Empowerment for Financial Freedom

Introduction

Are you financially fulfilled? Are you under financial bondage? Many of us feel trapped because of our finances. You can't do more or go more places because of the amount of money that you have (or think you have). Many of us are under the oppression of Satan by the yoke of debt. Have you ever wondered if there was a way out of your financial situation? Have you given up hope and just concluded that you will always be in the state that you are in?

Fret no more. We will reveal to you in God's word the will of God concerning your financial advancement. We will show you what God has prepared for you. This study will empower you with the word of God so that you will become financially fulfilled and a resource for fulfillment to others. It is time for the body of Christ to break out from the yoke of financial bondage. We can live where we want, go to school where we want, and shop where we want with the power and resources that God has made available to us.

This study has two main sections. The first section presents truths from the Bible concerning your finances and financial prosperity. The second section gives an overview of techniques that you can use to eliminate your debt. You should have a better understanding of what God has provided for you financially after reading this study guide.


PART 1 -- SCRIPTURAL TRUTHS

Develop a New Attitude About Money

You must renew your mind concerning finances and prosperity in order to obtain all that God has provided for you financially. Recall that the bible states that you are what you think in your heart. You can't do one thing sincerely and yet think another (Proverbs 23:7). Therefore, you can't expect to live in the financial excellence revealed to you in this study and at the same time keep the same thinking of poverty and defeat.

The bible teaches that a house divided will not stand (See Matthew 12:25). This means that you cannot be uncertain, have two opinions, or straddle the fence. You must make a decision to stand for one thing or another else you will end up with nothing. The bible displays this principle in another place also.

(James 1:6-8 NIV) "But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. {7} That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; {8} he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does."

Doubting means caught between two opinions. It is the process of going between belief and unbelief. Notice that the above scripture did not say that God wouldn't give a double-minded person anything. It states that he should not expect to receive from God. God has already made provisions for us. We only have to receive His provision by faith. Therefore, we have to have a mind that is locked onto God's word pertaining to our finances. We have to know that God wants us to prosper and that he will prosper us. We have to have a new positive word centered attitude about our finances and ourselves. Only then will we excel in the financial things of God.

Wealth is Not Unrighteous

You must know in your heart that having a lot of money is not evil or unrighteous. Money is simply a means of exchange on this earth. It is your heart that counts and not the activity. A principle that you should always remember is: THE HEART IS THE SIGNIFICANT FACTOR, NOT THE ACTION OR ACTIVITY. This is why a person doing a righteous act does not become righteous because of that act. His righteousness is based on the content of his heart.

There are many people in the bible that were godly and also rich. Some of these people are Abraham (Genesis 13:2), Solomon (2 Chronicles 1:12), and Job (Job 1:3, 42:12-13). You will see in many places where God states that he wants to prosper his people materialistically (Deuteronomy 28:1-14, Joshua 1:7-8, 3 John 1:2, Psalm 1:1-3). Therefore, having an abundance of money (material goods) does not make you unrighteous.

Motive

We said previously that it is not unrighteous or ungodly to have wealth. This, however, assumes proper motive. There are two main categories for the acquisition of wealth: Self and All. Some people want to be rich so that they can spend what they have on themselves or to please themselves. Their motive is self. For example, people with this mentality may want to obtain wealth so that they can buy houses, cars, boats, have big bank accounts, or jewelry. Others want to be rich so that they can do something that will benefit many and not just themselves. Their motive is to do well with their wealth. One person is motivated for self and the other is motivated for the good of all.

Another thing that you should realize is that people who obtain wealth from God can also enjoy the new home, car, etc. The difference is that they will not spend what they have to satisfy their lust. If they want a Toyota Camry then they will go buy it. If they want a Ford Truck then they will go buy that. Provision has already been made for them because they are seeking after God's will. The point here is that a person who is a channel for God to meet the needs of others will also have their needs AND desires met.

The Love of Money

Many people love money and will do anything to get it. They will lie to you, steal from you, and even kill you to obtain more money or more possessions of worth (real or perceived).

The bible says

(1 Timothy 6:8-10 KJV) "And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. {9} But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. {10} For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."

The word perdition means a loss of the soul, eternal damnation.

These scriptures are addressing the situation where someone is seeking after money to become rich. That motive is the cause of their fall into many temptations and many evil acts -- even their own destruction. It is the desire to be rich that causes trouble and not riches.

An Illustration of Motive -- The Rich Young Ruler

Many religious people to justify their belief that rich people will have a very hard time entering heaven have used the incidence with the rich young ruler. Let's look at the rich ruler in more detail to see what really was going on. See Matthew 19:16-26.

The man came to Jesus and asked him what good thing could he do to enter eternal life. Jesus said to keep the commandments. The man than asked Jesus which commandments should he keep. Jesus responded with some commandments. The man then answered Jesus by stating that he had kept those since his youth. Some speculate that this is why the man was rich in the first place. The rich man proceeds by asking Jesus what else does he lack. [The man's response here is very interesting because you would think that he would have accepted Jesus' answer and therefore accept eternal life. It appears that this man felt that there was something missing in his life and he was in pursuit of it. This could be why he came to Jesus in the first place].

Jesus now reveals the man's problem (what was missing in his life). Jesus states,

(Matthew 19:21 KJV) "Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me."

Jesus first informs the man that he was not perfect ("If thou WILT be perfect. The word perfect here does not mean flawless but indicates a state of maturity or completeness. It comes from the Greek word teleios which means complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc.).

Jesus then tells him what to do to rectify (by illustration perhaps) his condition. However, since activity does not induce a heart response, I believe that Jesus may have been further revealing the true condition of this man's heart. That is, acquiring a heart that cares and loves your neighbor is not acquired by doing good deeds for your neighbor. It can only come from a genuine love that comes from God and flows through you and therefore produces those acts of love. The man may have obtained this "new heart" if he had followed Jesus.

The result of giving to the poor is to have treasure in heaven assuming a proper motive and heart. You will not obtain treasure in heaven if you give to the poor out of compulsion or duty to God. It must come from the heart. Therefore, if the love of your neighbor is in your heart then what you do for your neighbor will reveal that heart condition and produce treasure (fruits) in heaven. Note what the bible says in two places relative to this situation with the rich man.

(Proverbs 23:7 KJV) "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee."

(Matthew 6:19-21 KJV) "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: {20} But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: {21} For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

The rich man's problem really was that his heart was wrong. He was storing up treasures on earth and not heaven. That is why Jesus said "Then you will have treasure in heaven." Jesus was only revealing this man's true condition and aiding him in rectifying it. He was not trying to make him poor. Realize what the bible says about giving to the poor.

"He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done." (Proverbs 19:17 NIV)

Jesus tells his disciples, after the man walked away sorrowfully since he had many possessions,

(Matthew 19:23-26 KJV) "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. {24} And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. {25} When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? {26} But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible."

He first states that it is hard for a rich man to enter into THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN! He also likens this to a camel passing through the eye of a needle. There are speculations concerning the meaning of the 'eye of the needle.' The main point that Jesus seems to be making, however, is the difficulty a rich man will have entering the Kingdom of God without God. Why will a rich man have great difficulty entering the Kingdom of Heaven? The bible says,

(1 Timothy 6:9-10 KJV) "But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. {10} For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."

(Proverbs 11:28 NIV) "Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf."

See also Proverbs 10:15 and Psalm 52:1-7. The temptation and lust for money can cause a man who is rich to depend upon and trust in his riches. He can believe that all his problems are solved because he has much money and possessions. The rich man therefore will never learn to trust God because he sees no need to. His money will get him out of any situation - so he thinks. Also note that Jesus said that WITH GOD it is possible for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God. Only with God and not by merit. You cannot earn your way into the Kingdom of God by good deeds.

The rich young ruler was attached to his riches. The man had no treasure in heaven and it appears that his riches were mainly for himself and not others. God intends for your prosperity to benefit others as well as yourself according to his purpose.

An Illustration of Motive -- The Rich Fool

Read Luke 12:13-21. This is a parable that Jesus gave to show again the motive of the heart. A rich man had a good crop. He wondered what to do with his abundance and decided to hoard it for himself. When the time came to give account to God, it was found that he was poor towards God. He had laid up all of his treasure on the earth and not in heaven. His motive was only to enjoy his life without any regard for those who may have been in need around him.

Motive is very important in the life of a believer. Actions do not justify you because God looks at your heart. Your motive should be to accomplish the purposes of God. Your motive within your prosperity is to meet the needs of the people with your abundance and not to spend it all on your own lusts and desires.

God Wants You To Prosper

God wants you to be prosperous. One of the first things that we may think of when that statement is made is that God wants you to be rich. Do not seek to be rich! Seek to fulfill your God given purpose and prosperity will follow.

Let's look at some scripture that reveals this fact. First of all we have to realize that true prosperity comes from God. The bible says,

(Deuteronomy 8:18 KJV) "But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day."

The second thing that we must realize is that everything belongs to God (See Psalm 24:1). In addition to these facts, you must realize your relationship with God and know that God wants you personally to prosper. The following are scriptures that show that God prospers his people.

(Genesis 39:2-3 KJV) "And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. {3} And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand."

The word "prosper" in this verse comes from the Hebrew word tsalach, which means: To push forward, break out, come (mightily), and be profitable. Joseph prospered because God was with him (See also Genesis 29:23). The same principle holds for us. If we are with God and God is with us then we can only expect to prosper according to God's purpose.

(Joshua 1:7-8 KJV) "Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. {8} This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success."

The word prosper in verse 7 comes from the Hebrew word sakal which means: to be circumspect and hence intelligent, expert, (deal) prudently, (give) skill, have good success, teach, to make understand, wisdom, make wise, guide wittingly.

(Psalms 122:6 KJV) "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee."

The word prosper here comes from the Hebrew word meaning tranquil, at peace, secure or successful- be happy, in safety. We can be at peace and experience security if we love God. Recall that Jesus revealed the principle that if you love God then you will keep his commandments (See John 14:15). Therefore, prosperity is also security and safety with God and not only an accumulation of material wealth.

Another scripture I want us to examine is:

(3 John 1:2 KJV) "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth."

The word prosper in this verse comes from the Greek word euodoo which means: To help on the road, i.e. (pass.) succeed in reaching; fig. to succeed in business affairs:--(have a) prosper (-ous journey). This verse implies that we can prosper on the journeys that we take in life. This goes along with Proverbs 3:5-6. You should notice that the condition or prerequisite to this prosperity is the prospering of the soul. This indicates a renewing of our minds with the word of God. Now you can see that if your mind is renewed and you become more in tuned to God then you will surely prosper.

You can see from the above scriptures that it is in God's will and purpose for his people to be prosperous. However, this prosperity is conditional. Obedience to God is crucial for you to obtain prosperity from God. A study on obedience would reveal that it brings blessing (prosperity).

God - The Source

Stay focused on God above all that you do. This will protect your godly motives and good intentions. Realize that God is the source of all that you see and all that you have. Do not think that you have received or accomplished anything by your own power or smarts. Realize that God is the source. If you do this then you will not worry about your gas bill that you THINK you can't pay. You will not worry about the things that you want to do from your heart. You know that your heavenly father owns all and that you are his child to whom he gives all that you need and desire (righteous desire). The bible says,

(Psalms 24:1 NIV) "Of David. A psalm. The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;"

(Deuteronomy 10:14 NIV) "To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it."

(1 Chronicles 29:11-12 NIV) "Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. {12} Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all."

See also 1 Corinthians 10:26, Psalm 50:12, and Exodus 9:29.

Know Who God Is

It is extremely important that you know who God is. I am not talking about identifying God such as the great man in the sky, or the ultimate being, or the father of the universe. I am talking about knowing him in a close and personal relationship. Who God is must be established on a one on one basis and not through formulas or what others tell you. You have to have a personal active relationship with God. Yes God is the creator of the universe, the father of Abraham, and the alpha and omega. However, these mean nothing if you have not established a personal relationship with him. Is he your creator (source)? Is he your father? Is he the alpha and omega to you?

When you come up against a financial milestone, know whom your God is. When you have a need that you want met, know who your heavenly father is. When you desire to do something in your heart, know who God is. Knowing who God is and keeping a close fellowship with him will keep you on the path to fulfilling his purpose and help guard you against wrong motives, worry, and defeat.

Know The Reality of God

Is God real to you or is he in the pages of your bible? Who do you go to when times are bad, good, or regular? Do you call on God when things oppose you or is he a last resort or a last thought? Do you talk to God regularly as you would a close friend? If God is real to you then you will talk to him, share with him, and just have him involved in all aspects of your life. If he is not real to you then you will call on him as the formulas dictate. That is, when you have a problem you will cry out to God. Usually this is the only time we talk to God (when we have problems. God has to be real to you or you can't really trust him or depend on him.

Know Your Relationship With God

You are a child of God if indeed believing in Jesus Christ has saved you. He is your provider. He will take care of you. Why? You belong to him. You are now his responsibility just as a good parent takes the responsibility of caring for and providing for their children. You don't have to worry about things because God will take care of you. The bible says,

(John 1:12-13 NIV) "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-- {13} children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God."

(1 John 2:29 KJV) "If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him."

(1 John 3:1 KJV) "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not."

Begin to act like the child of God that you are. Begin to trust your heavenly Father to care for you and stop acting like an abandoned child.

Know Your Authority in Christ

What can you do with what God has given you? God has given you his Spirit, which causes you to live (induces life). See John 1:4. You have the power of the word of God in you. Jesus said,

(John 15:7 KJV) "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."

"Have faith in God," Jesus answered. I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him." (Mark 11:22-23 NIV)

Paul also tells us,

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13 KJV)

You have the Spirit and the power of Almighty God flowing inside of you. You are a blessing waiting to happen. You have the authority of the name of Jesus Christ accessible to you (See John 14:13,14; 16:24). Therefore, know that you have the power of God available to you to change your situations. You have the power within you to cause the desires of your heart and all of your needs to be met. You have the power inside of you to meet the needs of others and to cause others around you to be blessed. Start confessing that today. Say that my brother is prosperous in his business. Say that I will prosper in this endeavor. Don't speak defeat to yourself. Instead, speak life to yourself and others.

Notice, however, that you must abide in Christ and his words must abide in you. You have to be with God in order to access the power of God to change your situation. You cannot do your own thing and expect God to follow you around like a genie to rescue you.

The Word of God

We need the word of God in us if we are going to effect things around us. It is the word of God and the power therein that causes things to happen. It was by the word of God that the heavens and the earth were created. It is by God's word that we live. The bible says,

"Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"" (Matthew 4:4 NIV)

A high priority for Christians is to arm themselves with the word of God, the sword of the Spirit (See Ephesians 6:17). Without God's word dwelling in us, we can do nothing. In order to accomplish anything by prayer, we must first have the word (which reveals God's will) in us. That is why John the Apostle states:

(1 John 5:14-15 NIV) "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. {15} And if we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of him."

Feed on and digest the word of God so that you can reach the highest levels of your purpose.

The Production of Faith

The bible declares,

(Romans 10:17 KJV) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

Hearing the word of God produces faith. You will need faith to confront all of the financial situations that may come your way. You will need faith when you don't know where the money will come from to do something. Once you have heard the word and believed the word, which produces faith, you can change your financial circumstances.

Develop ways to hear the word of God. Establish your own personal bible study. Listen to tapes and read books from other godly ministers. Confess the word always and keep it before you at all times so that it will rise up in you automatically in any and every situation. I recommend that you read Psalm 119.

Learning to Trust God

You must learn to trust God in order to prosper financially. How do you learn to trust God? You learn by experience. In the physical realm we learn to trust people when they perform what they promised. We learn to trust things when they perform according to our expectation and their design. Likewise, we learn to trust God when we take what he says, believe it and then act on it. God will not fail so that is not an issue. It is only up to us to act on what God says. By this act, we will learn how to trust God. We will learn that we can trust God and we will learn that God will never fail and we build confidence in him. The bible says,

(Isaiah 55:10-11 KJV) "For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: {11} So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."

Know that God's word will accomplish what it was sent out to do just like the creation of the heavens and the earth. So then if you know that God's word will accomplish their purpose then it would be to your advantage to stand on (depend on) the word of God. This way you know that your prosperity is guaranteed. The more you obtain the revelation that God's word is true (steadfast), the more natural and second nature it will be for you to act on it whether you see anything in the natural realm or not.

Reliquish Your "gods" and Repent

In order to truly trust God, you must separate from whatever gods you have and trust in. In order to do that, you must first identify what the gods in your life are. That is, determine what things you depend on and trust in for your needs, security, desires manifested, and general well being. Who or what do you trust? Do you confide in your job and trust your paycheck to meet your needs. If you put your trust in your job then you do whatever your job tells you to do. Your life will center on that job. Your actions will be highly influenced by the job. Why? The job is your source and no one wants to be separated from his or her source or provider. Therefore, identify the gods in your life and repent. Determine within yourself that God the heavenly father is your God and your source and your provider. This is why God said,

(Exodus 20:3 KJV) "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

Remember that a house divided cannot stand. You cannot serve God and mammon (See Matthew 6:24). You cannot say that you trust God and all the same time you trust your job. As soon as possible, break the umbilical cord from all of your gods and then connect yourself with the one and only true God.

Listen to God -- Not Your Circumstances

Be careful to listen to God and depend on what his word says and not your circumstances. Sometimes our situations speak so loudly that we respond to its voice instead of God's word. The bible says,

(Proverbs 3:5 KJV) "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding."

(Mark 11:22-23 NIV) ""Have faith in God," Jesus answered. {23} "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him."

Don't start taking things into your own hands because you perceive that God is doing nothing. God has already done everything that he will do. We have to wait patiently for him and trust him. Continue to trust God regardless of the perceived urgency of your situation. Trust God and don't rely upon your own mental and problem solving abilities - or that of others.

Prosperity

What is prosperity according to God? Recall what the bible said which we stated earlier in this study:

(Deuteronomy 8:18 KJV) "But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day."

You can see here that God prospers his people for a purpose and not just for them to be prosperous. God's prosperity is a means for God's purpose to be accomplished - for his word to be manifest on the earth. God prospers his people so that his people will be a blessing to others. God uses the prosperity of his people as a channel to meet the needs of people on the earth.

Joseph prospered so that people would live during a massive famine (See Genesis chapters 37-39, and 47). Abraham prospered so that the whole earth would be blessed (See Genesis 12:1-3). Always remember that your prosperity is not your own but is also for the benefit of the whole. You are a channel for God to flow so do not clog the drain by hoarding what you receive from God.

Don't measure prosperity by possessions. Do not equate the prosperity that someone is experiencing with whether or not they are blessed of God. A lack of prosperity does not mean that the person is not blessed of God. All that we see is subject to perception so we cannot pass judgment on what we see. Our life is more than what we posses. The bible states,

(Luke 12:15 KJV) "And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth."

Acquiring Prosperity:  The Channel

There is a component of trust that has to be established if you intend on prospering to your full potential. You have to demonstrate that God can trust you with prosperity through the law of stewardship. A good steward of what God has provided will use that provision for whatever God wants. A good steward will not squander what he/she has received. A good steward will manage his/her money wisely. Therefore, it is very important that we present ourselves to God as good stewards and in this case, a good steward over finances. See the study on Christian Financial Stewardship for more information on this topic.

Another important point to remember is that "God does not prosper a clogged drain." A priority with us should be to meet the needs of the people. We therefore should not take our increase and just spend it all on ourselves. We have to maintain our status as a channel for God. That is, God has to be able to flow his finances through us and not just to us. We are to be channels for God meeting the needs of people and fulfilling God's purposes with what he has given us.

Let's look at some scriptures in the bible that teach us what I have just said.

(Matthew 25:21 KJV) "His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."

Read Matthew 25:14-30 to get the complete teaching on stewardship (accountability) in the kingdom of God.

(Luke 16:10-12 NIV) ""Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. {11} So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? {12} And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own?"

Read Luke 16:1-15 for a more complete picture of stewardship taught in the scripture above. Read also Luke 19:12-26.

If God can trust you with little, he can trust you with much. If you can't manage your current paycheck, how do you expect to manage abundance? The principles of stewardship are the same regardless of the amount of money. Therefore if you are consciously and actively managing your money now, then you will tend to do the same with more later. The finances will continue to flow through you according to God's will and purpose as long as you are a financial channel for God. Also realize that God will not give a good steward more than he/she can handle.

The Seed Principle

All things produce after it's own kind. Evil produces evil and good produces good in the same way that apples produce apples. This is the seed principle. If you have been sowing hate (we will discuss sowing and reaping later) then you cannot expect to receive love. If you want love then you have to be lovable (sow love). Note again that the principle that we stated earlier is still in effect. That is, the motive is the principle thing and not the activity or action. This negates the belief of the golden rule. The golden rule states "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." We were taught that if you want to be treated well then you ought to treat others well. By doing this, you would ensure that you were treated well. This method of thinking is really a perversion of what Jesus said (the true golden rule).

(Matthew 7:12 KJV) "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets."

What is the motive here? Does God teach us how to get things selfishly? Do you think that God would say in order to be treated nicely you have to treat others nicely? No. The motive would not be consistent with the mind of God revealed in the bible. God is always meeting the needs of people through others. He is not self-oriented nor does he promote that mentality.

Let's look at this golden rule with a different perspective. Let's use the motive of meeting the needs of others. How should you treat others? The answer is the same way you want to be treated. How should I deal with others? The same way I would like to be dealt with. Do you see the difference? The motive has shifted from self to others. Jesus Christ was giving us guidelines on how to treat other people. Treat others the way you would like to be treated. He DOES NOT say to "treat others SO THAT you will be treated likewise."

So the falsely taught golden rule is not really an application of the seed principle per se'. We do know that if you do treat people kindly then you will cause kindness to come your way (not always by the person you were kind to). However, your motive is not to receive kindness. Your motive is simply to be kind as your heavenly father is kind.

Giving is how seed is planted. When you give to help people, either directly or through your church, you plant need-meeting seeds. When you give to help someone get out of debt, you plant seeds for your own debt elimination. Remember, whatever you plant will grow so watch what you plant.

It is highly recommended that you know and understand fully the parable of the sower and the seed given in Matthew 13 and Mark 4. Study these chapters and obtain a revelation of the seed principle and be careful to live by it because that is how the Kingdom of God operates.

The Law of Sowing and Reaping

There is a fundamental spiritual law that we all live by which is called the law of sowing and reaping. The bible says,

(Galatians 6:7 KJV) "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

Remember that all things produce after its own kind. The mistake that we make with the law of sowing and reaping (the law of reciprocity) is to put dollar signs on the principle. The law does not say that if you sow $10 you will receive $1000 (100-fold return). More precisely the principle is applied by realizing that if you give $10 to meet a need then you will in turn have your needs met. The seed was the giving to meet someone's need. The seed object was the $10. Now if you have a need of $2000 do you think that God will only give you $1000 (100 fold return on the $10) and tell you that you are on your own for the balance? No! He will meet your entire need just as you participated in meeting the need of another. Look at what the bible says.

(2 Corinthians 9:6 KJV) "But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully."

(Luke 6:38 KJV) "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."

Let me make one thing very clear. Do not think that participating in meeting the needs of means that you have to give them money. If it is in your power to give money than do that. However, there may be something else that you can do for the person. Perhaps you can give them something from your home or provide a service for them. The point is that you are meeting their needs. That is the seed that you are planting: Meeting needs.

The law of sowing and reaping is how the kingdom of God works. If you want to receive something in God's kingdom then you have to plant seed towards it. If you want to have the money you need when you need it then always plant financial seeds. See Ecclesiastes 11:1.

Tithing

The ACT of tithing is not a prerequisite for prospering! Too many times we are told that in order to be blessed by God that we have to tithe and if we don't tithe that we are robbing God. This however is not true. Anyone can give 10% of his or her income. Anyone can give an offering. If it were true that this was a prerequisite for godly prosperity then crooks and robbers could give 10% of the things that they have stolen and receive blessings from God!

No. The act of tithing means nothing except to your conscience or ego. What is significant is not the act but the heart of the giver. A giver is not concerned about the 10% formula. A giver is only concerned about meeting the needs of the people around him the best that he or she can. A giver simply does what God says with what God gives. I think that we have to get the 10% formula out of our minds and concentrate on obedience rather than sacrifice (formulas).

Purpose of Tithing

The Old Testament shows us that the main purpose of the tithe was primarily to meet the needs of the people. The yearly tithe was to be brought to the "place where God dwelled" and was to be eaten in his presence. The purpose of this tithe was to learn to revere God and to meet the needs of those who were in need and for the Levites who owned no land (See Deuteronomy 12:5-7, 14:22-27). The tithe given to the Levites were their wages for the work that they did in the sanctuary as instituted by God (Numbers 18:26-32, 2 Chronicles 1:4-10). There was also a tithe every three years for the fatherless, widows, and foreigners. God made provisions for them as well.

The Higher Order: Giving

Acquire and maintain the heart of a giver. Learn to simply obey God with your money. You will find that 10% will not be an issue. You will probably still use the 10% number for budgeting purposes but you will be released from the bonds of legalism.

The laws concerning tithing in the Old Testament DID NOT focus around a 10% quota. It focused around meeting the needs of others. That is what the tithe is for. That is the entire principle around the tithe - Meeting the needs of the people. If you are giving 10% just because you were taught to give 10% then you are NOT TRULY TITHING. You are only performing an act of tithing (In the same way as good deeds alone are only acts of righteousness). The bible says,

(Isaiah 64:6 KJV) "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."

Note that this scripture does not say that our righteousness is as filthy rags. It says all of our RIGHTEOUSNESSES. That word righteousnesses means righteous acts. Therefore, our righteous deeds mean nothing. We cannot obtain righteousness or approval from God by the things that we do. Likewise you cannot be blessed of God by simply giving 10% of your income (NET OR GROSS!).

We are called to love one another and to care for one another. A major activity in doing this is to give. God loves us and cares for us so much that he gave his son for us - His best. We are called to a higher level than that of formulas and traditions. We are called to love. We are called, as a church body, to meet the needs of each other. We are called to give. Now that you have been instructed to give tithes and offerings, simply give abundantly as God directs. This is a higher order or calling then following the basic instructions of the law.

Misconceptions About Giving (Sacrifice)

Many people complain about giving to the church. Many people are even afraid to give to help someone else in a time of need. Where does this mindset come from? It derives from the perception that giving is associated with lack. That is, if I give you money then that is that much less money that I will have to do the things that I want to do. Do not think that your giving will cause you to be in lack. Don't think that if you give money away you won't have it when you need it (this is why we squirrel money away). The bible says

"He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again." (Proverbs 19:17 KJV)

Your receiving from God has nothing to do with the amount of money you have in your wallet. You will receive from God what you will receive from God even if you do give to John. You are not sacrificing anything to help someone else. As a matter of fact you only do yourself good as you do good for the other person. How? You store more treasure in heaven when you give to meet the needs of others. These treasures can then be accessed when needed at a later date.

The Cheerful Giver

The bible says,

"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV)

Your giving should be a result of your heart's desire. Giving because of pressure or a sense that you have to give is not going to get you the desired results from God. Remember that God looks at the heart. If you are a giver than you will be blessed. If you are paying some type of tax (your perception of giving), then you are not blessed by your giving. If you don't want to give then it may be better to keep your money and face the consequences of your selfishness. Develop a heart of a giver. A true giver loves to give and will give his/her best just like God. Enjoy giving when you give. By this you will also enjoy receiving. You will reap according to, as Pastor Ray Barnard of Impacting Your World Christian Center calls it, the law of reciprocity. Cheerfully giving involves trusting in God. You will not be afraid to give because you know that God, your heavenly Father, takes care of you and meets your needs. Stay in the word of God, act on that word (obey), and you will learn to trust God.

The Selfish Mode

The concept of tithing and giving to meet the needs of others can become a satanic trap if we are not careful. We do not give to get. Our giving should be a separate mode of operation than our expecting to receive. I give because I want to help others. I expect to receive from God because of my knowledge of his word in meeting my needs. My confidence in him is supported by my obedience and past experiences and not specifically to my past giving. That is, I don't give to ensure that I will receive. I give to ensure that someone else will receive. You are trusting in your act of giving if you give to ensure that you will receive at a later date. Trust in God. Know that you are obeying him but don't trust in your giving. Therefore, don't believe that your act of tithing or giving will guarantee your needs are met. Your needs being met are guaranteed in the word of God - not by your acts.

Your Vision: Hope

How do you perceive yourself? What do you see for yourself and family? What things do you see yourself accomplishing? You must have hope if you are going to excel in anything. You must see yourself debt free before you can actually obtain that position. You have to see yourself successful before you can be successful. Without the vision, there is no motion. Without motion you will remain wherever you are. Vision stretches you outside of your comfort zone. Vision involves things that you have not done before and probably things that you don't have any idea how you will accomplish. Your vision is your blueprint (the goal, your hope, and the picture). Faith acts on this vision and causes it to manifest in the physical realm. That is why Paul said,

(Hebrews 11:1 KJV) "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Faith is described in this great verse as being sure of what we hope for, and certain (as in John 16:8) of what we do not see. Faith gives reality and proof to things unseen, treating them as if they were already objects of sight rather than of hope. The bible says,

"(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were." (Romans 4:17 KJV)

Let's apply this principle. If you want a new home then see your new home. Feel yourself living in that home. Don't worry about getting your hopes up. This is exactly what you want to do. Get excited about it. Begin to pray to God about your new home and begin to move towards it. This could mean looking at new home developments or driving around neighborhoods where you want to live. This could mean keeping track of interest rates or home prices. Get Ready! See yourself and your family living in your dream home. Assume that it is yours. Don't let anyone steal the hope (vision) that you have.

Remember that you have to mix this hope with faith. Without faith nothing will happen - your dream will remain a dream. Faith is simply believing God and his provisions. Faith is seeing without seeing (with the eyes). Faith is considering it done and acting accordingly. Faith is being certain that the thing you are hoping for is a reality. Don't just sit around hoping. Begin to DO. Begin to act in faith and your dream will be a reality.

Expectation

Expect to succeed. Expect to accomplish all of the things that you hope for. Be fully persuaded that your dreams are a reality. Expect to get out of debt, have your bills paid, and to give abundantly to help others. Always anticipate fulfillment. Assume success and not failure. If you don't expect then you may not receive.

Seizing Opportunities Without Fear

You will notice that God will begin to guide you as you become active in the manifestation of your vision. God will begin to lead you to different places. You must always be ready to seize any opportunities that HE places before you. You have to be in constant fellowship with him so that you know when he speaks. You have to recognize when God is moving in your life.

The one thing that will keep us from seizing God given opportunities is fear. Fear puts us in a state of uncertainty and therefore non-anticipation. How can you keep yourself from fear? Secondly stay in prayer and fellowship with God. Thirdly, do not be anxious or worry about anything. The bible says,

(Philippians 4:6-7 NIV) "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. {7} And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

By telling God (making your requests) you guard your heart and mind. Satan attacks the mind in order to get to your heart. The guard to your heart and mind is the peace (prosperity, rest, quietness, and oneness) of God.

In addition to this you specifically cannot be afraid of failure. Fear of failure will also cause you not to move. Always consider that if God is guiding you then he HAS ALREADY provided for you. Do not fear. Seize (take hold of, grasp suddenly) all of God given opportunities.

Breaking Out of the Comfort Zone

One of the greatest hindrances we have is the inability or desire to break out of our comfort zone. The comfort zone is that area of your life experiences that you feel secure, in control, and confident. Your comfort zone usually consists of routines and experiences that you have already experienced that you continue to live in.

Growth is not realized within your comfort zone! If a weight lifter wants to be able to lift heavier weights then he will have to LIFT HEAVIER WEIGHTS THAN HE LIFTED BEFORE. Growth is realized if you stretch out into areas that are new to you.

There are probably many ideas that God has given you that you did not pursue. There are probably many things that you could do and could have done to make yourself financially independent. However, because these things were activities that you have never done, you dismissed them as wishful thinking or you procrastinated so much because of fear that you simply never accomplished what you could have. At the same time you continue to go to God to bless you. God has given you abilities and knowledge that you can use to support yourself. You need to 'Just Do It." You should just pursue what God gives you and stop thinking about why you can't do it. Just Do It!

The Negative Attitude Must Be Eliminated

Too many times we look at things in a negative way. We will come up with many reasons why we can't do something instead of just working to make it happen. We are quick to make excuses and give up then to work hard and accomplish the goal that stretches us outside of the comfort zone. I am not talking about having a positive attitude (alone), though this will not hurt. I am talking about not giving up, being resourceful, and looking at things with the assumption that you can and will do it. When we have a negative attitude about things then we will not strive to do all that we can to accomplish our goals. Therefore, realize that where God guides you, he has already made provisions for you to succeed.


Eliminating Your Debt

Do all you can to eliminate your debt. We will define debt as money owed on items that have depreciated in value. These include credit cards, loans, car notes, etc. Debt is bondage. The borrower is servant to the lender. The bible says,

(Proverbs 22:7 KJV) "The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender."

Be free and liberated from anything that binds you. Be rid of your debt so that you can be free to do whatever you want and God wants with your finances. Imagine being able to pay cash to send your children away to school. Imagine being able to afford private school for you children. Imagine paying cash for your own educational adventures. These things can be much more possible if we didn't have to use so much of our time and money on the payment of debt.

Debt Free Attitude

You will never eliminate your debt if you do not change your attitude about debt and spending. The primary reason we get into debt is because we do not have the money available to purchase an item at a particular moment. Since we don't have the money, we borrow. Usually we borrow for depreciating items, which corresponds to bad debt

We borrow because we don't want to wait. We would rather borrow money with interest Instead of saving the money to buy something. Unless our attitude about our needs and debt changes, we will never be able to escape from the bonds of debt. Paul said that we have to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (See Romans 12:2). This applies to all aspects of our lives.

We have to develop an attitude of a person who lives debt free. We have to develop the attitude that many of the things we have a penchant for are not a necessity. We have to have the mind set that we will buy things with cash or have the cash available when we do make a credit card purchase (Using the credit card instead of carrying cash). Begin small and grow. Instead of buying your next pair of pants on credit, save for it. More and more begin to wait to purchase things with cash instead of credit. Develop the attitude of using cash instead of credit to purchase items.

Expect To Be Delivered By God

Do you expect to be delivered from your debt? Have you already accepted that your debt chains will remain with you forever? If so then you will have to change your thinking else you will indeed remain in a life of debt and bondage. Does the bible have anything to say about God delivering us from our debt?

(Deuteronomy 15:1-4 NIV) "At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. {2} This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel the loan he has made to his fellow Israelite. He shall not require payment from his fellow Israelite or brother, because the Lord's time for canceling debts has been proclaimed. {3} You may require payment from a foreigner, but you must cancel any debt your brother owes you. {4} However, there should be no poor among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you,"

In this passage of scripture, we see that God had made provisions for his people to be delivered from debt. God did not say that we should not borrow. However, he did not want his people to be kept in the bondage of debt. See also Deuteronomy 15:6 and 28:12. We also learn that God did not intend for us to borrow from outside of the family, namely, the world. Note that the scripture quoted above applies to God's people and not everyone on the earth. That is, God was not saying that if an Israelite borrowed from a non-Israelite, that his debt should be forgiven. Rather, and Israelite's debt should be forgiven by the lender, another Israelite.

Since this decree from God does not apply to the world, then we should avoid becoming in debt to the world. If we do then we are servants to the world. We are in bondage according to its system. If you are in bondage to the world by debt then you can be assured that God wants you free.

The prince of the world is the Devil and he will use anything to immobilize you and to keep you from doing all that God wants you to do (including obeying God). Therefore, with all that is within you expect God to deliver you. Anticipate his deliverance power to move in your life and free you from debt. Realize that you do not have to live a life of debt. There is a lifestyle available to you that is not full of debt. Seek to obtain that by the power of God.

Develop a Plan to Get Out of Debt

Do you have a plan to improve your financial circumstances or are you waiting for a basket of money to fall out of the sky? There are a few things that you will need to effectively develop and maintain a plan. You will need to know your monthly expenses, monthly income, your budget amounts, loan balances and terms. Gather as much information as you can about debt elimination after you have established your financial status and potential. You may desire to consult with a financial planner or a financial services company for assistance in developing a financial plan or to acquire more information about debt reduction. Actively pursue debt elimination (Seek and you will find).

Eliminating Loan (Bad) Debt

We discussed financial management techniques and how to apply them to debt reduction in the course titled "Christian Financial Stewardship." Review the study guide to the course for more information on the financial management system. In that course we discussed a debt reduction technique called "Accelerated Payments." The basic principle behind the accelerated payments method is to pay off the optimal loan first. The optimal loan is the loan that will be paid off relatively quickly and significantly effect the accelerated payments of other loans once it is paid off. For example, suppose you had a loan with a monthly payment of $150 and one year left to pay and a loan with a monthly payment of $50 and 6 months to pay. It may be more beneficial to you to accelerate the payment of the loan with the monthly payment of $150. You will have a significant amount of cash to use to accelerate other loan payments as opposed to the $50 a month loan.

After a loan is paid off, take some of the excess money and apply it to helping someone else out of debt (activating the seed principle) and apply the remaining amount to the next optimal loan to pay off. Continue this procedure until all of your debt is paid off. Do not accrue more debt as you try to eliminate your debt. It is very important that you remain consistent with your accelerated payments else you will not succeed in getting out of debt.

Avoid Managing Debt

In becomes very convenient and easy to manage your debt instead of eliminating it. Avoid the trap of managing debt based on monthly payments. The world has fixed things so that you can owe much but pay little each month. Realize that your debt bondage is determined by how much you owe and not by the amount of money you pay each month.

Living Debt Free

Stay debt free once you have obtained it. Don't allow yourself to be pulled back into the bondage of debt. We stated earlier that this is only possible if you change your attitude about spending and debt. Start paying cash for everything. Start planning your spending so that you can save the money for purchases instead of relying on time payment. The basic principle for a debt free lifestyle, as far as spending is concerned, is to rely on available cash and not available credit.

Invest For The Future

It is important to save for the future and for a particular purpose. I believe all money should have a purpose. Saving just to be saving is not purpose. You save your money because in so many months or years you are going to make a purchase. You may want to buy a single home in 10 years or so. Start putting money aside for it now. The more you have later will depend on the more you put aside now. There are many ways that you can save your money. You can save in a bank with a conventional savings account, there are retirement plans, and other investment plans such as mutual funds or bonds. Talk to a financial management consultant to develop a comprehensive investment plan for you.

Please see my study "Tithing, Giving, Sowing and Reaping" for more information about tithing.

 


EMPOWERMENT FOR FINANCIAL FREEDOM
Empowering you to obtain financial fulfillment from a Christian's perspective
By: William R. Cunningham
(c) 1996, 2000 all rights reserved

By: 
William R. Cunningham