Struggling with Financial Stress? Head to Church.
Are you feeling the weight of financial stress? You are not alone.
A 2020 study by Thrive Global found, “For most Americans, finances remain a primary source of frustration, anxiety, and stress. In fact, years of research continue to identify money as the top stressor in the United States, with 90% of individuals saying that money has an impact on their stress levels.”
However, just because you have been led to believe financial stress is normal that doesn’t mean you must accept it.
There is a better way to live that doesn’t involve being a slave to your money!
Money causes many problems, and Jesus spent a good bit of his time on Earth talking about solutions. In fact, the only subject Jesus addressed more than money was love.
The Bible contains more than 2,350 verses about money and how to deal with money. Jesus talked about money more than faith and prayer combined!
My father is a very successful man, and his advice to me early on in life was this: “Martin, if you want to be a millionaire, read the Bible and do what it says about money.”
In the book Unshakable: Standing Strong When Things Go Wrong, Nelson Searcy writes, “Financial peace is closely tied to God-honoring financial management, or stewardship. […] We are stewards of our time, our abilities… and our money. We’ll never be able to live the life God created us to live without first learning how to handle our resources the way God intends.”
The good news is the Bible provides plenty of excellent financial advice.
You do not have to battle financial storms alone.
With God’s help and wisdom, you can find your way to financial peace.
That’s what we are discussing in today’s blog.
Where Our Money Comes From
According to Searcy, “Financial storms begin to whip up when we forget where our money comes from.”
We hold tight to the money we believe we have earned; however, this perspective forces us to cling to the wrong things.
The only reason you earned the money you have is because God the Father has given you what you need to do your job (the breath in your lungs, your mind, your physical body, etc.).
Searcy explains, “Living an open-handed life becomes much easier when you grasp the reality that God owns everything anyway. He is not only the source of your money and possession; he is the owner. You are simply a manager of what he has allocated to you.”
Step #1: Realize the reality of God’s ownership of all things. This reality shifts your perspective and makes it much easier to be a wise steward of His finances.
But simply recognizing God is the owner of everything you have won’t immediately undo your financial mess.
The following steps will help you brave financial storms and come out on the other side with financial peace.
Prioritize Your Spending
Once you have a new perspective, it will help you do a better job of prioritizing your spending.
The reason most Americans feel financial stress is because they spend money they don’t have.
Dave Ramsey is quoted as saying, “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t even like.”
That likely rings true for most people. If we prioritize our spending, this won’t be a problem.
The keyword here is “prioritize.” We prioritize what matters.
If impressing others is a priority, you will find yourself spending in ways you shouldn’t.
In contrast, if you strive to prioritize God in your finances, you should give back to God what is his to begin with.
Deuteronomy 14:23 (LB) says, “The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives.”
When we put God first in our finances and tithe, he promises to pour out so much blessing over us that we will not have room enough to take it in. God also promises to restrain the devourer – for many of you, this is Murphy (you know, of Murphy’s Law) who shows up to destroy what you have and wreak havoc in your life. See Malachi chapter 3.
Step #2: Prioritize God. Tithe 10% first.
Pay Off Debt
Don’t simply accept debt as a part of life.
When you are in debt, you are a slave to money (Proverbs 22:7).
Instead, make a point to pay off debt.
After the first 10% of your paycheck goes toward tithing, take the next 10% and build an emergency fund to break the cycle of debt. Once you have an emergency fund, begin putting that same money toward paying off debt.
That accumulates because people spend money that they don’t have on things they don’t need.
Instead, learn to be content with what you have.
Rather than constantly spending or upgrading, learn to be happy with what God has already blessed you with.
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5
Learn to Follow a Budget
Financial stewardship requires discipline.
One of these disciplines is learning how to create and follow a budget.
This is especially helpful for those striving to get out of the debt cycle.
Budgeting requires you to take an honest assessment of your spending habits and determine how much you should be spending in certain areas.
The key is to create a budget that prioritizes tithing, paying off debt, and saving.
By budgeting 10% of each paycheck to these categories, you should aim to live off the remaining 70%.
Yes, it is possible. My family has been doing it for years.
There are countless budgeting tools available that will do everything from track your spending to send notifications when you are close to overspending in a certain budget category (such as groceries).
Searcy explains, “Disciplined spenders avoid the major financial storms that overtake those around them and relax in the calm breezes of financial peace.”
Step #3: Establish a budget.
Americans have an issue with giving.
Most tend to give whatever is leftover (when the Bible instructs us to give the Lord the first fruits).
However, the Lord loves a cheerful giver.
The problem is that most Americans think they don’t have enough money – we always want more, more, more.
Then, once we have more, we increase our spending instead of our giving.
Andy Stanley argues, “If you live in the United States of America and your household income is more than $50,000 a year, then you are among the richest people who have ever existed, and lucky beyond imagining. […] Giving first is a discipline. People get in trouble financially not because of income, but because of self-control, and the self-control that’s required to give first, it impacts every other area of a person’s finances.”
Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. – 1 Timothy 6:18-19
Step #4: Be generous.
How the Church Helps Those Struggling Financially
Some people think the church only wants your money – this is far from the truth.
In actuality, the church wants to help you learn how to be good stewards of your money.
That’s why South Bay Bible Church offers a wide variety of personal financial resources to help you learn how to handle what God has given you, including personal financial plans, monthly budget ledgers, allocated spending plans, and more.
Additionally, South Bay Bible Church encourages church members to participate in the Six-Month Tithe Challenge, giving you guidance, help, and encouragement along the way.
Churches also implement strategies taught in Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover and Andy Stanley’s How to Be Rich, which emphasize biblical financial stewardship.
You’re Invited to South Bay This Weekend!