UNSTUCK - FINANCES
If there is one thing that is constant throughout the scripture, it is that God cares for us and loves us more than we can imagine. Every detail of your life matters to Him - spiritual, social, relational, financial.
Some of us, however, feel like our lives are in a tailspin because our financial security has been eroded. With school fees, mortgages, car payments and the credit card, we can barely keep our minds focused on anything else because our burden is so great. We can't make ends meet and many of us are financially stuck.
The Lord knows we need help to break the cycle of poverty in our lives, but today, we will tackle a latent but real handicap that we struggle with in this area. That is materialism. "Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction." 1 Timothy 6:9 NIV.
The world proclaims covetousness like it is something to be celebrated; a life that consists of what we own. So we buy things we do not need with money we do not have to impress people we do not like. We soon realise, though, that the more we have, the more we want, and the unhappier we become. "Those who love money will never have enough. How absurd to think that wealth brings true happiness." Ecclesiastes 5:10 NLT.
The scripture warns us about greed and wanting too much. Jesus said: "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." Luke 12:15 NKJV. We can use Jesus's message to point to some central issues concerning our finances that need to be confronted and changed:
1. This lifestyle of constantly wanting more and more is offensive to God.
God loves us and has set His heart for our well-being, so when we run after material things, we are saying - maybe not in words but in action - that God cannot take care of me. Yet God says "Do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them." Luke 12:29-30 NIV. In other words, the rich fool ignores God and makes money and possession his idols; he pushes God from where He belongs into second place.
2. We need new priorities.
God demands to be first place in our lives. In Jesus' teaching, He said: "Don't be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. But I'll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, He's the one to fear." Luke 12:4-5 NLT.
Remember the Lord
But we are doing things in reverse. We fear man, being poor and not having enough, and we don't fear God. The scripture says: "Remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth..." Deuteronomy 8:18 NIV.
We also need to apply the principles of the kingdom of God, which include a willingness to give to others. God's Word says it's better to give than to receive, but some of us are so tight that God cannot trust us with wealth, as He knows we would hoard it. Open your hand and give God something to bless.
3. We need a new heart, not only a new plan.
We don't have the power to change on our own; we need God's strength to do it. God wants to give us a new heart and He says if people would turn to Him through Jesus, He would do something new in their lives. "I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh." Ezekiel 11:19 NIV.
The tendency we have is to try to do it on our own, but this only leads to frustration and defeat. We need to start with His presence in our lives. The billionaire, H. Bunker Hunt, said, "A billion dollars ain't what it used to be. You can lose it no matter how much you make. No matter what kind of job you've got, ... you could get sick, the economy can turn around, the place can burn down. In order to have security, you've got to put your security in something that cannot be taken away from you."
God created us and knows our needs. He loves us so much that he sent Jesus Christ to die in our place so that despite the problems that we have had, despite the sin in our lives, we can have a relationship with God. He loves us that much and it's this God who says that He will be our Provider. Here in this life, He will provide.