If we are having problems in the area of our finances, we need to examine God's Word as to what He says about finances and then line up with that Word. Are we handling our money wisely? True wisdom comes from God and the Bible has revelation about money problems as well as our other problems.
So many people in our day are having financial problems. Even wealthy men are concerned they will lose their riches because of inflation and the worth of the dollar dropping daily. Stock markets around the world have been unstable. People are contemplating bankruptcy and even suicide due to such heavy money pressures. Many marriages are also under extreme stress and divorce has risen due to unresolved financial difficulties.
Is there an answer to all the money problems? Yes, the Bible has the answer to this problem as well as all others that face mankind. Briefly, we are going to write down a basic financial check list based on the Word of God. On this list we are going to look at some things that can block our financial blessings. As Christians, we are promised the blessings of God, not the curses of the devil. The promise of prosperity and blessing belongs to us, not the curse of poverty and fear. Galatians 3:13-14 says, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."
Genesis 17:1-7 says, "And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee."
From these Scriptures we see we receive the same blessings as Abraham because we are his seed. Therefore, our first step is to become a child of God, thus the seed of Abraham and God. Then, Matthew 6:31-33 applies to us. "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." We must give our lives totally to God and seek His righteousness, then all the things that the Gentiles (those in the world) are seeking will be added to us. What are the things that those in the world are seeking? Clothes, houses, food, etc.
A total commitment to God is the very first step to financial blessings. However, there are many Christians who still have not gained the victory in finances due to other principles in God's Word that have been ignored. Let's ask ourselves some questions that will bring us financial freedom if we are agreeing with the Word of God in these matters.
1. Are we giving at least 10% to the work of God which is the tithe? (If not, we are using God's money, and robbing Him.) Malachi 3:10: "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." Matthew 23:23 "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone."
2. Are we giving our tithe to the ministry where we are being fed? (Offerings, above the tithe, may be given to the poor, good works, etc. however, our tithe should go to the spreading of the gospel. Additional offerings also should be given to the church and it's five-fold ministries as listed in Ephesians 4:11; apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.) 2 Corinthians 9:6-8: "But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work."
3. Are we giving to God first, before paying other bills? Proverbs 3:9-10: "Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine."
4. Are we indifferent to the needs of the poor? Proverbs 28:27: "He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse."
5. Are we going in debt for lustful things? Wants, instead of needs? 1 Timothy 6:6-10: "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."
6. Are we planning and budgeting our financial spending? Luke 14:28-30: "For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish."
7. Are we lazy or slothful on the job(a day's work for a day's pay)? Ecclesiastes 9:10: "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest." Proverbs 21:25 "The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour."
8. Are we too generous in giving to others without paying our own bills? Do we spend for lustful wants while making our creditors wait for their money? Proverbs 3:27-28: "Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee."
9. Are we being wasteful? John 6:12: "When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost."
10. Have we committed all our money and material things to God? Luke 12:34: "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
11. Do we need the things we buy or are they luxuries? Proverbs 21:17: "He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich."
12. Are we selfish in our families, spending more on our own desires? 1 Corinthians 10:24 "Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth."
13. Are we willing to sell or give away anything that God would tell us to? (Make sure you hear God's voice when giving or selling all, as this is a major step and God does not require this of you unless you absolutely understand what His plan is for your life; however, we must all be willing.) Matthew 19:21-22: "Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions."
14. Have we paid our debts or made arrangements to do so when we are having difficulties? Romans 13:8: "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law."
15. Have we been sowing money into the kingdom of God? We reap in proportion to what we have sown (a little or a lot). Luke 6:38: "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."
16. Have we done our spiritual homework in fasting & prayer over our finances? Isaiah 58:6 & 9: "Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity"
17. Have we been hard on people who owe us money, demanding payment with no mercy? Luke 6:34-36: "And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil."
18. Are there other areas that could be blocking our finances such as any unforgiveness, disobedience, stubbornness, etc.? Matthew 6:14-15: "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
19. Are we spending our money foolishly or are we being wise? Proverbs 24:3-4: "Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches."
20. Are we totally committed and thankful to God, no matter what is happening? This does not mean we are to praise God for bad things as He does not send bad things in our lives as His children. It means we are to be thankful and praise God in the midst of all of our problems as He desires to show us the way out of our troubles. We praise God "in" the trouble, not "for" the trouble. Psalm 34:1: "I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth." Philippians 4:4-7: "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
21. Do we lack faith in God as our total source? Psalm 121:1-2: "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth." Romans 14:23: "---for whatsoever is not of faith is sin."
22. Are we hoarding things through fear or greed? Luke 12:19-21: "And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." This is different from preparing for the future by saving and storing at God's direction. Proverbs 30:24-25: "There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer."
23. Are we seeking financial blessing instead of seeking God and His will? (Wanting God's benefits, but not God's ways.) Matthew 15:8: "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me."
24. Are we giving excessively to God's work in an attempt to ease our guilt, yet are not paying our bills? Although not many are guilty of this sin we felt we should deal with it as the devil tempts us to go to one extreme or the other. If we are giving too much and not paying our bills it would be wise for us just to give a tithe for awhile until the Lord showed us how to pay our debts. Giving 50% to God and not paying our bills is not in harmony with the Scriptures. "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law" (Romans 13:8). The Lord wants us out of debt, then we will be able to give more to His Kingdom. Some Christians go to the other extreme and say when they are out of debt, then they will give. The devil sees to it they never are out of debt. We must always put God first in our finances, then He will show us the way out of debt.
These are some of the major reasons we fail financially. We may have been ignorant about some of these things until now. The Bible says in Hosea 4:6a: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." Many Christians are being destroyed financially either because they are ignorant of God's knowledge or they refuse to adhere to it. Don't be destroyed in this area of your life. Simply repent of past failures and ask God to give you the grace and strength to obey Him and do those things that His Word outlines. You can be an overcomer and walk in victory. Remember to give God some time. If you have been doing it the world's way a number of years, you must now give God an opportunity to prove Himself faithful.
Malachi 3:10 says to "prove Him". "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
Galatians 6:9 promises we shall reap what we sow. Just as a farmer plants a crop and then there is a growing season before the harvest, so it is with planting God's Word in our hearts. "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Don't faint! Ask God for the strength to overcome. We are overcomers in Christ!
Remember, we are stewards of all that we own and we must give an account to God for it. A steward is someone who takes care of another's property. Psalm 24:1: "The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof;the world, and they that dwell therein." Romans 14:12 says, "So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."
If we want to be pleasing to the Lord with our money, we must begin today to be faithful in the small amounts; only then will we be faithful in the larger amounts God will entrust us with as we obey Him. How wonderful it will be to then hear the Lord's commendation recorded in Matthew 25:21, "His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
Some are heaping treasures together in these last days while ignoring God and they will find such treasures are worthless. "Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days" (James 5:1-3).
Money cannot save us from the tribulation of these last days; only our trust and faith in God will see us through.
One rule we should follow when considering giving is to never give under extreme emotional persuasion. Many fleshly ministries use not only drastic emotional appeals, but also many other gimmicks to influence people to give to their ministries. Many people have given under this kind of pressure and later have found that it was not the Lord. Others have made pledges under the same influence and then have found they were unable to keep them. Any minister that would threaten people with the wrath of God should they fail to keep their pledge is definitely not under the Holy Spirit's leadership.
Pledges are very similar to vows or oaths unto God, and we are told not to swear in the New Testament. "But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation" (James 5:12). We can desire to do certain things and tell the Lord that we want to be able to do them, but we should not promise God or make a vow that we will do them because Satan will condemn us if we should fail. This is not only true in the area of giving money, but also in other areas of our lives. We can make commitments to God, but not vows.
We should ask God who is worthy to receive the things He would have us bring as an offering unto Him. True ministers of God will receive offerings as unto the Lord as they will make their needs known however, they will not spend half their time begging, pleading, threatening or coercing people to give. Those ministers who are walking in faith know that God is their source and they do not look to people. God touches people's hearts to give when a minister is trusting God for his needs.
When we give unto the Lord, it should be with a cheerful attitude. If we give generously, the Lord blesses us in the same way. However, God's blessings don't come back only monetarily, but in the form of our needs when we are trusting Him.
"But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God" (2 Corinthians 9:6-12).
Sowing and reaping is a very important principle in the Word of God. We must sow (plant) money into God's works if we expect to receive a harvest. The Lord gives us money for two purposes. We must have money for a living and to eat, plus money for giving. "For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater" (Isaiah 55:10).
God expects us to keep money for bread, as well as seed for sowing. Those Christians who give it all away and then expect God to take care of them are violating this principle of keeping bread to eat. (Farmers kept grain to grind into flour for bread making, as well as some grain for seed to plant the next crop.) Some people give all their seed away and have nothing to eat, while others wrongly eat all their seed and have nothing to plant for the next harvest. We should have seed for both purposes.
After we plant a crop we expect a harvest; even so we should expect God to meet our financial needs when we have been obedient and have given of our tithes and offerings. "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again" (Luke 6:38).
Our giving should also be to help our brothers and sisters whenever the Lord so directs. We must learn how to give by the Spirit's direction and not allow our emotions or sympathy to rule us. Until we have had these soulish areas renewed, we can still be influenced by Satan through them. God is not always sympathetic with seemingly good causes. We should not give mechanically to things because it has been our pattern in times past, but we should remain open to the Lord's direction for our giving as with all guidance. Sometimes the Lord may speak that we are not to give to a certain person or ministry. We need to be just as sensitive to the Lord's restraining voice as to His condoning voice. He may want us to give elsewhere.
If we are truly walking in the Spirit, we will always have the desire to give because it is the nature of God to give. Greed and stinginess are from Satan. If we are truly committed to God, giving will not be a burden, but rather a joy. God is calling us to be committed to the point where if He told us to leave all and follow Him, we would not hesitate. We find a rich man in the Bible that could not make this commitment, and he ultimately missed God's blessings for his life. Let us be faithful in the area of giving and we shall never lack in the things we really need as that is God's promise to us.