Many things today to worry about even be afraid of.
What is it that causes you to toss/turn at night?
There is a biblical place for fear, however there is a …
-ROCK we can stand on,
-spiritual stability we can experience that enables us to stand in the face of our fears.
Last week I wore my sunglasses to illustrate a point.
These glasses are a filter- UV, glare, brightness, etc.
They are a picture of how we allow- earthly/natural mindset to affect how we view life, rather than seeing life through the truth of God’s Word.
Check out the glasses in this VIDEO.
The man in this video learned to view the world through God’s glasses.
It changed how he responded to people.Through what glasses are you viewing the world?What if there is not Enough? (Financial Fears)
We are living in difficult times financially.
News headlines- often play on our fears …
worse unemployment in 16 years
economist- predicting- collapse of the dollar
government policies- exacerbating the problem
prophets predicting serious problems for US
However we tend to view financial problems through the lens of how it is affects us, more than how it affects others.
There are some here …
worried about having enough to pay bills,
worried about investments/retirement savings,
who are doing very well financially.
Talk about two areas concerning financial freedom … what does it mean to think right about money and what does it mean to do the right thing w/money?
Both are essential to experience true financial freedom
There are those who can handle finances shrewdly, but their actions do not bring glory to God-their confidence is in the wrong place.
It is difficult for them when things do not go well.
There are those who have a biblical perspective about money, but they do stupid things w/their money.
We see Christians who will say …I am trusting God, you cannot take it w/you, but they do not think ahead, they handle their finances foolishly, and wonder why God let them down.
First- must be careful not to take V13 out of context.
We translate the verse to mean that anything I want to accomplish in this life I can through Christ.
Context- has nothing to do w/what I can accomplish-
V13 is speaking about finding contentment.
Paul is saying …whether I have much or little,
I can find contentment in Christ.
Secret to contentment- finding our identity/strength in Christ, not in our circumstances.Paul says something interesting in V11- he says,
I have learned …Paul had to learn how to apply biblical truth
to everyday life.Therefore we must learn to think and act properly.
In V12 Paul says,I have learned the secret …
The secret is living with …abundance in the power/life of Christ and
want in the power/life of Christ.
There are two dangerous extremes for people …
both success and failure can destroy a person.
Having lots of money and putting our confidence in our earthly security is just as dangerous as excessive worry about where the money is going to come from to pay my bills.
God allowed Paul the Apostle to live with/without.
(NOTES): Financial Freedom
>A life free from excessive worry about money.
Next week we will talk about worry, but not all worry is bad- the issue is excessive worry- worry that disturbs our relationship God.
Financial freedom is not tied to how much money we have- in the bank/retirement account/investments.
Financial freedom has to do with being free from EXCESSIVE worry.
There is a time for concern- if you lost your job, have no health insurance, there is a place for concern.
This type of concern motivates us to …
look at our situation,
turn to the Bible to see what it says,
take it before God in prayer, and
then take whatever actions are necessary.
We want to be free from excessive worry that …
keeps us awake at night,
produces an ulcer, or
causes us to treat others around us badly.
(NOTES): Financial freedom is …
A life free from the endless pursuit of money.
Many who have money are still driven to have more.
Studies have shown that the average American wage earner, up to the very rich, will say-
“life is okay, but it would be great if I had a little more.”
The more tends to be 11-15K more per year.
It does not matter where they fall in- financial spectrum, when they get 11-15K more, they still fill a need for 11-15K more.
As we talked about in the beginning of the year …
we consume all that we earn, and therefore
live our lives with no margin.
Study- Olympics- people who get a silver medal have greater dissatisfaction than those who get a bronze medal. Why?
Person w/silver lays awake it night saying,
“I could have had the gold,” and
person w/bronze lays awake at night saying,
“I cannot believe I got the bronze.”
Many people look forward to when they can retire- finally live- do what they want, enjoy life.
Yet what happens when many retire- they die.
The tragedy is not dying when they retire, but having lived and NOT enjoyed life up to that point.
(NOTES): Financial Freedom
Starts With How We Think
1 Tim 6:5-10
V5- men of corrupt mind robbed of the truth- they think that godliness is a means of financial gain.
If financial success is a measure of God’s favor, then drug lords/oil sheiks, must be His favorite people.
Godliness is not a means to gain in the natural sense, but it is a means to eternal gain.
Money is not an accurate measure of God’s favor.
This is very important otherwise when things are …
going bad we think God mad at us and
going well we think He is pleased with us.
When we see a Christian blessed financially we might feel God is pleased w/them more than us.
The measure of God’s pleasure is not our net worth, but our faith/trust/obedience to God.
Never let your net worth determine your self-worth.
Job- rich man who lost everything- just as important to God when he was poor as when he was rich.
1 Tim 6:17
What does God tell the rich- give it all away?
He commands them not to be arrogant.
One of the greatest dangers of success is thinking we are smarter than we really are.
Never allow financial success to cause you to think you are better than those lower on the ladder.
Pr 8:13 "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil;
Pride and arrogance and the evil way
And the perverted mouth, I hate. NASU
Do not ever allow yourself to judge others just because you are doing well and they are not.
If you are NOT doing well financially, and you are intimidated by those who are doing well,
because you attach self-worth to net-worth,
it is the same heart that will become proud when you are doing well yourself.
(NOTES): Never assume that money equals security.
1 Tim 6:18-19
Too often we think if we had enough money in our bank/retirement accounts- everything will be okay.
Paul instructs us NOT to put our hope in wealth because of its uncertainty, but put our hope in God
who provides us w/good things for- enjoyment.
Wealth can come and wealth can go.
Even if we have wealth- when the end comes we cannot take it with us …
You have never seen a Hearse pulling a trailer w/person’s possessions to take with them.
All of us will face death someday, and we do not know when that day will come.
Therefore it is important to put our security in the Lord TODAY and not the things of this life.
We serve a God that will provide for us now and throughout eternity.
Never confuse stinginess with stewardship.
As we grow financially, I would encourage us to give progressively.
Perhaps you are earning a certain amount of money today and you tithe and live fairly comfortably.
Two years from now after a couple of raises you are earning $5K more per year.
I would encourage people not just to tithe, but
instead of expanding your standard of living,
increase your giving to 12%.
We do not give to get, we give because we are grateful for God’s blessings.
The danger of doing well financially is that generosity becomes little more than giving God a tip.
If someone making $10K and someone making $100K both tithe, who has more left over?
In terms of sacrifice, there is not contest.
Unfortunately, the more we make, the more we consume, leaving no margin to increase our giving.
This is why Jesus was excited about the widow’s mite
Everyone gave out of excess-she gave out of her need.
As God blesses you, do not stay in the same place.
There is a couple in our church who has reduced their living expenses to give more as God increases their income.
Even if your income has gone down, be careful not to lose your generosity- though your giving checks may be smaller, keep the generosity alive in your heart.
Generosity is not just something for …for later and for the rich.
You rarely find someone- stingy when they had little- suddenly become generous when they have much.
Generosity starts when you have little.
Generosity is an issue of character and it is built up one small step at a time.
(NOTES): Financial Freedom
Flows Out Of What We Do (actions)
You can understand money biblically and yet act foolishly and get mad at God when things go bad.
(NOTES): Get the facts
It is amazing how many live off of assumptions without having all the facts.
Whatever you do, take good audits and know what your real financial situation is, do not …
be like an ostrich, live on assumptions,
pretend everything is okay,
ignore your finances because it seems useless.
If we stick our head in the ground like an ostrich, we have no right to get mad at God.
Pr 19:2-3 God why did you let this happen to me?
(NOTES): Eat what you kill
Live within your means, do not eat what you hope to kill tomorrow- (credit cards, loans).
Pr 22:7 The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.
One of the great curses is comparison.
If you live within your means you will be living one step below the pretenders- those who make the same amount you do but are in debt up to their ears.
Some concerns (meddling) (two areas we pretend) …
At Christmas many feel they must get all these gifts for people and go beyond their means.
Especially parents with children.
Why not teach your children an invaluable lesson about life, to help them establish good patterns-
some years are lean and others are abundant.
Instead we pretend that every year is abundant and spend way more than we can afford.
This is the beauty of credit cards- you can presume upon the future and the goodness of God.
I understand emergencies come up and you might put a new hot water heater on credit.
When using a credit-goal should be-pay it off quickly.
The best use of a credit card is for convenience- you only charge items you have money in the bank for.
Going into debt for Christmas is hardly a necessary expenditure- it is pretending.
You may understand the principles of finances, but you are acting foolishly.
We can eat more than we kill because someone else will put tomorrow’s kill on the table today.
2. Weddings and Special Occasions
A child turns 16 or graduates from high school or college, and we spend money we do not have.
Weddings are another area we overspend and pretend.
It is not bad to spend lots of money on these events if you have the money.
However, it becomes a problem when you do not have the money and think you have to spend it.
It is almost always a bad decision to eat what you hope to kill tomorrow.
(NOTES): Save some for tomorrow
Regardless of your financial status, learn to save even if it is just a small amount.
It is amazing how much discretionary spending we do.
Pr 21:20 There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, But a foolish man swallows it up. NASU
A wise person does not use all they have, a fool devours all they have.
We can make wise decisions- spend less on a car or house, so we can save for unexpected emergencies.
To live within my means is to live one step below the pretenders making the same amount of money.
To live within your means and save a little, might mean living two steps below the pretenders.
(NOTES): Share some today
Quit stealing- some steal by …
not giving to God,
spending money on unnecessary things causing the family to suffer,
constantly expecting someone else to take care of our needs.
Quit stealing- work so you have something to share.
Usually we get a job to take care of our needs.
What about the idea of getting a job so we are able to share with others?
Think right, do right, and you can expect financial freedom, whether you have much or very little.