Who You Gonna Believe?
- Howard Dayton Baptist Press
- 2009 4 Feb
GAINESVILLE, Ga. (BP)--These days some economic experts appear to have started believing financial concepts that sound vaguely familiar -- perhaps even biblical.
Normally I don't overuse Scriptures for these articles. But, turbulent times call for God's stability, so I've put together a sampling of Scriptures that are important for us if we're to survive economic hard times.
If you're a Christian and you haven't been following God's biblical financial principles, isn't it time that you did? After all, "Who you gonna believe," bankrupted businesses and folded financial institutions -- or God?
Today's economic climate makes it important for Christians to review and practice what God has been telling us all along. Hopefully, we'll believe Him this time around.
So, fasten your seatbelt and let's take a quick review of some important biblical principles.
Christian commitment involves stewardship (management) of time, talent and money. Jesus spoke about commitment and gave us a clear outward indicator of our inward commitment: "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21).
Treasure refers to the way we use money and possessions and reflects spiritual truth in a material way. It is the same as the sowing-reaping principle that the Apostle Paul uses when he says: "Remember this: the person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously" (2 Corinthians 9:6).
Talent speaks of intelligence and natural gifts. Christians often waste their intellect and abilities by dedicating their lives to the pursuit of material success. Success is not a bad word, as long as it's a byproduct of a fruitful life dedicated to serving God.
Time is that "everyone has 24 hours in a day" thing. If Christians would honestly assess their available "net-time" (not including sleeping, eating and so forth) as 100 percent, what percentage would be spent in the first priority of seeking God? Unfortunately, a conservative estimate probably would be that less than two percent of the average Christian's day is given to godly pursuits.
Choosing which master to follow is a decision each of us must make every day. Are you committed to weigh every decision against God's Word and follow the path He requires of you? "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you" (Matthew 6:33).
Contentment is an attitude. Some people seem to have no regard for material possessions and accept poverty as a normal living condition. In contrast, others live in showplaces and drive automobiles that cost more than some houses.
Many have suddenly discovered that abundance doesn't guarantee contentment -- it's a matter of attitude. Poverty also doesn't eliminate the possibility of being content.
True contentment requires that we establish some basic guidelines:
- Have a reasonable standard of living. Just because God provides a surplus for you, doesn't mean you must spend it or that He intends you to use it any way you choose.
- Have a habit of giving. God wants Christians to be involved with helping to supply the needs of others. So, is it wrong to be rich? Is it better to be poor? In God's economy, He has arranged a system that Christians need to understand and practice. Paul explained it like this: "At the present time your surplus is [available] for their need, so that their abundance may also become [available] for your need, that there may be equality. As it has been written: 'The person who gathered much did not have too much, and the person who gathered little did not have too little'" (2 Corinthians 8:14-15).
- Have priorities. Many Christians are discontented, but not because they aren't doing well. They're discontented because others are doing better. "Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you or forsake you'" (Hebrews 13:5).
- Have a thankful attitude. It is remarkable that in America we could ever think that God has failed us materially. "If you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, don't brag and lie in defiance of the truth.
Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic (James 3:14-15).
If you have never lived on a budget -- never practiced biblical financial planning -- then this certainly is the time to do so. Continuing to live by the world's economic plans and financial standards simply will not do. I suggest that you check www.crown.org for help.
You must reject a fearful spirit, because Satan's tool is the question, "What if?" Don't be trapped into a fearful spirit or hoarding because of the "what ifs" and uncertainties of the economic future. Stand up to the fear. After all, "I am able to do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).
Seek God's will for you and trust His promises. "And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7).
No one knows what the economic future holds. However, God's biblical truth is ideal for the good times and the not-so-good times.
You see, as Christians we have been given God's assurance that He will not leave us as orphans. God is our heavenly Father and He never deserts, disappoints or disregards His children. Who you gonna believe?
Howard Dayton is co-founder of Crown Financial Ministries and the current host of Crown's radio program, "Money Matters." Dayton and the late Larry Burkett joined forces in 2000 when Crown Ministries, led by Dayton, merged with Christian Financial Concepts, led by Burkett. The new organization became Crown Financial Ministries, on the web at www.crown.org.
(c) 2009 Baptist Press. Used with permission. All rights reserved.