Dwight Fletcher | Conquering the giant of finance
Today, we continue our 'Conquering the Giants' series by looking at finance. Hands down, one of the largest giants in our lives is the giant of finance.
Many people are living on the edge financially, and today, finance is particularly challenging in Jamaica with wage freezes, the slide of the dollar, and increased prices. If you were surviving in 2007, you are very possibly struggling in 2016.
Our finances can add a lot of unnecessary pressure but it does not have to be this way. One of the reasons so many people have been in financial trouble is because they've been living without God's blessing. To live without God's blessing in any area of your life is a problem. But, the good news is that the Bible has a lot to say about finance. In fact, it gives us very practical wisdom on the subject. Many people ignore these, but if you choose to follow God's financial plan, it will start you on the path to financial freedom.
So, let's explore the five key principles to conquering our financial giant:
1. KEEP GOOD RECORDS
This is the principle of accounting. Proverbs 27:23 24 (TLB) says, "Riches can disappear fast ... so watch your business interests closely. Know the state of your flocks and your herds." When the book of Proverbs was written, most people had their finances wrapped up in the ownership of land and animals, and kept good accounts by counting the livestock. Likewise, we need to know how much we own, how much we owe and earn; and how much we spend in order to ensure that we are in balance.
2. PLAN YOUR SPENDING
This is the principle of budgeting, that is, to tell your money where to go, rather than wonder where it went. Put together a budget or some goals - spending goals, saving goals, and giving goals.
Proverbs 21:5 (GNT) says "Plan carefully and you will have plenty; if you act too quickly, you will never have enough." In other words, you have to plan your spending so you don't fall into impulse buying. That's what gets us in trouble, we spend too quickly. Financial freedom is not based on how much you earn, it's based on how much you spend. Proverbs 21:20 (GNT) says "... stupid people spend their money as fast as they get it."
3. SAVE FOR YOUR FUTURE
This is the principle of saving, as Proverbs 21:20 (TLB) says, "The wise man saves for the future." This is a discipline that God wants you to learn. As Proverbs 13:11 NCV says, "Money that comes easily disappears quickly but money that is gathered little by little will grow."
4. RETURN 10 PER CENT TO GOD
This is the principle of tithing. In Malachi 3:10 NLT, God says, " Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my temple." In the Old Testament, that was the temple, but in the New Testament it's the church. God says, "Give to your church a full tenth of what you earned." Now, the word in Hebrew is the first tenth, which should go to him (God.) In Deuteronomy 14:23, TLB this is explained, "...The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives." We give the tithe as a sign of our dedication to God, that He is first in our lives. And yet God endorses tithing with a promise. He says: "I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in! As we apply these principles of God He will do some amazing things.
5. ENJOY WHAT YOU HAVE
The Bible uses really strong language about this. Ecclesiastes 6:9 (GNT) says, "It is better to be satisfied with what you have than to be always wanting something else." Yet, we violate this principle repeatedly with our insatiable appetite for more. We are so busy trying to get more that we're not able to enjoy what we have. God interprets our running after things as a lack of trust in His ability to provide for us. The Bible tells us that things will never satisfy us, only being content with where you are in God will. It's not about material blessings; it's about God's blessing - "But godliness with contentment is great gain." 1 Timothy 6:6 NIV.
Ultimately, out-of-control finances are sometimes a symptom of an out-of-control life. If we are not willing to submit our finances to God, then we're probably never going to submit the rest of our lives to Him either. God is interested in every area of your life, and when you surrender it to Him; He is the one who protects, provides, and, yes, directs you. If this is what you want, then pray this simple prayer and start to apply the principles above.Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by Your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. In Jesus' name, Amen.