Do you desire to live with complete financial peace? Most people would quickly say yes to this question. However, many times one question leads us to another and many people discover their flawed preconceptions with money. Maybe you’ve wrestled with questions like: “What is God’s real purpose for money? If I don’t have enough money, what is God trying to teach me? How do I know when I am in God’s will as it relates to money? Why does God prosper some, while others still live in need? Can we trust God to provide when we don’t have enough?”
Scripture reminds us that money is not evil. God created it and desires us to enjoy it and use it for His purpose. It is the love of money that is the root of all evil – 1 Timothy 6:10
“For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.”
The Principle of Giving and Generosity
Many people misunderstand prosperity, and even more people have little (or no) idea of how one would truly cultivate a Kingdom Wealth Mindset today. Scripture is full of principles that help us break the pervasive spirit of Poverty within the world, while walking into the abundant life that God desires for us. Here is one such principle to reflect on:
“Give and it will be given to you” (Luke 6:38)
• This kingdom principle can cause increase and blessing if we are generous and give good things to others. Whatever we give away will become a deposit into the spirit realm that will be returned in kind to us and/ or to our descendants.
• This principle will work against us to restrict or impoverish us if we give sparingly or not at all. This can also greatly limit our future resources.
• This principle will bring us into a deeper intimacy with God because it helps us to discover that He is extremely generous to us.
• Personal Declaration: “I plant seeds for my future provision through generous gifts to others”. Other supporting scriptures: 2 Cor. 9:6, • Proverbs 3:9-10, Galatians 6:7 and 2 Cor. 9:7
Here’s a project that has implemented this kingdom principle as well as many others: Widow’s Bead Project -http://beautyforashes.asia/
Financial Peace University (and more)
I would like to introduce you to Dave Ramsey. He is a very well known financial authority in America. He has created programs such as The Financial Peace University, The Envelopes Program and Entreleadership, to name a few. It is easy for small groups and churches to host the Financial Peace University for about $100 per student for the course.
We all need a plan for our money. Financial Peace University (FPU) is that plan! It teaches God’s ways of handling money. Through video teaching, class discussions and interactive small group activities, FPU presents biblical, practical steps to get from where you are to where you’ve dreamed you could be. This plan will show you how to eliminate debt, manage your money, spend and save wisely, and much more! FPU classes meet for around an hour and a half each week for nine weeks. See the full nine-week lesson plan.
Financial Peace While Running Down your Dreams
Many successful people struggle to have financial peace. It isn’t just something that those who are impoverished struggle with. As we previously stated, it is the love of money that is the root of all evil. So as you purpose your business, career, family or other personal dreams, you must look at your “why”. If your why isn’t linked to Kingdom principles, then I believe you may struggle to find peace in your God-ordained pursuit of your dreams. Below are some practical ways to combat this.
The 80-10-10 Model
Tithing is most widely understood to be giving the first 10% of one’s earnings back to God for His work through the concept of the local church that you participate in. Let’s take the Tithing concept a bit further and put it into a workable and realistic framework for financial stewardship and personal financial management. If you have a sound game-plan on how you will operate your financial life from a core set of principles, then you have the advantage of pursuing all dreams in life with a basis of wisdom. Too many people want what their heart wants, and will do anything they need to get it. They want the quick buck. They want possessions they can’t really afford. They drown in bad debt, and deceive themselves in incurring more without being convicted of wrongdoing. It is vicious, never-ending cycle in people’s lives which can destroy families, businesses, and lives. A different approach (The 80-10-10 Model), can bring forth limitless peace and power for those that apply it to their lives for the first time.
A balanced approach to financial stewardship is described by many as the 80-10-10 model or rule—giving 10%, saving 10%, and spending 80% of their income wisely. Some find that they can even live on less, and thus increase their percentages of savings and giving. The brilliance of this format is that if you learn to live with less than your earnings (80%) you can better adjust to unexpected financial difficulties, and you never push the envelope by living beyond your means, which normally brings a barrage of stress and anxiety. Life is hard enough without that burden. The first point of action would be to assess any areas for change with your current budget, assuming you’re not operating out of the 80% or less principle. Focus on accomplishing that, no matter the sacrifice. You simply need to learn the lesson of spending wisely, regardless of how much you make. No matter where your finances are today, they are probably affecting how you pursue your dreams. Remember change is possible. There are no unrealistic goals, only unrealistic timelines. That’s 90% of the equation. Let’s talk about the remaining 10%.
The idea of paying yourself first can simply be explained as setting a guideline where 10% of the income if funneled directly into investments. It doesn’t matter what type of investment it is (stocks, mutual funds, etc.) It does, however, need to be a separate account so it’s not intertwined with other accounts and is measurable. This becomes the foundation for your “Dreams Fund.” As you proceed, plan on tackling the dreams in your heart that require investment. Continue to build financial flexibility into your life so you have a structure to capitalize on new dreams that present themselves. Part of the brilliance of the model is that it keeps you out of bad debt patterns and gives you better leverage to work with lenders for loans.
This model works, but you need to commit to it. You don’t need to make six figures to be ready. Actually, many times there are increased difficulties with elevated levels of assets and wealth. It’s often easier to simplify your life if your family has lower earnings, since there are fewer things to cut out that may have a great influence on your lifestyle. The wisdom that people of lower economic classes can impart to their children and those around them out of this dynamic can be inspiring and revolutionary. What a blessing that is to see!
Ways to Increase your Giving
Your dreams can be shaped and reformed by increasing your giving. You can do this in a practical way by giving gradually (Growth Giving). Growth Giving is done by increasing your giving by 1% of your income every year as you prayerfully consider the pledge for the coming year. Another method would be to increase your giving by one dollar each week. For instance, if your current giving level is $20, give $21 next week, $22 the week following, and so forth. Eventually you will reach a tithe that you feel God is calling you to. You can start anywhere and passionately walk out a mission to increase your giving as a foundational part of your life. How will you use your influence now and in the future as you pursue your life dreams? Money is undoubtedly one of the most influential forces on this planet. It has the power to change people in a multitude of ways as you look at how people manage their money and gain influence. Cheerfully giving is living to leave behind something that will outlive you. Knowing that truth, it’s clear that considering your earnings influence can dramatically alter the path of your life and dreams. Freedom in how you spend your time and money and living a well-balanced life holds much deeper meaning than maximizing your earnings, because I can ensure you that you will not take any of it with you when you breathe your last breath. My ultimate prayer for you today is that you would never stop striving to give more and that you would ask God to change your life forever by teaching you how to embrace one of his greatest gifts—the gift of giving!
So, what is the very first thing you can take action on so you can walk toward greater financial peace?