Here’s the good news: Your past does not have to dictate your future! As long as the devil can keep us believing that we are somehow mentally inferior to others, he wins. The reason I make such a strong point of all of this is because the devil uses this lie to destroy us.
In Scripture we see Satan as he really is—the great accuser of God’s children. This is how he is depicted in the book of Job when he accuses Job of doing his good deeds for selfish purposes. The devil pulls the same trick again in Zechariah 3:1:
“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, ‘The LORD rebukes you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you!’”
The name Satan is closely akin to the Hebrew word, Satan’el, which means “accuser.” This is Satan’s stock-in-trade. He is the celestial prosecutor who never forgets our sins and mistakes. Every time I fall down spiritually and try to get up again, it’s Satan who whispers, “Steve, you know who you are. Maybe you’ve fooled these people and they think you’re spiritual, but we know better don’t we? Don’t you remember the TV show we watched the other night when no one else was looking? Don’t you remember that guy whom you vainly flattered to get a better price? And how about those thoughts you had when that young, blond crossed her legs at the party?”
It’s only when we accept the reality of God’s grace and peaceful forgiveness that we will be equipped (or even motivated) to change and improve. Many of us feed on the guilt of past mistakes and, in the process, miss a better future. Forgiveness comes when we repent and ask for it. And after forgiveness happens, any further worry is simply wasted effort. It comes from the devil himself. God’s righteous conviction results in godly improvement—and a realization that, as Paul says, “…one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14; NASB)
When all your past mistakes accomplish is an ongoing sense of worry, dread, and a lifestyle of inactivity, you can bet that those emotions are not from God. The truth is, God is pulling for you. The Psalmist says, “This I know: God is on my side!” (Psalms 56:6-13) God is the one who wants you to turn off the tube, get off the couch, put away the chips, and get busy for him! Specifically in the context of dealing with our money, that means we’re not going to allow past dumb money mistakes be our excuse for future dumb money mistakes. It’s time to fearlessly get up and get going! To paraphrase the late Coach Bear Bryant: The road to success is dotted with too many parking spaces.It’s time to get the car out of park and into gear.
The truth is: Anyone with enough gray matter between his ears to crawl out of bed, brush his teeth, and drive to work also has enough smarts to get out of debt and get ahead. It’s a matter of learning some basic (pronounced, s-i-m-p-l-e) strategies, then determining that you’re sick and tired of business as usual!
In my book, No Debt No Sweat!, I was able to go into much greater depth than space permits here. As a shameless plug for that book, I would strongly recommend any reader who has an interest in his or her money (whether you’re struggling with debt; trying to get ahead; wanting to learn the basics of sane investing; interested in developing healthy giving patterns; or teaching your children about money) get a copy. Or, if you prefer, read some of Dave Ramsey’s or Larry Burkett’s materials. There are a host of Christian writers who have squarely taken on the subject of Christians and how they handle (sometimes, mishandle) their money. Become a reader. Then develop your own action plan—and put it into action. Here’s the great news: When we get our priorities right, the rest of our lives will pretty well dove-tail together. Tomorrow is the beginning of the rest of your live. Get busy!
Steve Diggs has presented the No Debt No Sweat! Money Management and ReTooled & ReFueled Essential Life-Skills Seminars over 500 times at churches, colleges, conferences and other venues nationwide. Visit Steve at www.NDNS.org, www.RetooledAndRefueled.com or www.SteveDiggs.com or call 615-834-3063. Today, as the author of seven books Steve is a TV commentator and fulltime speaker. For 25 years he was President of the Franklin Group, Inc. Steve and Bonnie have four grown children whom they have home schooled. The family lives in Brentwood, Tennessee.