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Steps to Financial Peace

In this new year perhaps one of your resolutions is to get your finances in order.  If you are upside down in your finances here’s the hard truth:  no one is going to bail you out of your economic troubles.  It’s always harder to get out of debt that it was to get into it.  But maybe you lost a job, racked up lots of hospital bills, or some other crisis has caused you financial hardships.  No matter your financial situation, here are some principles everyone can use to better their ideas and practices when it comes to money.

#1 God Owns Everything (1 Chronicles 29:11-12)
Remembering that God created and owns everything will keep your finances in perspective. According to 1 Chronicles 29:11-12, everything in heaven and on earth is His, including wealth. Ask yourself, “Am I taking care of what God has given me?” The statement, “You can’t take it with you” is true. We leave it all behind because it never really was ours. God allows us to be stewards over what we have so we can use it for Him.

#2 Develop a Budget (Proverbs 16:3)
You can’t change the price of gas but you can change your spending habits. Learn to live within your means. To do this, you have to establish a budget. Luke 15:8-10 tells of the woman who lost a day’s wages and painstakingly searched until she recovered it. She understood the value of her earnings. Like the widow, you must do whatever you can to recover and wisely spend your daily income. If you are spending more than you make, you are destined for financial failure. Proverbs 16:3 says to commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.

#3 Save and Give (Proverbs 3:9)
Giving money away may not seem to make sense if you want gain in your finances. God’s plan for financial blessings is honoring Him with the first part of your income (Proverbs 3:9). The first thing you should do with your finances is pay God (tithing) and pay yourself (saving). Put aside money for tough times, unexpected breakdowns, and future investments.

#4 – Get Out of Debt ASAP! (Proverbs 22:7)
Proverbs 22:7 says the borrower is enslaved to the lender. How true! For example, if you borrow $100 on your credit card and make only minimum payments, do you know how long it will take to repay the loan? Would you believe up to thirty years? Items charged on your MasterCard can cost you seven to eight times the purchase price! The first step to getting out of debt is stop using credit cards. Next, start paying down your debt.  Start with the smallest debt first.

#5 – Avoid Indulgence and Hasty Decisions (Proverbs 21:5)
Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” Do the math: if you spend less, you’ll have more. Believe it or not, our lives are surrounded by luxuries we swear are essentials. Luxuries like cable TV, brand names, internet, and eating out should be some of the first things to go if you can’t afford groceries and gas. Don’t purchases items you don’t need! Pray about major purchases before jumping in over your head. Save up for things and pay cash. What’s better: the constant stress of being indebted to stuff or enjoying financial freedom with less stuff?

#6 – Establish Goals (Habakkuk 2:2)
Have a vision for your finances. Set a time period for paying things off like your house and cars. Simply paying a little extra each month can cut years off your debt. How much do you need to save for your kids’ college expenses? How much do you need for retirement? What about planning and saving for the next vacation instead of charging the whole thing? If you set reasonable goals, you’ll reach them.

#7 – Learn Contentment (Philippians 4:11)
Paul writes in the book of Philippians that he has learned to be content in all areas of life. If you feel as though you have to keep up with neighbors’ purchases, you’ll never be content. Saying the words, “I don’t need it”, can bring you great freedom. Remember that things are meant to serve you, not the other way around. Learn to be content with what you have. You’ll never be satisfied with obtaining more because possessions cannot satisfy you. Contentment and peace are achieved only through a relationship with Christ.

Set some Biblical principles today in your finances and allow God bring you true financial peace.

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Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.

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