Early on in our marriage, my wife Ashley and I faced some serious financial struggles. We were drowning in debt, living on credit and constantly stressed out. It’s easy to see why financial stress is now one of the top two causes of divorce.
We finally broke free from the exhausting cycle of trying to make ends meet and coming up short, and we’re far from rich, but we’re living with margin and freedom in our finances and the difference is amazing. We are NOT financial experts by any means, but I’d like to share with you the same principles that were taught to us. You might be shocked where were learned this sage financial wisdom…The Bible.
Yes, that’s right, the Bible is actually provides brilliant and timeless financial strategies. God wants us to get this right, and He must have known it would be a struggle for us, because He went out of His way to share these principles in great detail. Whether you’re wealthy or you’re drowning in debt, these seven principles can help you live with peace and freedom in your finances if you’ll apply them.
In no particular order…
1. True wealth is measured by relationships, not by dollars.
Your faith and your family is always more valuable than your paycheck, so don’t compromise what matters most in the pursuit of wealth. It’s okay to have money, but never let money have you! Don’t kill yourself trying to get wealth only to miss out on real life in the process. Work hard to provide for your family, but don’t harm your relationships in the process. Your family can do with less “stuff” if it means having more of YOU!
“Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.” Proverbs 23:4
2. Debt is a form of slavery, so get rid of it as fast as you can.
When we shackle ourselves up with the “golden handcuffs” of debt, we’re giving away part of our freedom to a debtor. God wants us to live in freedom; not in slavery. So, do everything you can to get out of debt and avoid going into more debt. You may need to do some “plastic surgery” (as Dave Ramsey calls it) and cut up those credit cards! For more on how to remove debt, check out the resources at DaveRamsey.com.
“…the borrower is a slave to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7
3. Lasting wealth comes from consistent discipline, not “get-rich-quick” schemes.
Our culture wants everything NOW, so many of us have a financial plan of winning the lottery someday or betting on a lucky stock. This is a poor approach, which is why so many lottery winners end up depressed and bankrupt. Lasting wealth is the result of a strong work ethic over a long period of time when applied with these other principles as well. Money, like children, grows little by little.
“Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time.” Proverbs 13:11
4. It’s ALL God’s money. We’re just managers of it.
This principle changed the way we looked at “our” money and “our” stuff. None of it actually belongs to us. The only part that belongs to us is the responsibility to be good stewards of the resources God has entrusted to us. Once we learned we were managers of God’s resources; we stopped acting so entitled and immature in our impulsive purchases and we became more disciplined. We still have a long way to go on this (me especially), but we’re trying to apply this principle to all aspects of our finances.
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” Psalm 24:1
5. Money is NOT evil, but greed is.
People have often misquoted the Bible to say “money is the root of all evil” which is not what the Bible actually says. Money is a great resources for good when in the hands of people who follow the Bible financial principles, but when an unhealthy love of money becomes the primary desire of our hearts, it’s become an unhealthy idol, and greed can drive us to do barbaric things in the unquenchable quest for more.
“For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:10
6. Generosity blesses both the giver and the recipient.
The happiest people I know are generous people and the most miserable are misers. When we’re generous, everybody wins. When we’re stingy, everybody loses. We know this already which is why every Christmas we all watch movies about Ebenezer Scrooge! Now, we just need to put the principle into action.
“The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25
7. You can’t take it with you, but you can shape eternity with it.
There’s never been a hearse pulling a u-haul, because we obviously can’t take our wealth with us, BUT we can invest it into people and ministries that will create an eternal legacy. Commit to using your money to making a difference that will outlive you!
Jesus taught, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:19-21