God says if we pray for anything in His will, believing, it will be given to us. However, our ways are not always aligned with God's will. When we turn our finances over to God, we must be willing to accept His direction. Too often we impatiently seek our own way without any clear direction from Him, sometimes even borrowing money to do His work. We forget that God says He will not frustrate His work for the lack of money (see Luke 22:35). There is nothing wrong with asking God’s direction, but it is wrong to go our own way without waiting for God’s answer. In order for us to recognize God’s directives, it may be necessary to first understand God’s view of money and how He uses it to enhance our relationship with Him.
How and for What Purpose God Uses Money
Money is neither good nor bad: it is merely a medium of exchange. It is the love, misuse, and abuses of money that cause the problems. Because God is so good, He uses money for our spiritual growth in several ways.
God uses money to strengthen our trust in Him. It is often through money that God clearly and objectively shows us that He is in total control. We learn financial clarity when we trust Him and accept our positions as stewards and managers of His possessions (Matthew 6:32-33).
God uses money to develop our trustworthiness. This principle is important because our lives generally revolve around making, spending, saving, and using money. If He can trust us with money, then He can trust us with greater responsibilities and His true riches (Luke 16:11).
God uses money to prove His love. Scripture tells us that God assumes the responsibility of providing the basic necessities for everyone who trusts Him (Matthew 7:11). By transferring all money to Him, He uses money to meet those necessities of life.
God uses money to demonstrate His faithfulness. Moses reminded Israel that it was God who would give them the power to make wealth. Our security is in God, not our bank accounts. Discovering His faithfulness through financial need encourages reliance on Him (Deuteronomy 8:18)
God uses money to unite Christians in blessing. God will use the abundance of one Christian to supply the needs of another. Surplus money in our lives has been given by God for the purpose of helping those who are in need (1 John 3:17; Philippians 2:4; Matthew 25:35-40).
God uses money to provide direction. There is probably no way God can direct our lives more meticulously than through the abundance or lack of money. Too often we believe God directs our lives through the abundance of money, but He also will lead us down His directed path by withholding money (Proverbs 16:9; Psalm 37:23).
God uses money to cultivate self-control. One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control, a key aspect of successful money management (Galatians 5:22-26).
God uses money to clarify spiritual maturity. Many temptations clamor for Christians’ attention. A great deal can be learned about our personal character and spiritual maturity by noticing how we handle money and determine financial priorities (Matthew 6:33).
Areas in Which God does not Use Money
Just like there are several ways in which God uses money for our benefit, there are several areas in which God never uses money to influence our lives.
God never uses money to worry us. If Christians are worried, frustrated, and upset about money, the Christian is not being obedient to God and/or is not acting in God's will. God said that wealth without worry is His plan for our lives. In addition, He promises to meet the needs of those who trust in Him (see Matthew 6:25-34).
God never uses money to corrupt us. Many Christians have fallen into Satan’s trap and are being corrupted. Christians whose financial life is characterized by greed, ego, deceit, and other worldly snares are at enmity with God and His plan (James 1:13; 4:4).
God never uses money to build egos. Frequently, Christians are trapped by financial ego when money is used to build self-worth or ego. However, in Christ all are financially equal because all wealth will pass away. What will remain will be those things that have been stored in heaven—the true wealth (Matthew 6:20).
God never allows money to satisfy our personal whims or desires. God does not expect His people to live in poverty; however, He also does not endorse lavishness. Surplus is provided so that God’s work can be funded and those in need can be helped. If the surplus is hoarded or wasted on lavishness rather than used for His plan and purpose, chances are the surplus may be removed (Luke 16:9).
God offers countless financial principles, intended to make our lives meaningful because He is interested in us and how we earn and spend money. Once we understand how God uses money and why He chooses to use it in a particular way, we generally become more familiar with His plans and purposes for our lives. Then, we are able to recognize and comprehend His directives.
Larry Burkett, Your Finances in Changing Times, Moody, 1975, p. 43