You don’t have to look very far on the Internet or in book stores to find numerous articles on the best financial practices. Things like, “How to get out of debt in 6 steps”, “Be Generous and you will be Blessed”, or “How to pay off your mortgage”. These types of books are not bad, but I wonder if we are starting backwards in our approach to finances? In other words, are we using our own intellect and then adding a little bit of God in the mix? Or, maybe we are just tacking Him on at the end hoping He will bless our endeavors.
One of the things I like to ask myself when making any kind of decision is “What is my motive”? Proverbs 16:2 says, “All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighted by the Lord.” I would dare say that most financial problems that occur in people’s lives are a result of their flesh motivating them to make irresponsible decisions. Meaning, that there was some underlying need that they were trying to meet apart from God. Have you ever heard of the phrase, “Keeping up with the Jones’”? You know how it goes, a neighbor installs a swimming pool and you decide you need one. Or maybe it is a shiny new car and you go out and buy one too. It could be that you are feeling lonely, so you go on a shopping spree and spend way too much trying feel better about yourself and your circumstances. Or here is a big one. You decide to give a chunk of money to your church because you believe that you’ve got to make up for the bad choices you’ve been making lately.
What is the motive of the heart in these circumstances? In all of them, there is an underlying need that is being sought after. They are seeking love, acceptance, worth and security. They want to feel like they are accepted by others and that they have worth in their eyes. When they feel accepted and worthy, they can then love themselves and feel secure in their status.
This type of thinking is extremely common in today’s world. People are frustrated and hurting financially. They’ve gotten themselves into a mess and they wonder how it happened.
God says there is a better way. He says start with Him and then our paths will be made straight. You see, God has ALREADY given us everything that we need. “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence” [2 Peter 1:3]
So, even in our finances we start with Him, not end with Him. Start by knowing that God has already met your needs in Christ. You already possess the very things you have been searching for that have driven poor financial decisions.
You are loved. “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.” [1 John 4:16]
You are accepted. “to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” [Ephesians 1:6]
You have worth. “So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” [Matthew 10:31]
You are secure. “neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” [Romans 8:39]
When these truths sink in and you realize that you already have everything you will ever want you can relax. You can then begin to think with the right motives when making financial decisions, asking God from a full heart what is His next step for you. Making financial decisions is not easy. But it is much easier when you are approaching them from a full heart rather than a heart that is starving.
So, yes, grace affects even your finances. Our finances are not a separate part of us that God does not want to be involved in. God has already filled us up in Christ, and now you are free to step out and make decisions by His leading. Trust Him. He will guide you on how to get out of debt or which purchases to make.
There is a phrase, “Be to do.” In other words, know who you are in Christ and then act. Spend some time meditating on these passages and let God comfort you. Let Him remind you that you are loved, accepted, full of worth and completely secure in Him. Then, trust Him and step out.
At Crossway we love having the opportunity to walk with folks on their journey in understanding how grace affects their lives. If you are struggling in your finances or any other area of life, give us a call or click on the counseling button below and contact us. We are waiting to hear from you!