When it comes to finances, most people get into some form of money trouble. Most people have a money problem and that money problem is called debt! So they end up in CHAINS. Chained to debt. Enslaved to creditors. Shackled with depression. And strapped to stress.
Being CHAINED to debt creates a chain reaction: Debt causes stress, stress makes you feel bad (makes you unhappy); my feeling bad affects my family and makes them unhappy; my unhappy family struggles through life and my quality of life decreases. Being CHAINED can cause a domino affect - one affects the other and then the other and then the other and this ripples throughout your life.
Hebrews 13:5 reads "Let your conversations be without covetousness, and be content with such things as you have: for He has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you". Basically, this is saying, be content with what you have. The first principle is to understand the Law of Contentment - if you don't get this, nothing else you read here is going to work.
You'll never have enough "stuff" because we are living in a world dominated by discontentment and greed. Jesus is the only thing that satisfies. Period. See, you have all these people trying to fill this Christ-shaped void in their lives with stuff. Even as a believer, if your relationship with Christ isn't where it should be (if it's not a priority), then you will try to fill that gap with "stuff". Some have a mentality of "more, more, more". To covet means "to want, to wish for, or to be greedy". Covetousness is not about what you have, but how you crave what you don't have. Most of the time, this is how we acquire debt - by having what we can't afford.
DEBT IS A TRAP. Take for example a mouse trap. We know it's deadly. But the mouse - all he thinks about and focuses on, is the cheese. He's going for the "Stuff" in the middle. He pays no attention to what his senses say and he forgets the fact that it may be dangerous. That mouse is going to go for the STUFF in the middle no matter what!
Let's break down the word S-T-U-F-F.
S - SENSUAL - appealing to the senses. The eye-gate - This is what got Adam and Eve into trouble, the fruit was appealing to them. They had everything, but they wanted one more thing.
T - TEMPORARY - It doesn't last. The shine wears off (and it always does). That new car smell won't last. That new car depreciates about $10,000 in the first year.
U - URGENT - NOW! Before it's too late, don't hesitate. If you're ever pressured to buy anything, don't do it!
F - FULFILLMENT - This will make me happy. This is the thing missing from my life. This is the missing link.
F - FRICTION - Friction because I went into debt to get it.
Here are two fundamental truths to keep in mind to "Ease The Squeeze" and go OFF THE CHAIN:
1) Everything I have belongs to God. But you might say "Wait a minute! I have worked for everything I have!" Remember this - God gives you the air in your lungs. God gives you the health and strength to do your job. God gives you the intellect to figure things out. And God gives you favor to keep your job and get promoted! What you think you OWN, is just on LOAN. We are stewards - meaning, we manage God's stuff while we're here.
2) God will audit you for how you use His finances. Money is the test of faith - Why? Because it's the thing we have the hardest time with! Luke 16:10 says "The man that is faithful in the little things will be faithful in the big things, and the man who cheats in the little things will cheat in the big things, too." So, if you are not fit to be trusted with the wicked wealth of this world, who will trust you with true riches?
Money in this life is like Monopoly Money - it's good while you're playing the game, but when it's Game Over, it's not good! I Timothy 6:10 says, "For the love of money is the root of all evil." It doesn't say that money is evil - it says the love of money. The wrong pursuit of money. When money is used as God intended, it's a blessing, but when you take it out of the boundaries, it creates pain. Money is not good or evil. Money is a magnifier - it simply magnifies what you already are. If you were a selfish, greedy person when you had no money, then you will be a selfish, greedy person after you get money. If you were a generous person when you had no money, then you will be a generous person after you get money. Bible finance is all about putting your money in its place.
5 LAWS OF BIBLE FINANCES
1) Everything Starts With A Seed. Its the law of Genesis. I'm sure you've heard the saying, "Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the apples in a seed." The book of Zephaniah says, "despise not the days of small beginnings."
2) Nothing Happens Until You Plant The Seed. You can't reap a harvest you have not sown. Think of it like this: You have an entire garden with more than enough to feed many families, but the seed does me no good until I put it into the ground. Imagine a farmer spending his life savings on seed and then saying, "I don't know if I should plant this or not." The farmer just doesn't get it and neither do people who don't trust God or obey God with their finances. You can't pray in finances - you have to plant a seed. You are not waiting on God, but He is waiting on you.
3) Whatever I Sow Is What I Reap. Apples make apples. Oranges make oranges. Galatians 6:7 says, "Be not deceived, God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows that shall he also reap." If I sow generously, I will reap generously!
4) There Is A Season Between When I Sow And When I Reap. There is no such thing as instant success. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us, "There is a time and season for everything." There is always a delay. You don't play God like a slot machine. You don't give to God like you are buying a winning lottery ticket. You follow principles that begin to work for you!
5) Plant Now. Ecclesiastes 11 tells us, "Those who wait for perfect weather will never plant seeds and those who look at every cloud will never reap a harvest." There will never be a perfect time or a perfect economy to start trusting God. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, "God loves a cheerful giver." The word cheerful actually means hilarious!
LET'S ALL PURPOSE TO BE HILARIOUS GIVERS!