What are some of the things you can do to make sure that your heart is not set upon possessions; more exactly, how can you trust in our God as Provider?
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3-5
All this is a result of His sacrifice of Christ’s redemption, His permanence, and His love for us. He lived, died, and rose again for you and me! All we are to do is trust and obey Him, and as we continue in this endeavor, He gives us even more empowerment for enduring life and performing ministry along with His special favor and peace! Even if we do not see Jesus, He sees us, loves us, and helps us persevere. This may seem unattainable or even unfathomable when we are under stress or the hostile occupation of life. However, we can do this because we have access to His empowerment; we are literally kept by God through faith. As we grow in our faith, we become even more precious to God and He will preserve us through trials and life.
From this passage we can see what we gain by our Lord’s grace, so how will that affect our budget and giving?
What we can do is view your promise to give to God that which is referred to as your tithe, like an income tax. Although it is not mandatory, it is a reflection of your character and response to His grace.
As the government so nicely swipes away your hard–earned money from the top of your paycheck, consider joyfully setting also the top 10% of your net, or better yet, the gross income, for the Lord’s service– before the bills, expenses, and entertainment.
Do not include the tithe in your budget. Make your budget on the net assets you have after the tithe and taxes. Then, you will have a more realistic budget and keep yourself from getting into debt.
That way, it is done and out of the way. Then, carefully decide to whom it should go. The primary responsibility is first to your local church, and second to ministries that are doing the Lord’s work. Remember, the people who set aside the first fruits of their resources to God are dedicating themselves to God, and not themselves to themselves.
This will also allow you to give more easily and continuously. Our real and true treasures are imperishable (1 Pet. 1:3-5)!
To help you do this, make a list of them, and put them in a place that you can see daily to encourage yourself. Keep in mind that true treasures are not material in nature, so look to relationships and character.
Do you realize that the prophets of old desperately desired and sought what we have—that which is free, and that we take for granted? Never take your faith or what Christ has done for you for granted. If you do, your spiritual journey will derail, your faith will stagnate, and the hopeless gloom of the world will be your only “vesper” (a bell that summons monks to pray). You will be seeking what is feeble and worthless and disavow what is real and jubilant. We are to declare our faith internally, see its veracity and application, and then declare it publicly.
Credit cards are a tool when you are in a great need. It is always best to play them off each month.
What credit cards are not, is being your money! They are not your income or your entitlement, they are not what you need or what you deserve. When we get this, we will be on the right track of money management.
This is all about telling your money what to do, not allowing your desires to ‘defund’ you. If you can’t manage a credit card, do not have one. Stick to a debit card and have a good budget to guide you.
It is not hard to do, and it will make your life so much easier!
Instead of thinking of a budget as a negative thing, remember that a budget is simply a “game plan” or a financial plan. We need to have money to live in today’s society. Because money is a necessary aspect, a tool that we need to create, apply, and follow the plan. In doing so, we can be wise stewards with what God has blessed us, and we can competently handle money, time and things—all gifted to us for the glory of Our Lord. A well-designed budget considers necessities, generosity, and desires and benefits everyone—you, your spouse, your family, your friends, even strangers!
How do we do this? You need to have a plan. This starts with a biblical concept of how to deal with your money and debt.
First, know your total income (what comes in).
Then, count all of your expenses (what goes out).
The goal is to always make sure the income is greater than the expense. Kindly and honestly communicate with each other to make sure that you are both aware of the reality and work from there. Put the plan on paper and discuss it together. If you need a template for examples, go to crown.org or biblicalstewardship.net.
You are a money manager for God as it all belongs to Him, and we work for Him!