Biblical Principles for Surviving Uncertain Times
- 2008 3 Jul
There are few certainties in life and one of them is that we will have economic uncertainty. As a matter of fact, if you look at history, you will see that not a year goes by that there wasn't something to be worried about. Just in this decade, we've had the following:
2000 - Tech bubble bursts in March, 2000
2001 - World Trade Center attacks on 9/11.
2002 - Enron, Arthur Andersen, Tyco, Qwest, Global Crossing, ImClone, and Adelphia-- hiding debt and misrepresenting earnings
2003 - War waged by the U.S. and Britain against Iraq begins; North Korea withdraws from treaty on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons
2004 - Spain rocked by terrorist attacks; UN Atomic Energy Agency tells Iran to stop enriching uranium
2005 - Hurricane Katrina; Rising interest rates
2006 - Political corruption scandals; Interest rates rise; Housing market starts to slump
2007 - Housing market meltdown
2008 - Credit crisis hits financial sector, oil prices drastically rise
I went back to 1900 and can basically find at least three "scary" events each year that add to that year's uncertainty. There is a lot of fear out there right now which is no different than any time in history. So the question is, how do we respond in difficult economic times? If you apply Biblical principles in your finances, the answer is the same for both the good and bad economic times. I have found that there are five basic principles that you can apply that work in any economic environment.
Spend less that you earn
In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has. Proverbs 21:20 (NIV)
This is the foundation of every financial plan. You can have wonderful saving and investing plans, but if you don't have extra money, they won't do you any good.
Avoid the use of debt
The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 (NIV)
The people I have been talking to recently that are struggling financially are the ones who got themselves into debt before the economy began to struggle. When times were good, they failed to save and simply borrowed more money simply because they could. Those that aren't buried in debt are barely effected by the economic downturn.
Save money for provisional purpose
Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. Proverbs 6:6 (NIV).
We know that the economy goes through cycles. Like the ants, we need to store up in the times of harvest. This way, when the "winter" comes it's much easier to get by.
Set long-term goals
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14 (NIV)
In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)
I'm sure you've been counseled at some point in your life to set goals; financial goals are no exception. It's been said before that if you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there. When we fail to set financial goals, the road to financial freedom is made more difficult. It's important to remember, that when you do set your goals, God must be at the center.
Believe that God owns it all
The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Psalms 24:1(NIV).
We often confess this with our lips but we don't follow through with our actions. We often allow fear to overcome us, but if we remember that God owns it all and not us, we are free from the fear that we will somehow lose it. We have to ask ourselves, "how would we act if we were completely confident that God was with us?" The reality is none of us have control over the economy. However, we do have control over how we respond. We can respond in fear or in faith. Regardless of what happens in our economy, I've done everything I can do to prepare for uncertainty; and I am confident that God will provide for my needs.
The prophet Isaiah wrote this in Isaiah 41:10 (NIV) - Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
In the end, none of us cannot predict what tomorrow will bring, but we can be sure that following these 5 main principles will put us in a position to survive any economic environment. We have to understand that the world is unstable and none of us is immune from it. Human nature leads us to believe that we are insulated; however, God never promised we would be free from tough times. It's during these times that our faith is stretched and we have to choose between fear and faith. Living in faith does not mean we are free from responsibility, however; we must continue to follow God's principals. The difference is, we can do so with the confidence that someone bigger, and infinitely wiser, is in control.
Steve Scalici is a Certified Financial PlannerTM with Treasure Coast Financial. He is co-host of God's Money, which can be heard on the internet at