How fit is my life when it comes to my finances? If I want to be healthy in my life, then I have to develop healthy habits! You do that for your physical life, but are you doing that for your finances? Financially, for many of you, it may be tough right now. That’s why we need to talk about this and at the end today, we need to pray for breakthroughs in our finances!
God’s Word says a lot about this subject and gives us some great insight for getting out of the hole financially. So, we’re going to look at FIVE HEALTHY HABITS FOR FINANCIAL FITNESS in order of priority or importance…
Five Healthy Habits for Financial Fitness
GOD IS MY SOURCE
This is the first and most important thing to understand about your finances- God is your Source- not your salary, not this economy, not your savings, etc. My source and my security is God!
Here’s the thing, you can lose your salary, lose your job, lose your savings, lose your health and not be able to work, but you can’t lose your relationship with God! He’s not going to abandon you! God promises to take care of you; to give you the ability to make money…
Deut. 8:18 “Always remember the Lord you God, for it is he who gives you the ability to make wealth.”
Every economy has “wealth makers” and “wealth takers!” It has wealth contributors and wealth consumers! And any economy gets turned upside down when there are more consumers than contributors- happens in the economy of your home, the economy of the church, and the economy of a nation!
But God said he’s given us the ability to “make wealthy”- not redistribute it! There’s a huge difference between Communism, Capitalism, and Christianity. Communism says what’s yours is mine and I have a right to take it! I take what’s yours and give it to someone else. Capitalism says what’s mine is mine and I’m going to keep it- too bad for you! Christianity says, what’s mine is God’s and I’m willing to share it!
See the difference? God wants us to trust him, to recognize he is our security and source, and he wants us to share and contribute. Which means we need to develop this second healthy habit for financial fitness
PUT GOD FIRST
I honor God first with my money, and yes, here it comes, I tithe! The principle of tithing is giving God your first ten percent. But here’s the bottom line- whatever I want God to bless I put him first in! Do you want God to bless your marriage then put him first in your marriage! Do you want God to bless your business, then put him first in your business! If you want God to bless your finances, then you need to put him first when it comes to your money. And right off the top you give the first ten percent back to God- that’s the principle of tithing!
The Promise of Tithing. Prov. 3:9-10 “Honor the Lord by giving him the first part of all your income, and he will fill your barns… to overflow!” Notice it says the FIRST part, not what’s left over! You give 10 percent, that’s what God’s Word says is the first part. You don’t do this because God needs your money, you do this to show God that you trust him and that you’re thankful! And that’s…
The Purpose of Tithing. Deut. 14:23 “The purpose of tithing is to teach you to always put God first in your lives.” Tithing teaches me to put my trust in God; not in the economy, my salary, my savings, but in God! When you do this you’re telling God you trust Him more with your life than putting it in your own hands! How or where do I tithe?
The Place of Tithing. Mal. 3:10 “Bring to My Storehouse a full tenth of what you earn… Test me in this, says the Lord. I will open the windows of heaven for you and pour out all the blessings you need.” I’m going to be straightforward with you on this- you don’t tithe to the United Way or to your sister who has been out for work for 3 years! That’s charity! Tithing is an act of worship and you bring your tithe into the “Storehouse- the Temple.” And the “temple” is the place where you worship! God even challenges you to do it! When do I bring it?
The Day you Tithe. 1 Cor. 16:2 “On the first day of every week put aside some of what you have earned during the week, and use it for the offering. The amount depends on how much the Lord has helped you earn.” For us today, that’s the weekend gatherings at GCC! For all intents and purposes, it’s Sunday, the first day of the week. You put this amount aside, you plan for it- the best way you can do that today is through online giving- it helps you to always put it aside and plan for it!
SAVE MONEY WISELY
Now this is third on the list. For financial fitness it’s important to develop the habit of saving money. I’m not always as good at this as I need to be! John D. Rockefeller, the first mega-millionaire in America lived by the 10-10-80 principle. Tithe the first 10 percent, save the next ten percent, and live on the 80 percent.
And it’s wise to do this! Prov. 21:20 “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets.” I should probably write that verse down on a piece of paper and wrap it around my credit card! The Japanese save 25 percent of their income, Europeans 15 percent, but last year Americans spent one percent more than they made! Here are some more principles…
Prov. 24:27 “Develop your business first before building your house.” Did you know that verse was in the Bible? What does it mean? Well, basically it means that before you do anything else, make sure you are putting some money into what will make you money!
Most of you don’t own your own business, but in Bible times almost everyone was self-employed. Develop your business first so you have some money to build and maintain your house. The problem is we get a raise and then raise our standard of living along with it. What could happen if we saved it instead?? It could make some money for you.
Eccl. 11:2 “Invest what you have in several different places, because you don’t know what disasters might happen.” This is the principle of diversification. You don’t put all your savings in one place. You know the saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket?” Well, it comes from this verse! You spread out your investments to minimize your risk- it’s biblical!
Prov. 13:11 “Money that comes easily disappears quickly, but money that is gathered little by little will grow.” In other words, you win the lotto, you’re probably going to spend it all real fast! But the “little by little” principle means you can start small, maybe real small, just do a little savings at first, but do something! You can simple save little by little and watch what will happen.
PLAN MY SPENDING
Most of us simply don’t plan our spending; we just spend! We spend what we want to spend on whatever we want to spend it on! And it’s impulsive- I can be guilty and so can you!
What is planned spending? A Budget. Prov. 21:5 “Plan carefully and you will have plenty; if you act too quickly, you will never have enough.” The problem is we can be more like what this verse states: Prov. 21:20 “…stupid people spend their money as fast as they get it.”
Do you know why we do that? One word: SALE! Advertisers, stores, they know how to get us because everything they do is designed to get you to do impulse buying. They want you to spend emotionally, to not have a plan, to not live by your budget.
For me, it’s Cabelas or Bass Pro Shop or REI!! I go in there to buy hunting socks and I come out with a new bow, boots, a backpack, and I think, “What just happened??” Or how about Sam’s Club? Do you really need a 100 pound bag of rice?? No, but it was on sale!!
The Bible says plan your spending and guard against impulsiveness because it only leads to never having enough.
We also need to plan to get out of debt or at least to pay our debts quickly and wisely. Prov. 3:27 “Don’t withhold repayment of your debts.” We don’t get into debt accidentally and we’re not going to get out of debt automatically! You need a scheduled repayment plan that perhaps adds a little extra to what’s due so you can pay it off quicker.
Rom. 13:8 says, “Let no debt remain outstanding!” Debt creates a lot of tension, it robs us of the ability to focus on what we should be focusing on, it takes away our freedom, it limits our ability. An “outstanding debt” is a debt you’re only paying interest on, like a credit card. If you’re just making the minimum payment you’re only paying interest AND interest on that interest- that’s dumb! The thing you bought you end up paying 4-5 times more for it in the end. And God says that’s very unwise and unproductive.
So, an outstanding debt is when you’re not paying down the principle, or you’re behind in your payments. You’ve got to have a repayment plan!
COMMIT EVERYTHING TO GOD
Remember the first habit? It all comes from God! And the last habit is “I’ve got to commit it all back to God! Everything is yours Lord, EVERYTHING! “I want to commit it all you God!”
Prov. 16:3 “Commit your work to the Lord, and then your plans will succeed.” What a great promise! Look at that, God wants you to SUCCEED! Physically, relationally, spiritually, emotionally, and financially. “Commit your work to the Lord and THEN, your plans will succeed!
Your biggest problem is not debt. Debt is a symptom of a deeper problem. It’s a symptom of dissatisfaction and a lack of commitment. “I have to have more to be happy, to be secure, to be liked, to have value…”
NONE OF THAT IS TRUE! Honestly, stuff doesn’t really make you happy. Yes, for a moment it will but then you realize there’s a newer version of your stuff. You are as happy as you choose to be! HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE!
The problem is not debt. The problem is we don’t plan to succeed because we don’t commit it all to God. Life get’s out of control. We lack discipline. Instead of being directed by purpose and God; we’re directed by economic forces and other things. Someone said, “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have!”
Look at this verse. Eccl. 5:19 “If God gives us wealth and prosperity and lets us enjoy them, we should be grateful and enjoy what we have worked for. It is a gift from God.” Do you get that? We should ENJOY what we’ve worked for- it’s a GIFT from God!
Here’s the process we do instead. We get money, we spend money, we worry that we don’t have money, we try to pay the bills, we try to save some, and then if there’s any left over, we may give some of it. That’s not a plan God blesses. That’s not having Financial Fitness!
First, God says, “I’m your Source and I’m your Security!” Next, you give a part, a tenth to God and you give the rest to yourself. You pay God first and yourself second. You say, “I can’t live on the rest!” Then you are living beyond your means and you need to make some tough choices.
Two things I want you to do: 1) Take a moment or two and consider what we’ve talked about today, write down what God is peaking to you, etc., and 2) Pray and commit it all to God.
God is my Source
I Put God First
I Save Wisely
I Plan my Spending
I Commit Everything to