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Lee Strobel: Okay God, you winRead More
I would like to share this wonderful video from In Touch Ministries.
The Lord often speaks about money in Scripture.
In fact, there are more verses about this subject than there are about prayer or heaven and hell. Over half of Jesus’ parables dealt with financial situations. We’ll never go wrong by heeding Scripture’s instructions because it’s our best guide for personal financial management.
The World’s Viewpoint About Money
The key word that describes the world’s perspective is accumulation. It’s all about receiving. The goal is to get as much as we can and keep as much as possible for the future. The primary focus is selfinterest— personal desires, needs, pleasures, and security. And once a sufficient amount is obtained and kept, the next task is to protect it. This world view promises happiness and financial security for those who accumulate an abundance, but these are empty promises. Some of the richest people in the world are the most miserable, and there is no guarantee that their wealth won’t be lost tomorrow.
God’s Viewpoint About Money
What we believe always influences how we handle money. That’s why it’s important to let our convictions be shaped by what the Lord says.
- God owns it all. According to Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.” This is the first and primary truth we must understand. Everything we consider to be ours is really His.
- We are stewards of God’s money. If the Lord owns it all, then we are the stewards or managers of His possessions. Everything He entrusts to us is to be used as He directs.
The Lord’s key word is distribute. Unlike the world’s view, which emphasizes accumulation, God wants us to distribute what He gives us. Instead of working to receive all we can, we need to become people who work to give all we can.
Two Aspects of Giving
- God’s Encouragement. When Christ talked about generosity, He encouraged His followers saying, “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return” (Luke 6:38). What we do with our money determines what we receive. Either we rely upon ourselves to get whatever we can, or we give as God directs and receive what He generously provides. The Lord not only owns everything, but He also has complete control of it and can direct it to us if He chooses. If we give to Him as He desires, He will reward us for our obedience.
- God’s Warning. “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Tim. 6:9-10). Money can be a dangerous item when it’s not under God’s control and in keeping with His will and purpose. Instead of longing for riches and falling into temptations and snares, the Lord says, “Flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness (v. 11).
After hearing God’s encouragement and warning, we must each make a choice. One option is to be obedient to the Lord in our giving and trust Him to keep His promise to provide for us. The other alternative is to seek full financial blessings through accumulation, even if it requires going into debt. The second method never leads to happiness, because that is only found in a right relationship with God and obedience to His will.
God’s Master Financial Plan
Malachi 3:8-11 was written to the nation of Israel, but the principles found in this passage still apply to God’s people today.
- The Lord requires a tithe, which is ten percent of one’s income. Because the Israelites failed to do this, God delivered this accusation: “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings” (v. 8). If we understand that everything belongs to God, we’ll acknowledge that to withhold what He requires is the equivalent of stealing from Him.
- God’s blessings overflow when we give. “ ‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows’” (v. 10). When we obey the Lord regarding our finances, His blessings don’t just trickle in, they overflow.
- God invites us to test Him in the area of giving. Knowing that we may doubt, He challenges us to test Him and see that He will indeed keep His promise (v. 10).
- God protects those who give. “Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it may not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes” (v. 11). Although it may seem risky to follow God’s instructions, obedience actually places us and our possessions under His care and protection.
A Matter of Obedience
The Lord isn’t asking for money because He needs something from us. He already owns it all. What He wants is our obedience, and if we love Him, our desire will be to follow His instructions. God knows all our present circumstances and will show Himself strong and faithful to meet all our needs if we simply trust Him and obey.
I would like to share this wonderful video from In Touch Ministries.
The Difference Between Convictions and Preferences
Preferences are changeable and may vary throughout our lifetimes. They are beliefs we hold at present, but we could be convinced to believe something else if it seems more beneficial. Preferences don’t provide a foundation for life because they depend on circumstances, can be altered if something better is offered, and are easily abandoned in the face of temptation.
A conviction is a solid, immovable belief based on confidence in God’s Word, being so thoroughly convinced of its absolute truth that we are willing to take a stand regardless of the consequences. Convictions shape not only what we believe but also how we live and even how we die. They define who we are and provide direction with solid straight lines that don’t veer off track to accommodate circumstances or temptations.
Characteristics of a Person With Convictions
A Sense of Purpose. We know where we’re headed and walk a definite path to get there by pursuing those things that fit our identity in Christ and rejecting those that do not. Instead of going with the crowd or seeking profit or pleasure, we follow basic biblical principles, seeking to walk in God’s will and abstain from the sins that surround us in our culture.
Faith in God. The strength that enables us to live out our convictions without compromise comes from faith in Christ as our Savior and in the truth of God’s Word.
Courage. It’s easy to stand for our convictions when we’re among like-minded people in church, but if we are surrounded by those who think Christians are narrow-minded and foolish, we need courage to stand alone as followers of Jesus Christ and proclaim the truth of God’s Word.
Big Picture Thinking. Before surrendering our convictions or denying what we truly believe, we must look ahead to see the long-term effects of compromise in our lives and in those who watch or listen to us.
Unusual Strength. When we were saved, the Holy Spirit came to seal us as children of God and live within us (Eph. 4:30). He is our Helper who enables us to understand truth and gives us the physical, spiritual, mental, and moral strength to do what’s right when we are tested and tried (John 14:26). We are never alone when we stand for our convictions because God’s Spirit is always present with us.
Foresight. With the Holy Spirit living within us, we also have the foresight and discernment to recognize deception. Things are not always as they appear to be, and the world’s promises of happiness, prosperity, and pleasure for those who compromise their convictions are a lie. God has given us His Word to teach us how to live, and the safest way is to abide under its authority. If we base our convictions on our own ideas, desires, pleasures, comfort, or satisfaction, we are headed for disaster. Living under God-given, righteous convictions is the only way to avoid the sin and heartache that comes from adopting our culture’s ways and values.
Causes of Compromise of Our Convictions
Fear of Criticism. Since we live in a society in which people claim their right to do as they please, standing for our Christian convictions or telling them what God thinks or says about their conduct will undoubtedly draw criticism.
Fear of Rejection. If we share what we believe or live according to godly convictions, we may not be accepted by those who follow their own desires. However, sacrificing righteous standards to please others will only result in the loss of all that God has planned for us. It’s much better to live for Christ and follow His commandments so we can receive God’s best.
Fear of Loss. Sometimes we are reluctant to stand for our convictions because we could lose our friends. However, any friend who draws us away from obedience to the Lord is not a true friend.