After writing a post on freedom and liberty, my perspectives of financial freedom have changed a bit. If you missed my post on freedom and liberty, you can read it here http://thejourneyofasteward.com/the-fight-for-liberty.html .
Freedom is the independence from something, but also the responsibility to something. If we take a step back and ponder that for a moment, our thought process on money management should drastically change.
Financial freedom brings independence from bondage, but it also brings a responsibility to stewardship. Yep, I just had to say it. Although, stewardship is most certainly, not just about money, it does seem to be the most tangible. As a steward, God has called us to be prepared. With debt looming over our heads and spending everything we have, preparedness is difficult to achieve.
Matthew 6:24- “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
Before, we take any steps to financial freedom, we need to change our thinking. Money is a necessity in this life. It is the basis for economy, however, it is merely a tool to navigate through this world’s economy. Instead it has become an idol that most chase after and worship. It has become the end all and be all. We are busy chasing after the almighty dollar, to try to bring us comfortable living and freedom. Our culture of debt has set us up to fail in our finances.
We need to change our thinking and mindset about money. We need to study God’s word and His principles regarding your finances.
But in order to have true financial freedom, we need to pray like everything depends on it!
Pray that we will have the right view of money. A godly perspective.
Pray to keep your focus! Pray for wisdom and guidance.
Work like everything depends on it! Financial freedom does not come easy. We must be ready to work hard.
It’s interesting, just this morning I was reading in Amos and doing my daily devotions called Morning Manna, and a comment the author made struck my attention. “God does not use lazy people.” While, I firmly believe that God can choose to use whomever He desires, look back into Scripture. Over and over the people God called to work for His purposes were busy about life. They were not just kicking back, relaxing, waiting for God to get their attention. No, they were working hard. It brings to my mind a verse I have posted in my house, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might…” Ecclesiastes 9:10a.
Let’s talk about action steps for financial freedom from the past, present, and future:
1. Get free from the past.
Not one of wants to live in the past, but yet that what debt requires of us, to live in the past. Meanwhile, while we are living in the past our present life is slipping away from us and becomes a drudgery instead of a joy. We need to understand that debt equals bondage. Did you know the number one expense in the American household is interest? We are stuck paying on the past. Freedom is worth more than things!
The ultimate question is HOW? When we are eyeball in debt trying to see past it can be very overwhelming. And quite honestly, climbing out of debt will be a long and hard journey there is no easy way out, but you can do it!
You need to answer three questions.
**Evaluate everything you have spent your money on.
- Where am I at? (What is my income and my outgo?)
- Where do I need to go? (Set goals, get a plan)
- How do I get there? (Plan action steps to achieve those goals, implement the plan)
Once you answer these questions and physically write them out it’s time to get down and dirty.
- Set up Sanctions. Sanctions are rules intended to ensure compliance. Sanctions require discipline, control of the flesh, and honesty. Here is where responsibility needs to override your rights. Identify your weaknesses, confess them, agree with God, and forsake it. You must die to your self daily.
- Create Surplus. You must secure funds for debt elimination. We must create a gap between our income and our spending.There are many ways to do this, but first and foremost, you must live BELOW your means. Get rid of the wants in your spending and get down to only your needs. Cut back and cut out! Everyone usually has things they can get rid of.
We need to renew your mind on the correct understanding of debt. We need to understand that debt really is lack of faith. We are trusting the plastic card to provide for our needs and wants instead of trusting the Lord to provide and using His provisions wisely.
2. Live free in the present.
**Create a Budget
Living free requires responsibility not rights! You are a steward of the money that God has blessed you with. Set up boundaries. We call this a budget 😉 . No one likes the word budget and that is because we view it negatively as to what I cannot spend instead of looking at it as freedom to serve God with our money. It’s just like our country, we have freedom, but we still have boundaries in which to live by. Our responsibility to the freedom that we have in our country is to live by the laws of the land. Those are set up for our safety and protection. If we break them, we could end up in bondage, otherwise known as a jail cell. 🙂
In order to set up a realistic budget you must prioritize where your money will go.
Here are the 5 basic categories to prioritize in our budget:
- First and foremost….The Lord must be first. You must tithe. That is ten percent off the top (gross not net). Your tithe acts as a fence around your finances. Tithing and giving offerings are crucial to your financial management. Proverbs 3:9-10 says, “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.”
- Taxes- Matthew 22:21, “They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”
- Debts– develop a written plan to get out of debt, cut off debt options. Psalm 37: 21- “The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.”
- Family- 1 Timothy 5:8- “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
- Future –Proverbs 6:6-8- “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways and be wise: Which have no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.”
3. Secure freedom for the future
**Plan and Prepare
- Build up your savings
- Invest a percentage of your income – max out what your company will match.
- Continue to live without using debt. Get debt free. Stay debt free.
- Enjoy your financial freedom
- Leave an inheritance- Get a will. Proverbs 13:22a- “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children.”
It’s not about how much money I can get, but rather am I being a good steward or manager of what God has given me. Am I honoring God? Is the motive of my heart to serve God freely or gain physical wealth?
We need to start using Biblical balance and godly wisdom when it comes to handling our finances. We need to be renewing our mind and have Biblical view on the stewardship of money. We want to be rich toward God and content with what he has given us. Once we understand His principles and start putting them into practice we can live in financial freedom.
Galatians 5:1- Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
Blessings as you start walking in financial freedom with the Lord!