Monday, February 1, 2010

Finances - our spiritual barometer

A definition of "faith," according to Hebrews 11, is trusting God totally. It means trusting God for things you cannot see or manipulate into happening. Most of us truly desire to be able to exercise this faith, but the world around us tells us to do just the opposite. If you don’t have the money for what you "need," borrow to get it. If it’s too expensive for your income, so what? You deserve it; besides, you have to stretch yourself if you want to be successful in this world.

God’s Word tells us to learn to be content and dedicate ourselves to serving God. In Hebrews 12:1 we are told, "Let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us."

Is it wrong to be rich?
Rich is a very subjective term, but here it’s used in the context of having enough money to meet all of your reasonable needs and still having funds left over. Clearly, God’s Word teaches that many of His people will fit into this category. God’s plan is clearly stated in 2 Corinthians 8:14-15: our abundance at the present time will meet the needs of others, and later their abundance will meet our needs (a good alternative to welfare within the church).

Christ warned those who are rich always to be on their guard (Luke 12:15-21). There is a great temptation to trust in the security that a surplus can provide. The greater the surplus, the greater the temptation. That’s why those who are rich (most of American Christianity) must guard their hearts and minds with the principles from God’s Word. ~Crown Ministries
When we compare our own circumstances with those around us, we must remember to keep our personal situation in perspective. We live in a two-income world, but are called by God to live on one-income - with our husband as the provider.

Since my husband and I have been living on one-income for nearly 20 years, I can tell you that there is not one single plan or magic pill that will make it possible for you to live comfortably. Unless your provider has a good income and the two of you have no debt, it is a constant struggle to make ends meet.

I have been chasing after a magic pill for years that will allow us to make ends meet every pay period. I'm convinced that if we all stopped eating, our money troubles would be over. So since God didn't create us to live off of air, I continue to live as frugally as possible, try not to create debt, live on a budget, and be content with what has been provided for me. I have found that if I am diligent at being thankful for what we have, and be a good steward of our possessions, my contentedness grows.

Often times it is hard to look at what other people have, such as a nice vehicle that don't need continual repair, or beautiful furniture that has no holes, but I don't always know the other half of the story. Are they in debt up to their eyeballs? Do both of them work...only to create deeper problems?

Unless this victory over the world is begun in the heart, a keeper at home will continue to struggle within her existence. What money offers is kindling for these vanities that are so alluring to the corruption in our hearts. Without constant watching and prayer, we cannot escape the world, or obtain victory over the god of it.

So if you have chasing after a solution to making your life financially comfortable, you may already unknowingly been doing it all along. You can stop your search, because there is not a magic pill. I would have found one by now if there was one. The Lord never said this life would be an easy one - but He did say that we must obey. I feel sure that there will be an award for our struggle in the end.

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