It’s no secret that the Bible teaches us to live our lives a little bit differently than the world does. And that’s especially true when it comes to money.
Practice contentment and don’t covet other people’s stuff, the Bible says (Hebrews 13:5, Exodus 20:17). But advertisers make you want the life you see in their commercials. You feel incomplete, so you hand over the cash, hoping to buy happiness.
Worship God above all else, and don’t worship idols, the Bible tells us (Exodus 20:3–4, Matthew 6:24). But people often make their material possessions into gods without even realizing it—especially money.
And when it comes to saving, giving and debt, it’s no different. The world says one thing, but the Bible points to a better way—a way that glorifies God and actually helps us live fuller, more joyful lives (Galatians 6:8)!
Hey, we get it. It’s tough trying to resist the world’s ways when it comes to money. We’ve all experienced temptation in that area and have buckled at some point. That’s why keeping God’s desire for our finances front of mind is so important.
Remember these three points next time you feel the world trying to take your money out of God’s hands and put it into its own. You’ve got this!
The world says: YOLO! You only live once! Indulge first and save later.
God says: Pay yourself by saving. Then enjoy the fruits of your labor.
According to a 2015 Federal Reserve report, nearly half of Americans don’t have the cash on hand to cover a $400 emergency. And more than half of households couldn’t live without their income for just one month without borrowing. Yikes! Lots of Americans definitely prioritize the present over the future.
But Proverbs 21:20 (NIV) explains the value in saving for a rainy day: “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.” And even beyond your own household, saving can create financial stability for future generations: “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children” (Proverbs 13:22 NKJV).
It’s okay to have some fun with your money—as long as you budget for it, and as long as you pay yourself first by tucking some of your money into savings.
The world says: Spend all of your money on you. There’s no way you’ll have anything left over!
God says: Give 10% off the top and work toward being able to give even beyond that.
Here’s the truth about giving: No one gives accidentally. They’re intentional about it. That means that when they budget their money each month, they set aside 10% of their income to give first, even before they save it. That’s the instruction in Proverbs 3:9–10 (NKJV): “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” And in Malachi 3:10, God tells us that those firstfruits should be a tenth of what we produce.
Lots of people say they don’t have enough money to give. But the problem might be that they don’t make it a priority. If giving doesn’t happen first, the money will never be there. That’s part of why just 5% of all adults have tithed. Among born-again Christians, that number is still only 12%.
Giving isn’t a priority in the world, but it’s a priority to God.
The world says: Debt can be a tool to buy things you couldn’t otherwise have.
God says: Debt is bad. There’s no such thing as good debt.
Over the past several decades, debt has been marketed so heavily that many people feel like they can’t survive without it! In fact, eight in 10 Americans have debt, and seven in 10 believe it’s necessary. But debt has also forced people to delay or avoid expensive life events like marriage or kids, and it’s caused bankruptcy, divorce and all kinds of other messes.
Proverbs 22:7 actually says borrowing money enslaves you to the lender. And in Romans 13:8, Paul calls us to pay off all our debts so that the only thing we owe each other is love.
The Bible doesn’t say debt is a sin, but it has nothing good to say about it and definitely discourages it. The risk you accept when taking on debt is too great to make any possible benefits worth it. Take God’s word on this one and save up to pay cash for the things other people might borrow for.
The Bible is full of wisdom about handling money according to God’s teachings, not the world’s. Next time you’re wondering what to do with your finances, turn to His Word instead of to the masses!
If you want to learn more about what the Bible says about handling money, listen or subscribe to Chris Brown’s True Stewardship today!
This article originally appeared on Stewardship.com. Used with permission.
Publication date: October 14, 2016
Image courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com