My goal in this series is our greater joy in Jesus, even in complex struggles intellectually, emotionally, relationally, etc. So, each time I will offer a buffet on 8 ‘P’s of good news. Chew and savor whatever helps your joy in Jesus. “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” (Isaiah 55:1)
Joy comes by Life from God, through God, and for God as revealed in the Bible. (Romans 11:33-36) The Protection & Provision of Christ are the third and fourth ‘P’s of that good news. Again, I list them together because He revealed them as related on the same day. But God declared each ‘good’ separately, so we’re addressing them one at a time. Consider His Provision from cover to cover in the video below.
Yet, we tend to seek our own definition of Provision and its goodness. As we noted in Christian Joy 103, protection and provision are two sides of a larger dynamic in a specific context: preparation for our sense of purpose. And just as fearful people tend to emphasize the need for protection (e.g., “I’m not going to make it! Help me!”), proud people tend to emphasize the need for provision: “I’ve arrived, and I’m deserving! Serve me!” Neither is helpful for a related reason: both fear and pride are self-focused. Although “no one will care for you as well as you” may sound good, it’s always counter-productive. Fear hides, and pride elevates self, so both alienate us from the relationships for which God designed us to reproduce the fruit of His image and to enjoy the same. In the next video my Mom and I talk more about the need for good news in provision in various contexts.
And, remember, a person’s provision is tied to their sense of purpose in life. How people protect their goals is often less visible. Avoiding threats and building walls (physical or not) are background realities, not drawing attention to themselves. Otherwise, they can actually invite threats. Provisions (resources) for our goals, however, are often quite visible. For example, if my sense of purpose is my reputation, you can see me seeking provisions for my knowledge in schools, provisions for my skills in jobs, provision for my reputation in positive feedback, provision for my notoriety in networking, etc. Again, fear hides, but prides seeks to shine. And, in the moment of having the provisions we want, life seems good. But the Lord calls us to think beyond the moment, and the imagery of physical fruit can be especially helpful here. Notice that all life began in a garden (Genesis 2-3); one of the most repeated metaphors of Life with God is gardens or fruit-bearing (Numbers 13:1-25, Psalm 1, Isaiah 27, all of Hosea’s reference to ‘Ephraim’ [which means ‘fruitful’], Matthew 13, John 15, etc.); and we see in Revelation 21-22 that Life comes to its highest fruition (pun intended) in a garden. Yet, like physical fruit, spiritual fruit takes time and effort. (Hosea 10:12, Mark 11:12-25, 2 Timothy 2:1-7, etc.)
Consider the next video and the questions below.
- Name some themes of Man’s works vs. God’s provisions in Galatians 5:13-26.
- Compare Eden, Canaan, and the New Earth. What are some themes of “fruit”?
- Now read 2 Peter 1:1-11. What is God’s main goal for which He provides?