We claim Satan is reeking havoc in our lives when things aren't going right. We give him credit for strife, complacency, mediocrity and anything that takes our focus away from God. But have you considered that he too may have gotten into your bank account? If he has... there is hope by taking strategic action in a few areas.
April is financial literacy month. It's a time we should take a look at our financial situation. Check our accounts. Make adjustments and pivot to a more prosperous future. The question is, are you?
The first place we attack when it comes to financially prospering is our mindset. Now I recently put information in emails, Facebook live, You Tube, and other mediums addressing some of the stinking thinking that plaques people in general. From a scarcity mindset to a selfish mindset, we are seeing it all played out in our world today. If there is no offering given to the church, have you removed God and proclaimed that you got this? If you look at your checking account and you see more for you than others, is it not time to re-evaluate? Are you spending on things that are temporal to the extent that you aren't saving for the future? These are indications that a Kingdom mindset has been replaced by a satanic force. God hates idolatry! Nothing and no one should replace God in your life and that includes in your bank account. I challenge you to look deeply into the 'why' and when the change occurred and rid yourself of that evil spirit. "You shall have no other gods before me"(Exodus 20:3)
As you review your goals and plan for the future, have you considered godly principles? Do your goals include leaving an inheritance? Do you have an other centered focus somewhere on the horizon? Goals are visions for the future that you should be working toward. Consider adding what God says about money to your reading and application in the area of goal setting. It is important to have goals and those prioritized according to Biblical principles. I challenge you to write the vision and make it plain. Have a God sized vision and ask for His wisdom. If 73% of Americans are dying in poverty, don't let one of them be you! "A good man leaves an inheritance for his children's children" (Proverbs 13:22)
Giving, spending and saving are the buckets in which our money falls. Budgeting is that system that allows us to allocate our income appropriately. First, do you have a budget? Are you using a system to distribute according to your plan? Most people only think of a budget to be used to curb spending. "Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive"(Sir Walter Scott). That thought comes to mind as we look at paying our creditors. Those who rob Peter to pay Paul knowingly are being deceptive. "A man that doesn't pay his debts is wicked"(Psalm 37:21). Budgets do put boundaries on where we spend and how much is spent but it is also a way of allocating paying yourself (saving) and charitable giving (tithe, offering, gifts). Every dollar should be allocated into one of the buckets. No bucket left behind should be your motto. There should be something in every bucket. I challenge you to become an automatic saver and giver. "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35)
Debt rears its ugly head in many forms. None of them look like God. As time has shown individuals are not banks and don't lend to nations however, the principle God teaches is that debt should be avoided. As I wrote the workbook, "Financial Wisdom For Financial Freedom", I stated that slavery is alive and well in America. I had some challenge me on that statement. When we look at the statistic that 80% of Americans are in debt (over $9000), we see slavery. I owe, I owe, so off to work I go. Who are you working for? If you don't get a check this month, how comfortable are you with your savings? If you delay paying your debts, they aren't forgiven only postponed. You still owe for what you have purchased or rented. You still have debt. Until you are debt free, the lender can come take your home, car or items given to you on credit. Satan has infiltrated our thought processes. We buy today instead of waiting until we have saved enough. We anticipate receiving money and before the check comes it has been spent two times. We see and we purchase for today without consideration for the future. It is time to take control and develop a plan to eliminate debt. Imagine what it would be like to not owe anyone! Sure utilities (electric, water, gas) will be used monthly, but imagine your home and car free and clear. Imagine your credit cards with a balance of $0. Financial freedom is available but you must plan and take action to achieve it. "The borrower is slave to the lender" (Proverbs 22:7)
Investing is a concept that should only be tackled once the other areas have been mastered. If there is a concern with money management, investing will only compound the issue. Funds invested should be only those to the extent in which you can afford to lose. That way, you don't lose your peace if the amount in your account drops. In order to get ahead and amass true wealth investing is a vehicle that needs to be addressed. It is the method of having your money work for you and not you working for it. Consider a mortgage. At some point in your paying it the dollars spent on interest becomes less than that on principal. In the beginning we work to buy things we need. Some of those purchases are done with credit and amass debt. As we eliminate debt the tables turn so that we now are accumulating and our minor bills are less than our savings. This is similar to investing. It's the difference between owing (interest) and saving (principal). The issue then becomes where can I get the most for my investment. With the multitude of instruments available, this blog can't adequately address them all so a future blog will deal with that subject. For now, plan to invest responsibly. "...he that had received five talents came...saying... behold, I have gained beside them five talents more" (Matthew 25:20)
Considering the areas of mindset, goal setting, budgeting, and debt accumulation leads to the realization that Satan has tried to set up camp in our bank accounts. The question is, did you let him? If you find that you haven't, you are ahead of 80% of Americans that are in debt. It doesn't however, mean that you have put God in His rightful place. Does God have preeminence? Are you following the financial wisdom laid out in the Bible? Have you taught it to your children? The world's system and the satanic forces designed to relieve you of your time, talent and treasure requires that you are vigilant. Open your eyes. Keep watch. Have 2020 vision!