VIDEO The Christian and His Money – 5 Lies Christians Tell About Money

I’ve been a financial coach in my church for several years, and I’ve seen many financial situations. I’ve learned that some people pay too little attention to their financial affairs; others too much. Some routinely budget and plan and save; others don’t. Some give generously; others withhold.

Most can offer reasons (or excuses) for their decisions. Yet often they’re acting based on misconceptions about what Scripture teaches. We need to have an accurate, comprehensive view of biblical personal finance.

To that end, here are five common misconceptions I’ve come across.

1. God cares more about my heart than what I do with my money.

God certainly cares about the condition of our hearts. And yet there’s a “faith and works” connection with money that can’t be ignored. A heart transformed by the gospel will result in changes not just to what we believe about money but also what we do with it (Jas. 2:14–17, 26).

Money is a big deal in the Bible. We’re given more instruction in the Bible about money (more than 2,000 verses) than almost anything else. Jesus told many parables about it, and the apostles had a lot to say about it. We’re told to avoid the love of money (1 Tim. 6:6–10) and to choose God over money (Luke 16:13), so we can be generous and ready to give (Matt. 6:2, 5, 16) and put our trust in God, not riches (1 Tim. 6:17–19). We’re also encouraged to plan and save (Prov. 21:20) and look after the needs of our families and others (1 Tim. 5:8Heb. 13:16).

2. I know I need to give, but how much doesn’t matter so long as I give something.

There’s little disagreement among Christians that giving is encouraged, even commanded, in Scripture (Mal. 3:6–12Matt. 23:231 Cor. 16:1–2). But when we start talking about “how much,” things get tricky.

[Check out this two-part TGC Asks series on the question, “Are Christians today required to tithe?”: 7 Reasons Christians Are Not Required to Tithe and The Bible Commands Christians to Tithe]

Some say we’re free to give as little or as much as we want based on how we “feel led,” because we’re free from the “legalism” of the tithe. It’s true that New Testament giving shouldn’t be legalistic. But Jesus and the apostles taught proportional and even sacrificial generosity from a heart of gratitude and worship, which for some may be more than a tithe (Mark 12:41–441 Cor. 16:22 Cor. 9:5–6).

Christians are a long way from obeying this teaching. Depending on which study you read, among professing Christians who attend church regularly, only about 5 percent give at least 10 percent of their income (the traditional “tithe”). Of those who do give, the average is approximately 2.5 percent of income.

3. Debt is unavoidable and not a problem so long as I pay it back and maintain good credit.

Debt is common these days; all forms of consumer debt are on the rise. Some debt may occasionally be necessary, but most kinds can be avoided with careful planning and discipline.

Scripture doesn’t explicitly prohibit lending and borrowing, but it does teach that debt is a form of “bondage,” since it makes the borrower a slave to the debt payment itself (Prov. 22:7). It also makes the borrower a slave to the lender in the sense that the lender has partial “ownership” of the time the borrower must work to pay the lender back.

Unless there’s an overwhelming need to borrow, we shouldn’t put ourselves under the bondage of indebtedness. At a minimum, we shouldn’t frequently borrow, and we should always pay off debt as soon as possible (which is the wise thing to do regardless).

4. God will prosper me financially if I work hard and have enough faith.

Historically there have been two perspectives on financial prosperity and the Christian life. The first teaches that because love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Tim. 6:10), the more money you have, the less righteous you can be. The second teaches that God wants all Christians to be prosperous and wealthy. If we aren’t prosperous, it’s because we don’t have enough faith.

A more accurate biblical perspective is that God in his sovereignty gives some people more, and others less, to steward on his behalf (1 Sam. 2:7Matt. 26:11). How and why he does so is his business, not ours. Mature believers may be either rich or poor (Prov. 22:2).

5. God has promised to take care of me, so I don’t have to worry about money.

God promises to take care of his children (Matt. 6:25–27Phil. 4:19). But he also instructs us to take responsibility (and action) for our situation (Prov. 10:4–5). When it comes to finances, we have to do our part.

In light of his promises, we can be free from worry since we know God will take care of us. And given the wise instruction we’ve received, we need to resist passivity and inaction, which presume on God’s kindness.

Money is an important part of our lives, so it’s important that we clearly grasp what the Bible teaches about it. Take time to study the Scriptures for yourself and see how they apply to your situation. Read good books on biblical stewardship. Above all, strive to be a faithful steward of all that your King has entrusted to you (1 Cor. 4:2).

by CHRIS CAGLE

 

Original here


The Christian and His Money

Divided in Love

Today's Devotional

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Ephesians 4:2

 

When public debate erupted over a controversial Singapore law, it divided believers with differing views. Some called others “narrow-minded” or accused them of compromising their faith.

Controversies can cause sharp divisions among God’s family, bringing much hurt and discouraging people. I’ve been made to feel small over personal convictions on how I apply the Bible’s teachings to my life. And I’m sure I’ve been equally guilty of criticizing others I disagree with.

I wonder if the problem lies not in what or even in how we express our views, but in the attitudes of our hearts when we do so. Are we just disagreeing with views or seeking to tear down the people behind them?

Yet there are times when we need to address false teaching or explain our stand. Ephesians 4:2–6 reminds us to do so with humility, gentleness, patience, and love. And, above all else, to make every effort “to keep the unity of the Spirit” (v. 3).

Some controversies will remain unresolved. God’s Word, however, reminds us that our goal should always be to build up people’s faith, not tear them down (v. 29). Are we putting others down to win an argument? Or are we allowing God to help us understand His truths in His time and His way, remembering that we share one faith in one Lord? (vv. 4–6).

By:  Leslie Koh

Reflect & Pray

How can you explain your stand on sensitive issues humbly, gently, and lovingly? What will you pray for those who seem to disagree?

God, guide me as I speak the truth so that I do so out of love and seek only to build up, not to tear down.

Inspiration of Spiritual Initiative

Not all initiative, the willingness to take the first step, is inspired by God. Someone may say to you, “Get up and get going! Take your reluctance by the throat and throw it overboard— just do what needs to be done!” That is what we mean by ordinary human initiative. But when the Spirit of God comes to us and says, in effect, “Get up and get going,” suddenly we find that the initiative is inspired.

We all have many dreams and aspirations when we are young, but sooner or later we realize we have no power to accomplish them. We cannot do the things we long to do, so our tendency is to think of our dreams and aspirations as dead. But God comes and says to us, “Arise from the dead….” When God sends His inspiration, it comes to us with such miraculous power that we are able to “arise from the dead” and do the impossible. The remarkable thing about spiritual initiative is that the life and power comes after we “get up and get going.” God does not give us overcoming life— He gives us life as we overcome. When the inspiration of God comes, and He says, “Arise from the dead…,” we have to get ourselves up; God will not lift us up. Our Lord said to the man with the withered hand, “Stretch out your hand” (Matthew 12:13). As soon as the man did so, his hand was healed. But he had to take the initiative. If we will take the initiative to overcome, we will find that we have the inspiration of God, because He immediately gives us the power of life.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

The great word of Jesus to His disciples is Abandon. When God has brought us into the relationship of disciples, we have to venture on His word; trust entirely to Him and watch that when He brings us to the venture, we take it.  Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 1459 R

 

Empowering Ourselves

Gaius’s way is God’s way.

And it can be our way. When we selflessly refuse to look out just for ourselves or our own property, we give God the freedom to prosper our souls. When we serve, in whatever capacity we find, not only do we empower others for ministry, we receive the benefit of knowing we have obeyed our loving Father.

Sometimes we hold back on service for fear that we can only take care of ourselves. Our own pressing needs and those of our family force us to try to keep something in reserve. Or we become so used up by the busyness of our lives that it seems we have virtually nothing left over.

I’ve learned, however, the very answer for our own impoverished souls may be to offer whatever we have left to someone else. We may need to be like the Old Testament widow, down to her last drop of oil, who gave what she had to Elijah. But then, just as the widow learned, God replenishes.

I’ve discovered that it actually seems to please God when we feel like we have nothing to offer because He works through us, and we don’t get confused about who’s doing what. Out of our emptiness, God uses us.

It takes a special calling to be a career missionary or a pastor. But the power behind those messengers of God comes from faithful people like Gains, who look so ordinary in many respects until you notice their open hands, open hearts, and open homes helping to make a way for the Gospel.

By David Jeremiah

A Daunting Task

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

—Romans 1:16

 

The greatest event in history was the coming of Jesus Christ into the world to live and to die for mankind. The next greatest event was the going forth of the Church to embody the life of Christ and to spread the knowledge of His salvation throughout the earth.

It was not an easy task which the Church faced when she came down from that upper room…. Left to herself the Church must have perished as a thousand abortive sects had done before her, and have left nothing for a future generation to remember.

That the Church did not so perish was due entirely to the miraculous element within her. That element was supplied by the Holy Spirit who came at Pentecost to empower her for her task. For the Church was not an organization merely, not a movement, but a walking incarnation of spiritual energy. And she accomplished within a few brief years such prodigies of moral conquest as to leave us wholly without an explanation—apart from God.   PTP007-008

Empower us for our work, Holy Spirit, even as You empowered the early Church. Amen.

 

Enjoying the Benefits

Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways….Happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.

—Psalm 128:1-2

 

Our contacts with civilization make our clothes dirty, greasy, sometimes spotted. The dirt is not only on our clothes; soon it is actually in them. We can shake the garment, argue with it, talk to it, read Shakespeare to it….Still it is soiled and dirty. The dirt must be loosed. The garment must be set free from its soil….

The only solution that will loose us from our sins is the blood of Jesus Christ. He loved us and freed us—washed us—from our sins in His own blood. Education, refinement—nothing else worked. But when Jesus’ blood did its work, we were free!

“Ye shall know the truth,” Jesus said, “and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32)….But there must be a moral commitment. If there is not, there is no understanding. If there is no understanding, there is no cleansing.

Are you obeying the truth as it is revealed by the Spirit of God? Are you enjoying the benefits of freedom in Jesus Christ? Are you one of His true disciples? FBR066-067

Happiness is nothing but that inward sweet delight, which will arise from the harmonious agreement between our wills and the will of God. JAS147

 

A Clad Spendthrift

Luke 6:38

 

I want to be a spendthrift, Lord,

a spendthrift of my time and strength,

giving instead of withholding,

sowing instead of wanting to reap.

 

Don’t let me be a miser, Master,

cuddling myself to myself,

careful of every effort,

counting each step,

hoarding my physical resources

For the demands of a tomorrow that might never come.

 

Make me a glad spendthrift, Lord:

joyously giving my love and care,

opening the sluice-gates of my small reserves,

pouring out what little I have to give

without measure or stint,

without anxious debate,

and trust You for tomorrow.

 

Don’t let me shelter myself in a glass case,

fearful lest the light of day should fade me,

dreading that the hand of time should touch me,

shrinking from effort that might drain me,

saving myself up… for what?

To look nice in my coffin?

 

Let me give what I have to give with open hands,

offering myself to You each day for service,

happy to be used as long as life shall last,

living for You as a glad spendthrift.

For at the end, Lord,

You will not ask me what I have saved,

but what I have given.

Flora Larsson, Just a Moment, Lord

 

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