Have you ever been suckered into a get-rich-quick scheme? You know, the ones that advertise on television in the middle of the night, promising that their method is guaranteed to make you wealthy. It usually involves purchasing an expensive course that puts money in the bank. The problem is that money goes in their account, not yours. These schemes are not the way to a better financial life.
The Bible does show a way to greater financial security. It is not a quick way to wealth, but by following these lessons, you can grow in your ability to a higher paying career and understand the mindset necessary to hang on to your hard-fought financial gains. When it comes to greater prosperity, your attitude matters greatly.
Step One — Measure What You Want to Manage
Here’s what Proverbs says about budgeting:
“Be diligent to know the state of your flocks and attend to your herds. For riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations. When the hay is removed, and the tender grass shows itself, and the herbs of the mountains are gathered in, the lambs will provide your clothing, and the goats the price of a field. You shall have enough goats’ milk for your food, for the food of your household, and the nourishment of your maidservants.” – Proverbs 27:23-27 NKJV
Peter Drucker, the business management expert of the late 20th century, famously said, “What get measured, gets managed.” It’s very difficult to manage your weight if you never step on a scale. We constantly measure the aspects of lives. You may hope to be able to cut a few seconds off a task that you do regularly. Or strive to increase our bench press by another ten pounds. We search for ground beef that is ten cents less than what we paid for it last week.
Likewise, if you want to manage your money, you must keep track of your income and expenses. You want to increase the money you are bringing in and reduce the amount you spend. Budgeting isn’t just a useless exercise for nerds. It allows you to see where your spending is out of hand and helps you think of creative ways to control it.
If you want to have money sufficient to do the things God has called you to do, you must understand and measure the money that comes in and the money that goes out. If you aren’t accounting for how much you have, how much you earn, and how much you spend, you are probably lying to yourself.
Step Two — Make A Decision
If you want to want to get control of your financial life, you must take a stand. As Joshua told the Israelites:
“And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” – Joshua 24:15 NKJV
You must decide and follow through. Draw a line in the sand. You won’t persevere through the difficulties unless you have decided that you are going to do it. Let me suggest that you don’t decide in your heart and keep it to yourself. Set a financial goal as to the salary you want to make, the amount you want to raise for a project or cause, or what you will need for retirement. Write this goal down and decide what the steps are necessary to achieve it. If you need further education or other people to assist, figure out how to do that. Write it in your journal, tape it to your bathroom mirror. Create a pop-up that appears every time you boot your computer. Find a way to keep your objective before you and central in your thoughts.
Make your decision public by posting it on social media or telling a few people who will keep you accountable. Allow the pressure of embarrassment for having failed to accomplish your objective spur you toward completion.
Step Three — Abide in the Spirit’s Presence
One truth I noticed some years ago is that Jesus tells us to abide in him because apart from him we can do nothing (John 15:5). However, Paul tells us that he could do all thing through Christ who strengthens him (Phil. 4:13). The difference between doing nothing and all things is abiding in the presence of Christ’ Spirit.
Likewise, we can’t abide in the Spirit’s presence if we are disobedient. Our sin and disobedience separate us from God. We see this truth in the nation of Israel. God withdrew his presence from the people because of their disobedience.
“Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, who stood above the people, and said to them, ‘Thus says God: “Why do you transgress the commandments of the LORD, so that you cannot prosper?” Because you have forsaken the LORD, He also has forsaken you.'” – 2 Chronicles 24:20 NKJV.
The book of Hebrews tells us that Abraham obeyed by faith. “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” – Hebrews 11:8 NKJV.
When we abide in Jesus and his words abide in us we have faith. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” – Romans 10:17 NKJV. The key to developing a strong faith is hearing the word of God. You can hear God by listening to sermons or reading Christian literature or even by just listening as the Lord speaks to your heart. However, you develop discernment and learn to recognize the Lord’s voice by reading scripture. Then you will be prosperous and then you have good success.
Step Four — Join a Helpful Community
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. but woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NKJV
God can use you to accomplish his will. However, each of you is responsible for accomplishing the part that God has specifically given you. As we serve others, we enable them to accomplish their purpose and others help us to accomplish our purpose by serving us as God leads them.
When the Corinthian Christians became contentious over the different personalities they followed, Paul criticized them for their carnality. The human vessels God used were only responsible for the part they were called to play. Each does his or her part and God uses their collective service to accomplish his will.
Paul explained, “For when one says, ‘I am of Paul,’ and another, ‘I am of Apollos,’ are you not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.” – 1 Corinthians 3:4-6 NKJV.
Step Five — Give Thanks for What God Provides
When you see God working in your life, it is appropriate to appreciate. We struggle to know God’s will in a matter, but scripture says plainly that God’s will is that are thankful for the things he provides. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NKJV.
A few years ago, a young friend of mine, Hannah, taught our bible-study group about Ebenezers. In Hebrew, Ebenezer means “stone of help.” When God gave the Israelites victory over the Philistines, Samuel, who was the judge over Israel at that time, set up an Ebenezer stone to remember the victory that God provided. “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the LORD has helped us.’” – 1 Samuel 7:12 NKJV. Likewise, when God provides victory for us, we should thank him and set up something to commemorate his help. It could be as simple as an entry in our journal or diary or as significant as a thermometer poster you hang in your house and color in as you reach each new milestone.
The point is, that we should have a record of the things God has done for us in the past. If we sense that God is being silent or elusive in our lives, we should have a memorial to his faithfulness that we can refer to and remember the things he has given us in the past. With this knowledge, we are assured of his faithfulness toward us in the present and future.