, there are many things I want, have asked for in prayer even, but since I haven’t received them yet, this saying must be true, right? Wrong!

God has always provided me everything I need from the very basics of oxygen to breath to food, water, clothing, a roof over my head and even reliable transportation.  But is that really all God is going to give me, or you?  No, God gives us more than the bare necessities.  His word is full of promises that go beyond what we need.  Psalms 37:4 tells us if we delight in Him, He will give us the desires of our hearts.  Desire is another word for “wants”, not “needs.”  Abraham desired a child.  He didn’t need an heir.  He told God he planned to leave his fortune to a servant. (Genesis 15:2) Attempting to manufacture his own miracle he created a son with Hagar.  But God still gave him the heir He promised. God still gave him Isaac.

David and Bathsheba committed adultery and from their sin produced a son. As punishment for David’s attempt to cover up his sin God took the life of that child shortly after his birth.  But that wasn’t the end of David and Bathsheba’s story.  What did God do next? He gave David and Bathsheba another son, Solomon.  David had other children already-Solomon wasn’t a need.  Solomon was a want that God gave them. (2 Samuel 12:14, 24)

Matthew 7:11 compares God to earthly parents.  If you’re a parent I am confident you wear yourself out providing for the basic needs of your children, but you do more than that.  Don’t we as parents strive to give our children what they want too?  Don’t we delight in seeing our children’s joy when they receive that special present they longed for, not necessary something they need but something they will find true delight in.  I believe God does that for us too.  Within reason, God gives us what we want too.

Provided our desires line up with His will, He promises that whatever we ask for in His name, it will be done. (John 14:13-14) “Whatever” certainly doesn’t sound like just our basic needs. Whatever means everything we ask for in Jesus’ name, will be given to us.  The key phrase is “in Jesus’ name”-meaning in His will.  And God’s will is to definitely give us more than what we need-He longs to see the joy on our faces as we receive His blessings, that special present we’ve longed for no matter how long we’ve been asking Him for it.

What is the desire of your heart?  Is it a godly marriage, children, a dream job?  Have you aligned it with God’s will for your life?  Marriage, children, even careers aren’t anything we need.  But if they are part of God’s plans “for good, to prosper…to give us hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV) then we have to trust that He will give them to us. Just like our children ask us for wants (or if you aren’t a parent, remember the wants you asked your own parents) we can boldly approach our Heavenly Daddy asking Him for our wants too.  Keep in mind, God is not a genie-we can’t rub a lamp and ask Him to grant us 3 wishes.  But God does delight in showering His blessings upon us, including gifting us with “the desires of our hearts.”

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