Almost everyone understands the notion of supply and demand in the economic realm. If the supply of a product outweighs the demand for it, prices drop. If demand for a product outweighs supply, prices rise. So, strawberries cost less in a year when everyone is getting a bumper crop. When the crop fails due to drought or a freak frost, they cost more because there are fewer berries to go around.
Very few people, however, understand the principle of supply and demand in the realm of Christian living. This is one of the most basic truths of our Christian faith. Yet, consistently, we get it all backwards.
Here is the biblical principle of supply and demand. God supplies what He demands. It is that simple and it is crucial to a life of faith, hope and love. Simply put, the call of God on any individual is absolutely not to live a godly moral do-gooder life and if you do so, He will supply blessing, and reward, forgiveness for where we have failed, and heaven as well. Quite the contrary, foundational Christianity teaches that in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, God gives us freely forgiveness, blessing, strength, favour, acceptance, sonship, the Holy Spirit, eternal life, etc. What God demands of those who have received these blessings is that they embrace His Son by faith and joyously follow Him in a life of holiness which He promises to enable. In other words, godly living is not a means of gaining God's approval. God's approval is a means of gaining godly living. Freedom from the garbage that so entangles our lives (whether that is hatred, racism, greed and envy, or religious arrogance and self righteousness) comes by trusting what God has given to us as a gift. Jesus' death was the price that God paid to cover all our sin. Jesus' resurrection was the receipt that said our debt was paid in full. Jesus exaltation as Lord and King was our provision guaranteeing His help by the Holy Spirit to be who God calls us to be.
Please understand this fundamental truth of the Christian faith. God supplies what He demands. For those who want to keep living for sin and self, this won't mean much to you. For those who have decided that they want to escape the snare of sin that so madly entangles our lives, this is your freedom. Take God by faith. Take Jesus by the hand. Cast off a notion of God as a mean ogre in the sky who only likes people who perform well. Jesus said that He came exclusively for sinners. It's not the healthy who need a doctor but those who are sick.
When God is the sole supplier of what He demands of us, then something happens. We get up each day looking to God in prayer to help us live the life that He as loving Father wants for us. We live by faith. We look in the mirror and then look at the demands of life and we don't despair. We are filled with hope. God will give us grace for today and bring us safely to the end goal. We are filled with peace. We belong to Him and He belongs to us. We are filled with joy. Life with all its hardships and difficulties is under the direction of a forgiving God who cares more about us than we can ever imagine. We are accepted. We are secure. We are headed for better days.
Here is one of my favourite passages that teaches this truth. The murderer and self-righteous religious zealot, Saul of Tarsus, became the apostle Paul when by God's grace he came to terms with this principle of supply and demand. Listen to his words of praise to God:
" Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.." (Ephesians 1:3-4)
God has given us every spiritual blessing in Christ so that we would be holy and blameless in His sight. He supplies what He demands.