Debt Free Living God's Way includes financial freedom. Financial freedom is the "financial peace of mind" that comes when you accept God's position as "Owner" and your position as steward or "manager." You can enjoy financial freedom whether you owe or own a little or a lot, whether you are young or young-at-heart, whether you are single or married, male or female. Financial freedom means peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding.
How do you get this peace? There are eight steps you can choose to take but only if you remember that peace with God is based on your relationship with God, and not based on a list of rules and regulations. The first five steps are: Ask Jesus Christ into your heart as Lord and Savior, get into God's Word, give Him title to all that you have, learn to spend time with Him in prayer, and learn to set the right balance in your life. Here are the final three steps.
Step 6: Have a clear conscience.
Conflicts (including financial disagreements) between fellow Christians are a reality of life this side of Heaven. Jesus shows you in Matthew 18:15, 5:24 (and many other places in the Bible as well) how to handle these conflicts and disagreements in ways pleasing to God, without hurting the Body of Christ.
This can be an unpleasant process because there is usually hurt pride involved. Never the less, if you want to enjoy the blessing of financial freedom, you must have peace with God AND strive for peace with others. Consider Acts 24:16, "So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man."
Step 7: Avoid Indulgences.
In Luke 9:23, Jesus says…. "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."
Jesus instructs you in John 6:27 not to work "for food that spoils, but for food that endures."
An indulgence is something that has little or no utility or practical value. You first must learn how to identify your indulgences (as we have already seen) then learn how to control your indulgences. To control does not necessarily mean to eliminate. For example, shopping may lead to impulse buying, but shopping is also a major form of entertainment and recreation in our society today. The best way to enjoy shopping, control impulse buying, and therefore limit indulgences is to use a budget and thoroughly investigate all major purchases before you buy.
Step 8: Accept God's Provision.
The last step along God's path to financial freedom is for you to learn to accept God's provision. God's Word tells you to learn to be content in your circumstances (Philippians 4:11), content with your wages (Luke 3:14), content in good times or bad (Philippians 4:12), even to be content without a home (Matthew 8:20).
One way to be content is to adjust your lifestyle to fit your income so that you spend less than you make. If you find you spend more than you make you can choose to cut costs, increase income, or use credit. The first two can lead to contentment; credit most often does not.
Many times you end up spending more than you make and ask God to make up the difference. You need to learn to adjust your life-style to your income. Don't presume God will provide for the lifestyle you set for yourself.
Proverbs 3:5-6 and Philippians 4:19 tell you that God will provide for you and will not forsake you. The question is, do you really trust God, or do you just say it with your mouth? It is one thing to say that you trust God. It is something else to be forced to trust God because you are out of work, with no income in sight, with bills to pay and food to buy to feed your family. Are you in a position of having to trust God with your finances? If you are, trust Him, adjust your lifestyle, and move away from trusting in credit. Then you will begin to know contentment.
You now have eight steps to Financial Freedom and therefore "Debt Free Living God's Way." You may already be working on one or more of these. And any one or more of these just might take you the rest of your life to come to grips with. Let me conclude with a suggestion. Look at financial freedom as a journey, not a destination. Consider these steps as tools to help you manage your journey. You probably will not find complete freedom this side of seeing Jesus Christ face-to-face. But these steps give you the tools to respond to the difficult times you know you can expect as you walk with the your Lord.
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.