God and Money (pt1) | Finding Hope
Have you ever struggled with finances?
- Not "making enough?"
- Always seeming to run low at the end of the month?
- Never seeming to do better than “get by”?
- Always stressed about how you’re going to make it?
You’re not alone.
In 2016, Business Wire conducted a study and found that financial stress caused nearly 1 in 4 Americans to suffer from PTSD-like symptoms.
This is a serious problem.
But God says there is hope.
God promises to bring us healing, hope, and new life when we turn to Him - and this includes our finances.
This financial series is going cover many practical aspects of godly financial management such as budgeting and saving, but we can’t miss the foundation of all of our financial decisions…
God’s Perfect Plan
Like every area of our lives, God has an ideal design for our finances. Similar to those other areas, the fundamental basics of this plan is to:
- Enjoy His blessings
- Worship Him with what we’ve been given
Enjoy His Blessings
You realize God is not a kill-joy, right?
He loves us very much and created this world so that we could enjoy His creation. As culture grew and money became a way of trading goods and services, we can use money today to enjoy the world that God has created.
But, this enjoyment isn’t meant to surpass our enjoyment of God Himself.
Worship Him With What We’ve Been Given
We were made to worship, and we are designed so that we are filled by whatever we worship.
We were created to worship God, and Him alone, so that we may be filled with joy, peace, love, and other characteristics of God.
And this includes our money and possessions.
This can play out in many ways such as generosity and wise money management, but it all comes down to if we are using money, or worshiping it.
I think the title says it all: we messed up. It’s what the Bible calls “sin."
God created us to enjoy His blessings, yet to still worship Him as God - and we’ve messed it all up.
Some claim the physical to be bad, and choose to not enjoy God’s blessings… While others allow His blessings to take the priority in their lives and remove God as having the first place in their lives.
And it’s this rebellion that leads to our pain...
Whenever we rebel against God, we bring pain upon ourselves.
Sometimes this pain is “small” or delayed to show up in our lives, but God’s Word promises that when we turn away from His design, we are immediately “dead in our sins” and it’s only a matter of time until we feel the pain of it.
And, this may seem like we can simply start over today, and try better and do better, but the reality is that the damage is already done.
We cannot redeem ourselves from our sins any more than you can raise someone from the dead by simply putting clothes on them and pretending they’re alive.
But there is still hope.
God’s Grace And Redemption
As in every area of our lives, God offers redemption for our finances and our heart towards money and things.
I’m not saying that God promises health, wealth, and prosperity to those who surrender to Him and love Him.
But God can free you from the love of money. From the fear of financial struggles. From the cycle of bad decisions that makes your difficult life even harder.
From the PTSD-like symptoms that 1 in 4 people reading this struggle with because of financial difficulty and stress.
Ultimately, to find hope in any and every area of our lives, we need to turn to the hope of the Gospel.
To believe that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again to bring healing to our brokenness and sin, and to trust Him as our Lord and Savior. When we do this, He promises to work in our hearts and lives and continue to heal our brokenness - and this includes our crippling worries and fears regarding our finances.
And we’re not alone - God says that we not only are given hope through Jesus and the power of His Spirit entering our lives when we believe, but that we’re added to a new spiritual family called the Church. In this group of people who trust in Jesus and desire to follow Him, we find help, accountability, guidance, and general love and support to follow Jesus every day.
In order to find healing in every area of our lives, we first need to admit our need.
James 4:6 reminds us: "But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’"
And Proverbs 28:13 tells us: "Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”
And, lastly, 1 John 1:9 also says: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Turning to Jesus as our Lord and Savior starts with us acknowledging our brokenness and need, and then asking Him to heal us - and He promises to do just that.
From the many conversations I’ve had with people about their finances and difficulties I’ve found something interesting:
People are more open with sins such as pornography or lack of a prayer life than they are their finances.
I’m not sure why this is, but we all have a tendency to want to hide our financial sin more than other sins and brokenness in our lives.
But we cannot find healing in our lives until we confess our sin, and ask Jesus to heal us.
If this is you, I encourage you to confess your sin regarding finances, and ask Jesus to heal you in that.
- The way you’ve prioritized finances over Jesus...
- The way you’ve overworked in order to have more...
- The way you haven’t been obedient to give your first 10% back to God...
- The way you haven’t even gone above and beyond that 10% to be generous as God tells us to...
- The way you’ve found your identity or pride in how much you make...
- The way you’ve been undisciplined and/or spent more than you make...
And the list goes on…
And when you do, you’ll begin to find healing in God’s forgiveness and empowerment to live as God has made you to live in this area of finances.
In the next few blog posts, we’ll cover the practicalities of following God’s design for our finances, but simply reading about these things are not enough.
I encourage you to find accountability to live in God’s design for your finances, just as you would for any other area of your life.
- Ask someone to disciple, teach, and be an example to you on surrendering your finances to God
- Ask a few people you know to keep you accountable, and let them see and speak into this area of your life
To do this takes extreme courage and humility, but as we’ve already seen…
"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." -James 4:6
So, may we find God’s grace in our financial lives today, and may be be humble to seek His ideal for our lives.
For when we obey and follow God, He promises that we will be blessed because of it.