By Theodore Epp
Philippians 4:19 cannot be understood apart from the preceding verses. Some Christians have claimed verse 19 but have not met the conditions of the preceding verses; therefore, they are unwarranted in expecting God to keep His promise of verse 19.
And when they see that God has not fulfilled what they consider to be a promise, it can make their lives a shipwreck. Thus, it is very important to understand the context of verse 19.
We will never realize the tremendous provision of verse 19 until we have met its spiritual and circumstantial requirements. Almost every promise in the Bible has one or more conditions that must be met before God's promise is fulfilled.
Philippians 4:19 says, "God shall supply all your need." We see, then, that there must be a need before God will supply. We must not presume on this promise and run ahead of God with plans of our own.
Neither should we presume on God for all our wants or be careless in spending God's money. God does not promise to supply all of our wants, only our needs.
The slothful, the spendthrift or the selfish person cannot claim the promise of Philippians 4:19. There must be a legitimate need.
Those who are slothful and unwilling to work or who are overly ambitious to gain things need not expect to have this verse fulfilled in their lives.
It should also be understood that God meets our need for a purpose--not to relieve us of our responsibility, but because He has given us responsibility.
When God gives us a responsibility to fulfill, we can count on His supplying all of the resources that are necessary to accomplish it.
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want" (Ps. 23:1).