Money is an essential aspect of life. We cannot avoid being involved with it. It can be a Good Servant or a Terrible Master. Either way it affects every other area of our lives. Our Lord Jesus Christ reminds us if we are not able to handle our finance prudently (worldly wealth), how can He (Jesus) entrusts us with His Riches? – Luke 16:11“If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth who will trust you with true riches? (Luke 16:11). There are various causes of financial difficulty, but the most common is overspending:
- This may involve spending all the money we have, leaving none for giving or saving for the future.
- Spending everything, we have almost inevitably lead to living on credit, which is spending money we do not have.
- Living on credit reduces our future resources, initiating a vicious cycle of increased borrowing that can lead to a seemingly hopeless situation.
- Overspending and indebtedness can develop at any age. People with high income are not immune.
The Root of Overspending
A Psychological Test was carried out, the Audiences were given a quick reflex test by asking them to list the emotions they associate with money: Often the lists are dominated by worry, concern, guilt, or desire. There were Psychological Factors discovered, in the Test, behind overspending:
- The Person may be deprived as a child and would be determined that he and his family would enjoy everything life has to offer.
- Others think poorly of themselves and try to compensate with displays of affluence.
- Some seek emotional security in material things when they do not feel loved and accepted.
More often the problem has simpler roots. Some People simply do not know how to manage their financial affairs. Our Society’s insistence on instant gratification encourages overspending. The advertising that surrounds us creates artificial “needs” is another powerful stimulus to overspending. All, of these roots of overspending find fertile grounds in the soil of materialism – the age-old desire for and slavery to material things. Materialism expresses itself in:
- Covetousness (greedy desire for what does not belong to us).
- Possessiveness (selfishly clinging to everything we have).
Overspending is almost always closely related to this inordinate desire for things and pleasure. The answer to gaining control of our finances lies deeper than good rules of financial management. These are necessary, but more fundamental is the process of growing into maturity in a very significant area of our life, our attitude. The correct attitude is essential to controlling money.
God’s Word – The Bible provides us the Principle and Guidance on the Management of our Finance. If we are to achieve control, the understanding of the Principles are essential:
God’s Blessing – Genesis 1:31 “And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.” God created the material universe as a provision, not as a temptation. He described His Creation as “good.” Money represents material things. It functions as a medium of exchange and a store value, facilitating the use of God’s Creation in many ways. If the material things God created are Good, so is the money we substitute for them in exchange. Therefore, our attitude toward both material things and money should be positive.
Stewardship – 1Corinthians 4:1-2 “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” Responsibility is a corollary of Freedom. All through the Scriptures Individuals are held accountable for their attitudes, decisions and actions. The Scriptures established the Principle of Individual Ownership of the Person’s attitudes and actions. God gives us the right to control and the use of our wealth. But with our right to control what we own comes our responsibility to use it as God’s Stewards, accountable to Him. This responsibility of Stewardship is an Individual matter. In Jesus’ Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), each Steward is held responsible and rewarded or rebuked according to his diligence.
Apostle Paul set the example of assuming responsibility for his financial needs, even though he had the right to be supported by those who have benefited from his ministry (2Thessalonians 3:6-10). He encourages his Followers to work to meet their own needs and to help others (Ephesians 4:28, 1Thessalonians 4:11-12). Unless a person demonstrates his trustworthiness in these “little things” of material wealth, he cannot expect God to entrust him the true riches of Eternal Values (Luke 16:11).
Live Below Income – Proverbs 21:20 “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets” (TLB). Our standard of living must be such that total expenditures are less than income. This requires a life-style that keeps material things in their proper perspective. If we are living within our means, there will be resources to meet even severe emergencies without violating this rule. This is an essential step toward financial freedom. It is particularly importance that this rule never be violated because violations are cumulative and inevitably make tomorrow’s problems worse than today’s. Yet, it is so obvious that it is often overlooked, and its violation is the source of nearly all financial difficulty.
Establish Priorities of Use – Establish priorities for the use of our Resources. Much has been written about the proper order of priorities for the Christian, but our basic guidance should come from God’s Word. Living below our income implies an orderly control of necessary expenditures and at least a small surplus that can be used for optional priorities – including giving and saving – Proverbs 21:20 “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets” (TLB).
Master Our Credit – Proverbs 22:7 “The Rich rule over the Poor, and the Borrower is Servant to the Lender.” In our society credit is the greatest single impediment to financial control. It is not only readily available but is foisted on consumers through the clever advertising of both money and product. Spending on credit without proper control is likening to “a foolish man who spends whatever he gets” (Proverbs 21:20 – TLB).
Learn to Buy Wisely – The Virtuous Wife of Proverbs 31, we are told: “sees that her trading is profitable” (Proverbs 31:18). Clearly, she must have looked for good buys! Notice that she “considers a field and buys it” (Proverbs 31:16). One Writer states that he does not believe that it is an exaggeration to say that expenditure costing one family, of the same family size, $10,000.00 can cost another $15,000.00. Many factors enter into this discrepancy, but the important ones are ordinary common sense, patience, and willingness to search hard for the best buy. Financial Freedom – Living in control of our financial affairs – is not only a wonderful experience, it is an enabling one. It prepares us for fruitful usefulness in other areas of life, an initial step toward maturity!