Have you ever seen those late night shows that promise success if you follow “five simple principles”? Or, how about the thousands of books that promise to change your life in five easy steps. Unfortunately the majority of these principles are not founded on Biblical principles and are doomed to fail.
With our economy in the tank, people borrowing from their retirement, and so many mortgage defaults – you’d think we as a nation have given up on fundamentally sound financial principles. But maybe not. Maybe, just maybe, we have strayed from Biblical principles that made this country great in the first place.
I want to share with you five core financial principles that I have built my personal finances around. All five principles come straight out of the Bible. I really believe that if you follow these, God will bless you. Let’s get started:
1. God is not a fan of debt
No one likes debt, not even God. Want to see amazing things happen in your spiritual life? Get out of debt and watch things happen. The Bible is clear on the topic of debt. Check out Proverbs 22:7, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” I don’t know about you, but this does not sound like a fun situation to be in. Don’t get into the habit of buying now and paying later. Not only will it get you into trouble but it’s flat out unbiblical.
2. Contentment is key
Contentment is huge for anyone’s personal financial life. The moment you start coveting, you get yourself into trouble. Take someone who purchase an older model BMW and can clearly afford it. They’re driving down the road one day and see a brand new model of their car. They covet, take out an even bigger loan and get the newer model. This is such an unhealthy way of living your life! I see this all too much in California. God was onto something when He said “You shall not covet your neighborís house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
3. Start saving, it makes God smile
God loves it when His children save their money instead of squandering it. I love how Proverbs 21:20 puts it, “There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.” Don’t get caught up in buying the latest gadgets or incessantly upgrading things unnecessarily. Start to think in terms of saving instead of spending. Above all, you need to start thinking about your money as God’s money. At the end of the day it’s all His anyway so spend wisely, and save often.
4. Create a budget and follow it
This seems like a simple concept, but the average person (myself included) can’t stand budgets. Once you get used to budgeting and setting limits on your spending, it becomes second nature and everything else takes of itself. Living life without a budget is stupid. It’s just not a wise use of the Lord’s resources. It sounds harsh, but I think God wants us to keep accurate records so we can see where we stand each month. Foolishly living without a budget is a lose-lose situation. If you are completely lost, check out Mint.com to help you get started.
5. Work hard, really hard
Believe it or not, work is a good and holy thing! It’s part of God’s amazing plan for our lives. Check out any work related verse in Proverbs and you’ll notice that people who work have bread on the table and those who choose to be lazy often live a life of poverty. It’s hard to keep this black and white during the current recession, but I’m a firm believer that if you are willing to work hard, there will always be a job for you. It just might not be your first pick! At the end of the day, working hard glorifies God.
Center your finances around these Biblical principles and you will save yourself from a world of hurt. Remember to give your best to God first, live within your means, and save your money. Part of this journey is trusting in God with everything, including your finances. Once you get a taste of the joy that is to come, you will never go back to your old ways.
Jon Elder paid his way through college and enjoys living a debt free life. Read more about his passion for conquering finances, learning to live a frugal lifestyle, and glorifying God with financial decisions on his website Free Money Wisdom.