In our culture, we take everything to extremes. Is no one else bothered by how the term binge has become socially acceptable? It means “a period of excessive indulgence.” Sure, I’ve done it, but no way that’s healthy! Binge eating, binge drinking (alcohol, soda, coffee), binge watching a TV series…none of these help you become a better person—especially a better Christ-follower.
In our self-gratification-centered culture, having enough no longer satisfies. Take Starbucks for example. They used to offer a “short” size. While “tall and skinny” are my preferred adjectives for far more than my lattes, what induced them to offer medium, large, and extra-large as standard sizes?
Our sin nature nurtures
an insatiable appetite.
It’s because we always want more. Part of it, I believe, is entitlement—the idea that we deserve more than we’re getting. Part of it, however, stems from that insatiable appetite our sin nature nurtures in us. Like Eve in the garden of Eden, it’s not enough to enjoy what God provides. We also want what He prohibits; we want it all…whether all is good for us or not.
The counter-balance is sufficiency. Our God, the All-Sufficient One, provides what we need for today.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. –Philippians 4:19
Not “everything you ever wanted,” not “so much that you are satiated,” but all you need. The challenge for us is to be satisfied with His sufficiency.
There’s an interesting balance here because God does have everything. He is eternally excessive, and He invites us to enjoy His provision, even His over-abundance. So how does this work?
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. –Psalm 23:5
God prepares the table. He provides the heaping trays of food and the limitless jugs of wine. (Remember Jesus’ first miracle? God doesn’t lack in supply.)
But He also provides the cups.
Both the wine in my cup and
the overflow belong to Him.
The cup which He has given me has a certain size, proportionate to my hand and my needs. He pours it full. In fact, He has enough to overflow it, and sometimes He does. That wine runs over my hand, down the sides of the cup, and onto the table. It puddles there. Should He have been more careful? Should He have given me a bigger cup? No. Both the wine in my cup and the overflow belong to Him, and He has done exactly as He wants, for His glory.
We, on the other hand, want it all: the wine in the cup, the wine puddling on the table, even the wine still in the jug. It’s true: the supply is inexhaustible. It won’t “put God out” to give me more. As a result, I’m offended by His seeming wastefulness. What do I do?
I must trust. Ah, here’s the key… I must trust that how much He’s given me is how much I need. Just like you would never give a child $1000 to buy a pack of gum, He doesn’t give us this excess because He knows we won’t use it properly. Oh God, help me relax into this dichotomy: your excess and my enough.
When the Hebrew people gathered manna, they collected just enough for that day: an omer each. If they tried to gather more, it spoiled. Every day, God sent more than they needed, so they left some to melt in the sun (Exodus 16:14-21). Something tells me they didn’t plan on seconds, and yet they were satisfied. If it were me, I would be out there gathering every morsel, stuffing it into my omer-sized container, then gorging on it until I felt sick.
There’s much more to explore but you’ve probably had enough. Let’s finish with a couple of verses on God’s sufficiency for grace and courage. Think on these.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. –2 Corinthians 12:9
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. –Philippians 1:20
I find myself grasping, desiring, even trying to grab more, more, more! I am dissatisfied with His sufficiency. I forget that it’s all His anyway. I forget that God will give me what I need…and some of the things I want, when those things are good for me. What He holds back in His supply, what He pours out in front of me…all that is His to do with as He pleases, and He pleases to increase His glory.
Our penchant for excess or extreme pops up in every aspect of life. How do you combat this selfishness? How do you reconcile His abundance with His supply? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!