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This question of suffering financially is important for Christians. After all, if Christianity true, if God owns everything, if He is love, if He is the God of all provision, why do many of His precious children struggle in under lack of finance and/or debt?
At the beginning let us establish God's desire for His children financially.
"The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto...And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee. The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath..." Deut. 28:8-13
"Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." 3 John 1:2
It is God's desire that His children prosper in everything on every level which includes finances. Under Jesus Christ we have come out from under the curse and operate in God's life-giving blessing. Everything that is Christ's is ours [see Covenants and Making Of A Blood Covenant courses]. If this is so, if it's God's desire to bless His children why do we often struggle with lack of money? Doesn't God have the power to being His desires to pass?
There are many reasons why this may be and we will explore them for your consideration. One or more reasons may apply. If you are struggling in this area try to objectively evaluate your position. This is not for condemnation; but for instruction and understanding.
Sometimes we struggle in finances because we are ignorant of the basic principles of money, investing, budgeting, etc. It is an area in which we are sometimes [especially men - who often have trouble admitting to weakness in any area] embarrassed to ask for help or to admit we have a problem, yet it is an area in which we need instruction. The Bible has much to say about money. We need to study the Bible, read Godly books on the subject, and pray about this important area of our lives. One of the things you need to do is set up a budget. A budget is a guideline to show where you are and where you want to go. It is not an unbreakable law.
In a marriage often the husband looks after the finances. This is not a requirement. Husbands and wives should work together on their finances. They are one unit and should operate as a team. If one partner has a weakness in this area then the other partner should perhaps be the one in charge of the actual bookwork/accounts. Or if one partner is especially gifted with finances then that person should probably be the one in actual charge of the details. Whatever your individual case, remember it is a team effort. Both partners should be familiar with the finances and able to handle them should one partner die or, for some reason, not be able to handle the finances.
One of the important principles which is often neglected is tithing. This is a vital principle which we have written about in Tithing: The Great Test.
Above all, don't be afraid to get Godly counseling if needed.
Another reason for financial struggles is disobedience to the will of God. This does not simply mean disobedience in financial matters. Walking in defiance of God in any area of life can bring judgment which can include finances. Have we placed our will over God's will in our families? in our work place? in how we view or operate in the world? Often we have been so influenced by the humanist viewpoint that we - consciously or unconsciously - prefer the world's way over God's way. We must actively search out and implement God laws. [The Biblical Law course is a good place to start.]
Also, God is not raising spoilt children. If He just gave us everything we wanted when we wanted it, He would have a family of spoilt brats. That is not what He wants. He always has our long-term benefit in mind. Sometimes that means denying our requests for a greater benefit that we do not see at the moment. Like children, we often focus only on the immediate situation and our own wisdom. We need to trust God's wisdom.
Often we end up in debt or financial struggles because we take for ourselves things that God is not willing to give us. Our friends have it, we want it [thinking we need it] but we don't have enough money for it, so we go out and borrow for it. We "need" a bigger car, a bigger TV, a bigger house, a bigger...? Some loans are legitimate, but often it is our placing our will above God's will for us that gets us into trouble. Do we really trust God to give us all things that we need or must we help ourselves? How great is our faith in God? Are we willing to go without if that is God's will? [For some great Christian examples of financial faith read the biographies of Hudson Taylor, George Muller, and Corrie ten Boom.]
In line with the above point, many times we lack the self-control or self-discipline to handle our finances. We spend money foolishly. We feed our carnal lusts and desires, instead of investing in the Kingdom of God. Whenever we have money we go out and spend it. That is the world's way. We need to develop long-term [even multi-generational] plans of saving, investing, and giving. We need self-control. If we cannot bring our own desires and impulses under control, then we are always going to be in financial woes.
Sometimes we are doing nothing wrong but still have financial struggles. It can be a part of the training God is putting us through in order to develop us into the people He wants us to be. He wants us to have faith and trust in Him alone. He is our Source. Sometimes He takes away all external support so we can learn that He is our Supply and He doesn't need any help. Many [but not all] Biblical people went through this: Job, Joseph, Moses, David, and even Jesus Himself. It has also been the experience of many Godly people since then. Financial struggles are not necessarily a sign of sin or wrong doing. They can be a part of the processes of God to work something greater in our lives and our ability to reach others. Many times there is financial reward when we come through the tests successfully.
Finally, front line soldiers can suffer financially. Take the Christians in the time of Nero. They were advancing the Kingdom of God with their blood. Many lost all in this world to gain a crown that will never fade in the eternal world to come. Because of their sacrifice the Kingdom of God did overcome the Roman Empire...and the effects of that victory are still with us today.
In every nation around the world today there are front line soldiers.
Some are suffering the loss of all things including their lives. Others
are being fired from jobs or prejudiced against for standing for Christ.
The fact they are suffering financially is not a sign of sin, but of
intense warfare in fighting the Kingdom of darkness. They need our
support financially and in other ways. In any war there are those on
the front lines and there are those who work to support the war effort.
One of the problems in the Christian war is that many of the "support"
workers are squandering their efforts on themselves instead of realizing
that God requires as much self-sacrifice from them as from the front
line fighters. This does not mean it is wrong to have nice things - if
God allows - but we need to get our priorities straight.
Gary North has a good site to help Christians understand finances and get out of debt. Financially Gary North's Deliverance From Debt is one of the best in practical, Biblical instruction. Be sure to take his free Deliverance From Debt e-mail course!
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