Financial Bondage

 Intro

"Debt Free Living God's Way" is a choice. So is financial bondage. According to God's Word, if you choose to use money in ways pleasing to God, you begin to experience "Debt Free Living God's Way." Likewise, if you choose to use money in ways displeasing to God, you will find yourself in or headed into financial bondage. Let's consider what financial bondage is, what it looks like, what are the symptoms and the causes, and finally what can you do to move away from financial bondage toward financial freedom and "Debt Free Living God's Way."

 What is financial bondage?

Financial bondage is an attitude more than a condition. It's when you choose to place anything material above your relationship with God. Please note that financial bondage has little to do with the amount of money you owe. We counsel many folks who are deep in debt because of poor prior spending habits or "unplanned emergencies." Yet, these people enjoy "Debt Free Living God's Way!" They give to their church and have a repayment plan for their creditors. They go on vacations, send their children to good schools, drive older but safe cars, and have the proper insurance, etc. They are in debt but enjoy "Debt Free Living God's Way." They have no stress over their finances. They spend time--quality time--in a personal relationship with God.

One the other hand, there are people who make lots of money and don't owe anyone anything, yet they are very stressed over money. They are stressed to the point that they no longer have time for God or their family or friends. Quiet times are a thing of the past. Church on Sunday becomes another place to have a business meeting. Evenings and weekends are spent at the office rather than with the family. These folks have chosen to place the material areas of their lives above their relationship with God and they are experiencing financial bondage.

 What are some of the symptoms of financial bondage?

What are some of the "things" you might see operating in your material life that lead to financial bondage?

• Worry: Uncontrolled anxiety over retirement, job security, old age, total health, etc.

• Anger: Do you have periodic emotional flare-ups linked to periodic financial flare-ups? Or perhaps you get angry over what others have and you don't have?

• Greed: Do you find yourself wanting the "most," the "biggest," the "best, or what someone else has?

• Resentment: This is when you blame someone else for your financial situation.

• Self-indulgence: Do you buy things with little or no utility?

• Poor record keeping: Not balancing your checkbook and not living on a budget is a symptom of financial bondage.

These are some of the symptoms of financial bondage. These are the "things" you might try to "fix." But remember, these are symptoms. They are not the underlying problems. God's Word says financial difficulties are symptoms–the problems are spiritual.

 What are some underlying "spiritual" problems that lead to financial bondage?
Here are just a few:

• Financial ignorance: Proverbs 24:3-4 says, "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." Remember, you get into financial trouble, for the most part, because you don't know what God's Word has to say about wealth and stewardship. You need to remember that it is God's wisdom and knowledge that you lack and that He promises to give you both if you ask (James 1:1).

• Another cause of financial bondage might be your attitude about the material areas of your life. You find in James 3:16 that, "For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice." If you have the attitude that says, "I've got to have it!" Or, "I truly deserve it!" Watch out! This is not the attitude of a Godly steward.

• Poor planning can also help financial bondage along. Remember that Proverbs 16:9 says, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." This is a problem for many Christians. True, this scripture says that no matter how poorly you plan your life; the Lord can choose to direct your steps. But, the Lord doesn't want mere spectators on His team. He wants participants. He wants you to come down out of the stands, suit up, and get onto the field and into the "game." He wants you to plan for the short and long term.

These are just a few of the "spiritual" conditions that lead to the "attitude" of financial bondage. But, is there a way out? Yes!

 Here are some examples of financial symptoms, related spiritual problems, and suggested courses of action.

1. Symptoms: Past due bills, worry, and excessive credit
Problem: Financial ignorance, self-indulgence
Solution: Discipline, excellence, ask for help

2. Symptoms: Abnormal losses, risks, hasty decisions
Problem: Get-rich-quick attitude
Solution: Patience, prayer, planning, ask for help

3. Symptoms: Sloppy records, deficient accounts, no budget
Problem: Slothfulness, laxness
Solution: Developing plans, ask for help

4. Symptoms: Envy, resentment, bitterness
Problem: Covetousness
Solution: Contentment, acceptance of God's authority, ask for help

5. Symptoms: Self-indulgence, lavishness, waste, ego
Problem: Greed, pride
Solution: Discipline, moderation, ask for help

 Most importantly...

The most important thing about financial bondage is that, according to God, there is always a way out. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

There is a way out of financial bondage. The way out is to get closer to God, learn what He says, then act on what He gives you to do.

________________________________________________

Bob Louder is the Founder and President of Christian Financial Ministries (www.good-steward.org). Bob is also the author of the new best selling book, "Debt Free Living God's Way," available only on the Internet (www.debtfreelivinggodsway.org). Since 1987 Bob has helped people in hundreds of churches all across the country and in the European military community learn, understand, apply and pass on "Debt Free Living God's Way" principles and practical applications. He has represented some of the top Christian financial authors and ministries to include Larry Burkett, Dave Ramsey, Christian Financial Concepts, and Crown Ministries.

Copyright 2006 Christian Financial Ministries, Inc., All Rights Reserved. You may reprint this "Special Report" in whole or in part without permission from Christian Financial Ministries, Inc. Please credit material used to Christian Financial Ministries, Inc.