Achieve True Financial Freedom
- Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2003 12 Dec
The richest people are those who are free. You can enjoy peace and contentment no matter how much money you have if you let God guide your financial decisions.
Here are some ways you can achieve true financial freedom:
- Derive your sense of worth from God rather than your income or possessions. Know that God highly values you no matter whether you’re rich or poor. Embrace God’s love and reject the world’s pressures to prove your worth through money.
- Understand that money is simply a tool. Realize that money is just the tool of exchange for trading one person’s time and energy for another person’s time and energy. Remember that it’s God who has given you your time and energy, which enable you to earn money. Thank Him for His provision and trust Him to guide you into the right balance for using your time, energy, and money. Ask Him to help you avoid unhealthy extremes such as greed in acquiring money and waste in spending it.
- Don’t spend more than you earn. Either cut your spending to live within your income (a budget will help you do this), or produce more income to keep up with your expenses (such as by taking on an additional job or furthering your education to increase your earning power). Don’t allow yourself to get sucked into the destructive debt machine.
- Work to please your ultimate boss. No matter what your income or working conditions, always do your best, remembering that God is your ultimate boss and striving to please Him. Know that excellence honors God, and that He will reward you somehow for your faithfulness.
- Remain prayerfully dependent on God. Don’t credit for income God made it possible for you to earn, and don’t let pride get the best of you. Instead, regularly praise God for His work in your life and thank Him for all He has provided for you. Know that you don’t truly own anything unless you can give it away if God calls you to do so.
- Tithe. Give a generous portion of your income – the Old Testament says 10 percent – to your local church congregation. Know that tithing will help you grow spiritually by breaking money’s hold over you, making you vulnerable before God, and helping you to more fully trust God to be in control. And remember that God has promised to bless you for tithing, in ways that you may not even expect. Give God both your heart and your wallet.
- Pay down your debts. Start with your smallest debt, and pay it down as aggressively as you can, sending in double or even triple payments until the entire amount is repaid. Then move on to your next smallest debt and pay that off in a similar fashion. Work your way up to paying off your largest debt until you have achieved a debt-free life. Then, devote half of what you had previously spent on debt payments to long-term savings, for such things as buying a house or retiring. Devote the other half to a separate savings account for short-term goals such as a vacation or home remodeling.
- Save whatever you can. Start a new, easily accessible savings account right now – without waiting! – and deposit at least something into it each week. Even if all you can afford to deposit is $1 every week, at least you’re building a healthy habit of saving.
- Handle a surprise windfall the smart way. Rather than using an unexpected financial windfall like a Christmas bonus or tax refund to splurge on something, use it either to pay down a debt or build up your savings.
- Try the 24-hour financial review. Invest two hours of every weekend for the next 12 weeks to review your expenses. At the end of that time, you should have a clear picture of where your money goes and how you can develop better financial habits. Detect your spending patterns, create budgeting guidelines, make spending decisions, and activate your plan. If you discover you have a surplus, ask God how He would like you to invest it.
- Follow the LIFT program for overall financial planning. LIFT stands for liquidity, investments, fixed assets, and tax management. Keep some of your assets liquid – available to use for unforeseen emergencies such as replacing tires on your car or paying an emergency room co-pay. Pursue investments for long-term growth – over at least 7 to 10 years. Save for fixed assets that can appreciate, such as a home. Be aware of fixed assets that depreciate a lot, such as a car. Carefully research tax laws before choosing specific investments.
- Live generously. Understand that giving is a form of worship. No matter what percentage of your income you give to God’s kingdom work, make sure you give it joyfully from a heart that is 100 percent committed to God. Check for wrong motives before you give. Someone who pleases God gives with no strings attached, without expecting anything in return. Be humble, seeking not to advance your own agenda but to honor God. Know that God will bless the person who gives from a pure heart.
- Follow John Wesley’s advice. The founder of the Methodist Church once wrote, “Make all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can.” Ask God to make your life bear lots of fruit for His kingdom as you do these things.
Originally published December 10, 2003.
Adapted from "Your Money," © 2003 by Ralph Moore and Alan Tang. Published by Regal Books from Gospel Light, Ventura, Ca., www.regalbooks.com.
Ralph Moore is senior pastor of Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay in Hawaii and founder of the Hope Chapel in Hermosa Beach, Ca. The Hope Chapel movement has planted more than 200 churches around the world. Pastor Moore travels extensively, providing church leaders with biblical tools for spreading the Gospel and planting churches. He and his wife, Ruby, have two married children, Carl and Kelly. Both are involved in ministry. Alan Tang is a certified financial counselor and marketing businessman who gives financial counseling as a volunteer ministry in Ralph Moore’s church in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. When Moore finds himself helping people out of extreme financial difficulties, he refers them to Alan and his team.