Honouring the Lord with our finances
(By Rob McLeod)
What are evidences of financial bondage?
Whether through inner struggles with covetousness, small purchases beyond our income, or overwhelming pressure from debts, we’ve all felt the lure of greed. A person encounters significant difficulties if he places a greater value on money than he should. Scripture states, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1 Timothy 6:10).
The following pressures may indicate that we are under financial bondage:
If we build our lives around people, positions, or possessions that can be taken away from us, we feel insecure.
When we become aware of the possible ways we could lose our most cherished possessions, we become afraid.
Physical and emotional tensions mount when we think about financial problems.
- Loss of Sleep
Worry and pressure from financial cares become greater at night and remove the possibility of peaceful sleep.
Financial cares and concerns decrease the ability to appreciate or enjoy the benefits that God and others provide for us.
Money and possessions have built-in demands for protection and maintenance. Thus, the things we own soon own us.
Desiring to have what someone else has is envy. It is the by-product of comparison, robbing us of the ability to enjoy what God has given us.
If we love money and possessions more than we love God, we will be prone to bitterness if what we have is taken or destroyed. When God is our most prized treasure, He can bring about good from the loss of “things” as He builds the character of Christ in our lives. (See Romans 8:28-29.)
When we attempt to use money to fulfill selfish dreams, we discover that what we thought would bring us joy and lasting fulfillment actually brings unforeseen disappointments and temporary pleasure.
Build Your Life on What Really Matters:
Financial cares and concerns are a natural part of life. Nonetheless, when our lives are focused on God and His eternal kingdom, we can experience security in Christ. Eventually, money and temporal things will be taken away, but nothing can ever separate us from God’s love and provision. (See Romans 8:38-39 and John 14:16-17.)
“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper…’” (Hebrews 13:5-6).
Jesus addressed the conflicting interests of love for God and love of money. He said: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [wealth or money]. Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not your life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:24-26, 33).
What is financial freedom?
Discover God’s plan for money
True financial freedom involves understanding and applying God’s principles for handling money. God’s Word mentions money more than eight hundred times—God is serious about teaching us the right way to handle money. Be warned: The choice to follow God’s plan for money may require you to reject some financial practices that are widely accepted.
Most importantly, financial freedom is recognizing that true prosperity comes only from God. “It is He [God] who gives you power to get wealth…” (Deuteronomy 8:18). You must choose to serve God rather than money, because you cannot successfully serve two masters. (See Matthew 6:24.)
To be financially free, you must:
- Understand how financial obligations influence your priorities
- Choose a good name over riches
- Work diligently
- Conquer slothfulness
- Live within your means
- Make wise purchases
- Avoid debt
- Try to get the best buy
As you apply God’s principles, you will experience true freedom.
Freedom to Bring Glory to God
Exchanging eternal riches for the temporary pleasures of wealth only produces more greed. The more you gain, the more you want. When a believer is forced to borrow money to meet his basic needs, God’s reputation is dishonored, because God has promised to supply everything we need. However, if you follow God’s principles of finance, you will bring Him glory as others see His faithful, abundant, and timely provision in your life. (See Philippians 4:19.)
Freedom to Honor the Lord
A commitment to tithe affirms His ownership of all that you possess. In Proverbs 3:9-10, we are instructed, “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” The testimony of financial freedom honors the Lord.
Freedom to Give to Others
Money is a gift from God. One of the benefits of financial freedom is the ability to give generously and cheerfully as you see needs in the lives of others. (See 2 Corinthians 9:6–12.) Financial freedom equips you with a plan to fulfill your financial obligations without fear of “not having enough.” (See Luke 14:28 and Proverbs 21:20.) You can even include “gifts to others” in your budget and then be alert to God’s direction to invest in the lives of others as needs arise.
Freedom to Live Peacefully
Provision for every need is a demonstration of God’s power and love. (See Matthew 6:30.) Those who are financially free can avoid the stress and other difficulties that accompany financial pitfalls.
The Apostle Paul warned Timothy, “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:9-10). We, too, must heed these warnings.
Freedom to Focus on Family Priorities
When a financial crisis occurs, family priorities often take a back seat. Working late hours, overtime, and the demands of taking on a second or third job add unwelcome pressures to the family as relationships suffer from lack of attention. However, families who maintain financial freedom can avoid those pressures and invest in their relationships instead of mainly focusing on ways to pay the bills.
As you study God’s Word, be attentive to His guidelines for financial freedom. Do not put your trust in riches, but “trust … in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17).
Original source: iblp.org/questions/what-financial-freedom and iblp.org/questions/what-are-evidences-financial-bondage
©2020 Institute in Basic Life Principles. Used by permission.