Getting your financial life in order starts and ends with you.
It’s not about how much money you make, it’s about how you manage the money you have.
Today I want to inspire you in responsible, happy living.
Learn to be content
“But godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6
If you are unhappy or stressed out, chances are you’re not content.
The bible teaches us to be happy whether we have a little or a lot. It’s not about the amount, and it’s not about the race for gain, it’s about the journey.
Paul also addresses the topic of righteous contentment in Philippians:
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 11-13
He understands that it’s not about how much he has, it’s about learning to be content with what he has!
Manage what you have better
We’re instructed not to chase gain for the sake of wealth, but to manage what we have wisely.
The best way to manage what you have is to keep record of it. Do you keep records of the resources God trusts you to manage? If not, it’s time to develop a budget (a.k.a. spending plan).
The solutions that helped me transition into a successful budgeteer were free spreadsheets, Mint.com (also free), and YNAB (You Need A Budget) software.
Start with one of the free solutions and purchase YNAB if you like what it has to offer.
Give in faith
God promises to bless our giving, and I have yet to prove Him wrong.
It’s not about having enough to give, it’s about giving because He commanded us to.
By the way, giving is a gift God gave us! Nothing will increase your contentment like giving.
“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35
Trust me – giving is a gift to the giver!
Making more money
It’s worth repeating, the goal is contentment, not gain.
That said, there is nothing wrong with making more money – IF – you’re a wise steward of what you already have and are ready for the extra responsibility of added wealth.
“And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.” Luke 19:17
If God can trust you to manage the little you have now, He may bless you with more.
This is one bible truth that drives me to be a better steward of my resources. If I make $100,000 but can live on $50,000, that means I can use the other $50,000 for God’s glory.
If I prove myself faithful, the scripture teaches God may bless with greater abundance.
And my contentment should come from how I’m using that wealth for His glory, not from the wealth itself.
If you’re not content where you are, your first step is to start seeking contentment – not gain.
Once you understand that truth, you can move on:
- Start a budget so you can see exactly where your money is going.
- Lower your standard of living to fit your budget.
- Give in faith and trust God to bless.
- Honor God with the increase.
Remember to find joy in obedience to God’s principles, after all, He gave them to help lead us to contentment!
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” 1 John 5:3
God’s commandments are the recipes for finding joy and contentment. Trust Him and seek Him with all your heart and watch the blessings flow.
It’s so hard to be content these days with all the media and what the world tells us we **should** have. Whenever I find myself getting antsy and discontent with my life, all I have to do is look around and start counting my blessings. Sure, God does give us our desires and ambitions, but I think a lot of times we don’t look to God and ask Him if the desires we are experiencing are from Him or from the world. Consumerism and instant gratification are two forces that work so hard to kill our patience and to force us into making rash decisions that ultimately lead to bad stewardship and even more discontentment when the buying “high” wears off.
An example of this in my life is related to my housing situations. I regularly find myself getting fed up with the small 1.5 bedroom house my wife, son and I are living in (one of the rooms is incredibly small). I keep thinking “if only we could get into a bigger place, we’d be so much happier.” I also think, “rates are so low right now and so are housing prices, we should do everything we can to upgrade now…now now now!!!” But then I realize just how much we enjoy living in a small house (forces us to live simply) and how getting into a bigger place will really only allow us to accumulate more stuff (and spend more money). Buying a house is definitely something we’d love to do, and we will definitely need more space as time goes on, but now is just not the time. God made that very clear to us recently when we decided to look into a property that our friends were selling. As we started looking into loan options, we soon realized that our only option at the time was an FHA loan because we were still working on saving for our down payment, and we just couldn’t stomach having to pay all the extra FHA loan fees. The fees came out to be about $40,000 when we took into account the upfront mortgage insurance (MI), the MI insurance payments, and the interest on the upfront MI fees that get rolled into your beginning loan balance. We also realized that the monthly payments would make us house poor and would drastically limit our ability to give back to God. All in all, we just didn’t have peace about the situation, which we feel was God telling us “No, not yet. Be content.”
Great post, Matt! As usual.
Matt Jabs says
Sounds like a great decision to wait Thomas. Betsy and I just downsized and love living with less. We’re renting now so that’s another burden set aside that frees us to go where God wants. Continue your patient accumulation for a down payment and pray that God gives you enough. 🙂
Sue @ cajunnewlyweds.blogspot.com says
Well written. Glory to God! We are on the journey to contentment!
Joseph Lalonde says
I think so many of the world’s problems would be solved if we followed this advice. Being content brings so much joy it’s ridiculous.